Here’s my entry in response to today’s tarot inspired journal writing prompt.
Five of Swords
Do my goals justify the means?
It’s funny, I just watched Doctor Strange 2 last night and it absolutely explores this question throughout the entire movie.
And, oddly related, I had read the transcript for this TED talk earlier that day regarding parenting and why it hasn’t been fulfilling for so many for decades. In fact, it’s only been getting worse for parents over the years. But the thing that caught my attention and deeply resonated with me was when she mentioned the Hippocratic Oath.
And yes, I intentionally linked up to Harvard’s clarifying explanation regarding that oath. I think it’s important to my line of thinking here and whether you’ve seen the movie Doctor Strange 2 or not, I think it’s worth having that concept in mind. BECAUSE I think we have this thing about holding doctors and surgeons to this impossible, god-like, epic gold standard to that oath that may not even been taken while we aren’t even holding ourselves to.
So… back to my question: do my goals justify the means? As in, to I do all I can to reduce whatever harm I might cause to others while I achieve my goals?
This isn’t about dimming my light. It’s not about being a doormat either. It’s about making sure that my fire isn’t unnecessarily creating collateral damage. It’s the difference between a mindless Hulk smashing through a city with zero concern for those around him versus a consciously aware Hulk trying to do good with the least amount of damage.
How many times have I been unable to see past my own pain and ego even while I’m trying to advocate for my own children? Was I really helping my children in that moment? Will my children look back on that day and see me as a Captain America or will they see me as a Scarlet Witch or Godzilla? Only time will tell and it will be for them to decide, not me.
But isn’t it the Wiccan Rede that says, “An’ it Harm None, Do What Ye Will”? Shouldn’t that really be the aim in all things in life? Shouldn’t that be my primary goal in my life? To just simply do no harm above all else to the best of my ability? And that when I have done harm, however unintentional it may have been, to repair it as soon as I possibly can the best that I can?
Can I honestly look at myself in the mirror and say that to do anything else would not make me villainous?
Wiccan or not, I’ll take up that creed as a daily mantra. I do as I will without causing harm to myself or others.
For some reason, this reminds me of the Reiki Ideals:
- Just for today, I will let go of anger.
- Just for today, I will let go of worry.
- Just for today, I will give thanks for my many blessings.
- Just for today, I will do my work honestly.
- Just for today, I will be kind to my neighbor and every living thing.
When we release these things, our intentions clarify. We are better able to act upon them from a place of love, joy, or generosity, rather than a place of anger, fear, or pain.
I firmly believe you can experience mixed emotions, but one will dominate in order for action to occur. If two opposing emotions are equal, paralysis happens. So if you are causing harm, either to yourself or others, it is because a negative emotion is dominating. I haven’t mentioned shame, but it could be the culprit here just as easily as anything else. I know because it’s something I struggle with often and anger frequently masks it. Same with sadness and grief for me. For whatever reason, it feels safer for me to express anger than other emotions.
But anger can be incredibly damaging. Think of forest fires. When controlled and managed properly, it can be utilized to cultivate a thriving and productive ecosystem. But when it’s not done in a healthy and safe way, it has a lasting destructive impact.
I suppose I could just go on forever with this, but I’m going to close this out and just reaffirm or renew my goal to continue to do as little harm as I possibly can in my life.