Monday Manifesto

July 11, 2011 / Aaron

Well, not really a manifesto. But I'm reading To Kill a Mockingbird with my students this summer (one of my favorite books of all time... if you haven't read it in the last decade, do so!) and it really got me thinking.

This is one of my favorite passages in the book. It comes just after Ms. Dubose, the horrid neighbor who terrorized Jem and Scout as children, dies. When Atticus tells his children about her death, he reveals that she battled a morphine addiction, and instead of resenting her, Scout and Jem should respect her. At the end of Part I, Atticus says:

"Son... I wanted you to see something about her-- I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you know you're licked before you begin but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do. Mrs. Dubose won, all ninety-eight pounds of her. According to her views, she died beholden to nothing and nobody. She was the bravest person I ever knew." (Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird, page 149).

Of course, that gets me thinking about intentions, and my practice, and all the fights I'm fighting even though I'm "licked" before I begin. Do you forget about all that when you're on your mat? Or do all your efforts and struggles somehow inform your practice?