Sunday, August 8, 2010
No Gumbo Ya Ya!
You've probably heard the phrase while watching the Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood. I heard about it and even participated back in the 80's when I spent my summers on the beach. Bolivar penisula has a rather large Cajun community, you see, and many of them were friends'of my brother's.
They were the finest, friendliest and funniest people you'd ever want to meet, and very supportive. On the last summer I was down that way, my brother was dying from cancer. His wife still had to work, and someone had to stay with Philip and he requested that I come down. That was a no brainer. Of course I did. But between the times Philip was sleeping and I had the housework caught up, and my nephew had gone fishing, I got lonely and felt the weight of sadness. But then, seemingly out of nowhere, people started showing up. They didn't even knock. They just came in, men, women, kids my age all laughing and talking, bringing big pots and veggies and seafood and music.
The next thing you know the kitchen is smelling divine, cards were brought out and I was swept up in a rousing game of bourree and story telling.
There was also gumbo ya ya.
Gumbo ya yaisn't something you put into a pot and cook. Gumbo ya ya means everyone is talking at once, loudly because everyone is talking over each other--sometimes in French, sometimes in English or a mish-mash of both. As much as I loved these great folks, as much as I adored them for coming over and cheering Philip and me up, as much as I miss them to this day, I didn't miss the gumbo ya ya
It wasn't until I learned from Lama Jigme that when people talk over, around or through you that they're not being respectful. In fact, it's tantamount to a violent act.
It was quite a revelation, because I had never considered it that way before. On some instinctive level I knew it was wrong, because when people did that to me I felt violated. When Lama Jigme informed me that this is a form of rape, that I'm being unwillingly held captive by someone's words, that really struck a cord. I vowed to refrain from this kind of behavior, or to let others do it to me as well.
So my job now is to do two things:
1. Refrain from the offensive behavior by not talking over people, especially my teacher.
2. Not letting other people do that to me.
Which means I have to become more assertive in how to handle these situations when they do arise. And they will. After all I live in a culture filled with Foghorn Leghorns. So this will be a challenge. A challenge I'll meet with bravery and skill. Fortunately, I have a great teacher who'll help me with that.
OM MANI PADME HUM