I find it easy
In sarin gas
And dippity doo
Rather than serendipity
These are not special occasions
While many of my poems have an edge to them, my body of work is decidedly hopeful. This poem reflects on the way too easy response in life to be inane or even cruel. It seems that the “reptilian” deep part of our brain that responds to immediate threats with “fight of flight” is a default mechanism that is triggered, and acted upon, unless higher functions override it. When confronted with violence or injustice, a first response is often to strike back (fight) or avoid conflict (flight). In an unreflective reflex to large, institutional violence or injustice, the “sarin gas” option feels good, to strike back and hurt when hurt. Fortunately, such actions are rarely converted to action! More commonly, conflict avoidance is practiced by burying ourselves in simple denial or inane distraction — thus, the dippity doo (for those who may not get the reference, dippity doo is a hair gel). Each of these fight or flight responses is contrasted with “serendipity,” a playful alliteration, and a lucky or pleasant surprise. This is a call to live in a place that is more luminous, patient, and generous — to live in the presence of a higher power that is beneficent and life-giving. This may seem namby-pamby or a cop-out to some, but it is actually a place of being from which right action emanates. With gratitude rather than anger and hurt, we can de-link our actions from simple fight or flight responses and transcend to a higher level of action. Of course, allowing time for reflective mental processing is essential for finding a third way, out of “reptilian” action-reaction. When the instantaneously “easy” way is taken, and the “reptilian” brain runs our lives, “These are not special occasions.”
To learn, adapt, and grow, we need to be open to that which is new. Humans have a special gift of conscious awareness and will or intent to aim and frame our experiences with a chosen attitude. More simply put: expect to be pleasantly surprised. Certainly, we are animals. But more importantly, we are so much more than animals!