The moon does not fight. It attacks no one. It does not worry. It does not try to crush others. It keeps to its course, but by its very nature, it gently influences. What other body could pull an entire ocean from shore to shore? The moon is faithful to its nature and its power is never diminished.
―Deng Ming-Dao, Everyday Tao: Living with Balance and Harmony
“The moon does not fight.”
Condemn and correct? Or observe and allow? Call out and judge? Or model and shine?
The process is slow, sometimes blistering as I squirm in place, swallowing the dismay: “But, but… you’re wrong!”
“It attacks no one.”
But, if I let the words loose, if I point the finger, I’m no longer observing and allowing. I’m no longer a model for the change I crave.
Some of you reading will judge me, you might even call me out with a “But you MUST call them out!”
Defensive blisters may form on my tongue, protective tears might well, but I see you too. Without judgment.
“It does not try to crush others.”
“But you must…!”
I need the sun, but the moon heals me.
I’m grateful for those who turn over the tables in the temple, who stand up in public places against aggressors and institutions. While your light sets the dirty pages aflame, there is also a place for the quiet ones who reflect that light, who softly reach out to stand up as an ally, who work diligently in a corner to gently influence those who aren’t.
Both paths have their challenges. The sun must work tirelessly, and even as you rest, set for a few hours, your work is never done. The moon waxes and wanes. Sometimes I turn away, go within, to examine an aggression or injustice. “Is that also in me? How do I fix that in me?”
“It keeps to its course, but by its very nature, it gently influences.”
This is hard to write about because my words —the place I’m claiming for myself— might be dismissed as virtue signaling. So, I’ll be clear. I’m not virtuous. I screw up this moon journey on a regular basis, perhaps every day. Walking the tight rope between controlling the things around me and allowing them is treacherous, and I’ve lost my footing, spun off the tight rope many times.
This is not an apology. I feel called to write about this because I’m not the only one whose eyes sting when my quiet path is misunderstood as complicity, when I’m accused of not showing up properly because I’m not turning over the tables in the temple.
“What other body could pull an entire ocean from shore to shore?”
Sometimes the protest looks like the tide, hard to notice. Not a pointing finger and a sign waving above the angry crowd, but the hushed hand that reaches out to help the fallen.
Sometimes the call to justice looks like me. Not a take down across the Thanksgiving table, but the question that moves the aggressor to look within and question himself.
“The moon is faithful to its nature and its power is never diminished.”
Sometimes change is a gentle shift, not violent slip of tectonic plates.
I’m imperfect at my mission, but I will stand faithfully as a model. I intend see all of you, really see you, and look for that part of you within me. I will reach within for the light we all need.
The moon does not fight, it does not attack, but it moves oceans. Quietly. I love the moon, I chase her through the fields. The moon is my model, my authenticity. I will quietly keep this course.
©Pennie Nichols. All Rights Reserved. 2020.
This is amazing, Pennie! For the first time, I feel my way is not wrong! I kept wondering why I wasn’t pitching tables in the temple. But I’ve ALWAYS quietly kept to my course. Tried to spread cheer and happiness. I’m certainly far from perfect and I thought my inability to call people out was a sign of weakness. Your words have given it a strength.
Thank you so much for this.
In tears here.
We need the sun, the ones who call others out, but the quiet ones just below the fray of the fight do work that is just as important.
Pennie, this is beautiful. Both paths have their challenges. Yes. Sometimes I’m the loud one, when I need to look toward the moon for guidance. Thank you.
The loud ones are just as important, and it’s a difficult task! But we moons also have important work to do. I appreciate both paths.
Yes, some battles are not worthy of the effort!