Riding The Turtle -- The Struggle to Change
It's a story about a turtle and a scorpion. The scorpion needs to cross the river and so he asks the turtle for a ride. The turtle says, "Do you think I am crazy? If I let you get on my back, you'll sting me."
"Don't worry," said the scorpion. "If I do that, we would both drown in the river."
So the turtle gives him a ride. Halfway across the river, the scorpion stings the turtle. And as the poison starts to work and the turtle and scorpion start to sink into the river together, the turtle says, "Why did you do it? Now we're both going to die."
The scorpion, in his last few breaths, says, "I couldn't help it. It's my nature."
I've always been troubled by that story . . . and alcoholism . . . It bit me so many times and for so long . . .
So we come into this world, having chosen a physical body, a family, and a life situation, that would teach us what we need to know in order to evolve. As a small child, we receive our wound, the thing that will drive us and haunt us and control us for most of our lives.
Is this wound our nature?
And if so, how do we go about changing it? The scorpion couldn't do it. Are we better than that? Or smarter or something? I've watched these same frustrating patterns repeat throughout my life, and I do see some change, but I also see that tiny spark of "nature" that I wonder about. Will I ever be able to change it?
Maybe it's not about changing it. I mean some of us are born into situations that we'll never be able to change, like not having eyesight or hearing, or not being able to walk. Or having a severe allergy to sunlight. Those people, I imagine, don't live their lives trying to change their nature. Is it just about adapting, then? Is the task simply to know ourselves, our nature, our strengths and limitations, and learn to live with them?
The first step in Alcoholics Anonymous is: We admitted we were powerless over alcohol and that our lives had become unmanageable.
I appreciate the second part, because I think powerlessness is difficult for anyone to admit, and that makes it very difficult to see. But when we notice things becoming unmanageable (frustrating patterns repeating themselves) then we have a clue that there is some part of our nature that we haven't learned to live with yet. And we had better start, because it's going to keep doing damage until we do.
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