By Maria Corse
Meet the little sweetie pie, cuddle bug, and purr bucket - Libra (Libby Kitty), who came into our lives quite serendipitously, in exactly the right way, at the right moment. You may recall, we were intending on getting two DRC kittens - one black and one white - to be named Thunder and Lightning. When we went to pick them up Monday morning, we caught Lightening, but Thunder hid from us, so we left her behind. Lightening, immediately, lived up to her name by escaping as we were bringing her into the house from the car. Despite our best attempts at capture, she is still a renegade on Riverside Drive. (If you see a small white kitten with grey “eyebrows,” let us know. She has been eating the food we have out and leaving her tiny paw prints around the property.)
When four of us went back to get Thunder on Tuesday afternoon – Libby came out to greet us with purrs, face rubs, and cuddles while her sister, Thunder, avoided us by running into another area of the house. Yes, Libra, quite literally, chose us and we decided not to ignore the hint. She was destined to be the DRC Kitty.
It took us a couple days of brainstorming names and writing them on the white board with serious debate over each one – before we finally came up with Libra, at the end of the day Thursday, when we realized she was born at the beginning of October – into the Libra star sign. Then, upon closer examination, on Friday, we concluded that she is a true Libra – loyal to a fault, a peacekeeper, and completely unbiased. She shares her purrs and cuddles with everyone. She has that perfect combination of curiosity and caution. She is playful, yet, totally chill. And, in authentic Libra fashion she is a tad bit clingy and needy.
I believe that Libra came along when I most needed the reminder that everything is a balance between light and dark, equitable and unjust, excess and scarcity, healing and hurtful, or even, enjoyable and unbelievably annoying.
Yes, indeed, despite our best intentions – our labors of love – sometimes poor choices are made, sh*t really does happen, and life just s*cks. This past week has been a prime example. One challenge popped up after another – by Friday afternoon I was sorely tempted to plug my ears, like a toddler, and shout, “nanananana,” as loudly as possible to avoid hearing the latest piece of unpleasant news. (At one point, I may have even tried to hand off the “enviable” title of Executive Director to anyone who would take it.)
The difference between a self-directed educational center such as Deep Root and compulsory and coercive institutions is that we don’t judge behavior as “good or bad” and we don’t take a punitive approach to try to solve problems. Nevertheless, we sometimes have to be reminded that our one rule --- Respect yourself, each other, and this place --- exists for a reason. Besides being a cool talking point and pretty sign in our chill-space --- it, without question, sets the boundaries for our behavior. If anyone’s conduct extends beyond those margins of respect, it automatically becomes fodder for deeper examination through conversation. We want to help that person to understand the “whys” behind their detrimental behavior, take responsibility, and ultimately seek out ways to repair the relationships they may have harmed through their actions. We don’t want to make them feel guilty or bad about themselves – we do want them to learn from their mistakes and then move on.
As you know, most of the time I focus on the “awesomeness” here at DRC --- the amazing combination of distinct personalities that make this place practically hum with positivity and good humor. However, I now realize, I should also be honoring the dark and challenging times – the inter-personal issues, the pain, the struggles, and the straight-up disrespectful behavior. It all happens here. It is an essential piece of who we are.
I am mentally buckling my seat-belt for a rough ride. The fallout from the past seven days will undoubtedly guarantee plenty of profoundly hard and potentially life-changing conversations over the next week. Be that as it may, to sweep the struggles under the rug and only shine a light on the positive is to disregard the core of who we truly are, as well as the multitudes of opportunities for growth and understanding, born out of those hardships, that occur each and every day.
I have been told, by those in the know, that, on Friday, DRC will be honoring the Solstice with a traditional Viking Yuletide Celebration organized by the participants of the Viking history class. Anyone, who is interested in joining us, is most welcome.
The staff and students of Deep Root Center will be on a much deserved and highly anticipated Winter Break from Friday afternoon through January 6th. We will be back in session January 7th. If you need to get in touch, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Happy Holidays and Best Wishes for an amazing New Year from everyone at Deep Root Center.