Friday, March 2, 2012

Snarky Meditator Insults Quakers and Lives to Tell the Tale

"You think that's bad?"
I posted something snarky on Twitter. (I know, it doesn't seem like much. But.)  Le Snark popped into my head when I walked around in stylish shoes after being in silent meditation for a week (featuring Birkenstocks, socks, slipper socks, monkey socks) in the Land of Enlightenment, aka the Insight Meditation Society.

I draw on tribal privileges here.  Just as Sherman Alexie gets away with lobbing hilarious shots at Native Americans in his Freakin' Marvelous short stories, I revel in the idiosyncrasies of Quakerism.

I wasn't going to tweet the possibly-insulting-to-Quakers-Tweet, but then I did. It is an experiment.  I'm watching my body to see how it responds to this moral transgression.  The Buddha taught that our bodies are the first part of us to register moral responses to ourselves and the world.  Can't say I've spent much time noticing that, but by golly! This is going to change.

Here's the Tweet: QUAKERISM: AN OPPORTUNITY TO WEAR UGLY SHOES AND FEEL SMUG ABOUT IT.

I know, not a big deal. Sherman is laughing at me for being so effin' sensitive. Yeah, but you weren't raised Quaker, SHERMAN


Okay, Quakers can be hip and edgy. Got it.
Granted, most people won't be offended by it because Quakers have practiced modesty so well that nobody knows them.  (Knowing OF them is another story)  People might be surprised by my little snark. Quakers are all saints, right?  Not.

So far, I feel a nervous flutter in my stomach and an ohgodwhathaveIdone tension pressing from the top of my head and clamping my eyes.

Cool.

What do you feel?  



12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well I am not a birthright Quaker (or are they called lifers these days?) but I grew up in Philadelphia and I want to applaud you stepping out of your comfort zone. Me, I have never had any reservations saying "snarky" things about Quakers limitations around embodiment.
Quakers: perpetually cold houses, mixed signals and self satisfaction. Oh yeah, they teach "Western" thought like nobodies business!

Patty said...

I think it's healthy to pull people out of their comfort zone. It leads to growth, IMO.

Catherine Stine said...

Well, sometimes Quakers DO wear ugly shoes! They also have a penchant for hideous loose fitting T-shirts with pithy slogans on them. And so do lots of other people. As a bone fide Quaker, give you permission to blow off a little steam, though I suppose it would've horrified George Fox.

HelenQP said...

Well, "Lifers" used to be called "Birthright Friends" but that was deemed too elitist, so I'm not sure what they came up with. Catherine? Any Light to shed?

Then there's the ever-present Polarfleece and the fawning over People of Color.

Oh, God. Did I say that? Thank you for the absolution, Catherine.

Brerarnold said...

Love the tweet. Love the comments. LOLz indeed. -- From a lifelong (but not birthright) Friend

HelenQP said...

Thank thee, brother! You don't think I'll be read out of meeting? ;-)

Brerarnold said...

Happened to be reading this as I was writing my latest blog post, and it fit in well. So I quoted you.

http://lettersfromthestreet.wordpress.com/

A.M. Murphy said...

I thought your tweet was funny.

I'm not a Quaker, but I probably would be if I hadn't found my own path. I've got Quaker sympathies, let's put it that way.

I struggle with how pointed to be with my speech, too. I find there's something deeply wonderful about being wild and free with one's opinions, but there is a fine line between that and causing harm.

I came by to read your Friday Fictioneer piece. Better keep looking.

HelenQP said...

Dear A.M., I completely misunderstood the Friday Fictioneer thing and posted this instead. (A little embarrassing)--"Quaker sympathies--" I love that. I have taken a different path also, but it's rooted in silence. I guess all those hours and hours as a child in Meeting added up to something significant.

HelenQP said...

Brer Arnold, I really enjoyed your post, too. It's sad to hear about the split. We too often focus on being right, not being in tune.

wordchef--ginny sue said...

Sounds a bit like Catholicism to me--the ugly shoes part, not the smug part. In high school, I had to wear the most hideous shoes ever, every day. Nothing to be smug about, maybe snug though. We were told to "offer up" such things. Mainly for the conversion of pagans and Russians, who somehow were in a class of their own. How un-Orthodox! We were also told not to wear white as it reminded boys of bed sheets. Ah, where is the snow of yesteryear. Many white outfits ago, I suppose. Ah, where are the ugly shoes of yesterday? It's hard to discard faithful retainers, I suppose.

Helen W. Mallon said...

Ginny, yes, every tribe has its idiosyncrasies. I was brought up to view Catholics as superstitious and not very bright. How little I knew about how small our world was and how little light there was in such prejudice! ...I guess Russians were in a class of their own because they had the double whammy of having 'departed' the True Church way back at the Council of Something, and then they went Communist!

I had to wear ugly shoes too, but that's because my mother believed their was something wrong with my feet. What, I never knew...