The playground of children...

It has been a long and arduous road with many points of beauty along the way. As usual, expectations, hopes and dreams ran high at the start. It is understood that there will be both good times and bad. Life dictates that some days we're up and on other days we're down. In full understanding of this reality you come to see and appreciate that this is "Just Being Human..... "there is neither good nor bad. It is what it is. And therein lies your place of comfort. Like building your farm on a good piece of land with dark, rich and fertile earth. The possibilities are endless.  You are not alarmed nor become giddy by the highs and lows. You enjoy the ride. And great scenic views led to a willingness to press on; to develop patience and steadfastness even when the path was filled with thorns and pain and confusion. 
Long-suffering has so often been pictured in portraits throughout social and religious history as something from which we could benefit from through a prolonged studious gaze upon the visual from within this well established social/moral exhibition. As if the portrait held a view of beauty and morality from which we would otherwise not be able to see without the pompous finger of religion and morality and self-righteousness pointing the way. Self flagellation has been highly regarded as a method through which we learn to correct the error of our ways. Force is cheered on as in a footrace in contrast to what our heart tells us. Fighting gives a rally cry in the hope that there is some unperceived victory to be found.
As the road closed in and the thorns grew frightening barbaric I began to lose my way - yet I blamed no one. Of course I kicked some and sometimes became angry. Perhaps I also found myself acting mean at times. More often than not I became quiet, silent, in frustration over not knowing what to do. I at long last came to see that I cannot kick against the pricks without further injury to my self.  I became resigned, sullen, passive, desperate, and sought to find the lessons that my chosen path offered to teach me. Changing the world, letting go of conflict: it all begins within me and within you. But my responsibility is with me and not with you. My attempt to wish for change, to fantastize about change, to force change, to fight for change, are all without merit. It accomplishes nothing. There is the way of nonviolence, a path of least resistance that begets a way that is not force, fight, or flagellation.  
The three "F"s as I like to call them.  
The ensuing violence of such a path became intolerable for me. When you find yourself forced to conceal your true feelings or needs because they are not worth the pain of the ensuing battle you face, you turn inward and become silent. And then you are told that even that is not acceptable and  you are met with verbal, demeaning, controlling, threatening and  violent behavior with inconceivable and emotionaly jolting reactions that you become conditioned to avoid. Love, compassion, feeling nurtured, is overshadowed by the sucking vortex of need held on tightly to by your traveling companion. Control and dominion is the subtle reign. 
Beautiful vistas, indeed!
Contemplation and the development of compassion begins within and emanates outward. Like the oak that grows forth from the lone acorn and ascends as the towering canopy offering shade and rest and safe haven. But I have become the non-pruned and haggard old apple tree with blighted fruit, the delight of birds and worms alike. But one old apple can carry within itself seed; eaten by a bird and shit out upon fertile soil. It will take root and be tended. It will produce fruit picked and eaten, baked in pies, and the branches will become the playground of children.