– The Venture Brothers
The Venture Brothers is an incredibly, funny little animated series that follows the lives and shenanigans of two dopey yet well-meaning teenage boys, Hank and Dean Venture; their emotionally insecure, ethically challenged super-scientist father Dr. Thaddeus “Rusty” Venture; the family’s bodyguard and the family’s slightly neurotic, completely over the top arch-enemy, The Monarch.
The Monarch “loves to hate” Dr. Venture. His very existence as a super arch villain is to “Arch” Dr. Venture. As of Season III, the reasons for his obsession with the destruction (or at least circus-like shenanigans) of all things Dr. Venture are not clear. It would seem that his intense loathing, dislike or simply joy in “hating” Venture stems from something that happened when they were in college. Nevertheless, The Monarch and his ne’er do well henchmen seem to get into one mishap after another, always ending with something sadly funny or painful happening to the villainous brood. The irony of this is that Dr. Venture, for the most part, is unphased by The Monarch and often times seems a little more than annoyed and inconvenienced by The Monarch’s intrusions. Frankly, Dr. Rusty Venture gets by just fine, in spite of The Monarch’s obsession.
No matter how far along the path of enlightenment or awakening we may be, we have all “Arched” someone at one time or another. Perhaps it is/was a co-worker, ex-boyfriend or girlfriend, a parent, an in-law, a neighbor or a teacher. Perhaps it is someone who we are forced to work or interact with on a cordial basis but for some reason we find ourselves gritting our teeth or pressing our nails into the particle board under our desk as we talk to them. Maybe it is someone who has hurt us so profoundly that we don’t know if we can be whole again; maybe it is someone we perceive as committing an injustice on people we respect or on us personally; perhaps it is someone who drops the ball constantly at work and we find ourselves carrying it; or maybe it is just someone who rubs us the wrong way and we derive a secret, wicked pleasure from disliking them.
As ugly as all of those things sounds, they are very real my friends. People feel this way every single day. Perhaps we have moved on from these feelings or perhaps we find ourselves shoulder deep in them right at this moment.
I have “arched” a few people in my day for reasons too many to discuss. I have arched them because of what they were doing to my friends, I have arched them because of what they were doing to the people I love and I have arched them for what they did to me. At least, what I “perceived” they had done. Because what I saw and experienced was from my perception. It was from what I “viewed”as an injustice or a betrayal. It was my experience that defined it. I never thought, not even for a moment, what their experience was and what had created their response that had offended or hurt me so greatly.
I don’t think it was an epiphany that made me stop “Arching.” I think it was a slow maturation process. I think that somewhere along the line I realized that even though I felt justified in “disliking” someone and quietly justified if they failed or stumbled, the energy that it created was horrible. And by being a part of that process, by having those thoughts, I was part of that energy. And if I was part of that energy, how on god/dess’ green earth was I any better than the person I perceived as the wrong-doer?
Whoa. Trippy, right?
Two rights do not make a wrong. Also, a boatload of super negative energy only draws in more negative energy.
It has to stop somewhere and I decided it would be with me. Every time I think I am being “wronged” I stop drop and roll. Wait that’s for a fire, isn’t it? Well, think of it as your soul being on fire with potentially negative energy and you need to put it out. So stop, drop and breathe, baby.
There is a very old story in Native American tradition that I am sure many of you have heard in one form or another. It is a story told by a grandfather to his grandson.
An old Grandfather said to his grandson, who came to him with anger at a friend who had done him an injustice, “Let me tell you a story.” I too, at times, have felt a great hate for those that have taken so much and seem to have no regret for what they have done.But hate wears you down, and does not hurt your enemy. It is like taking poison and wishing your enemy would die. I have struggled with these feelings many times.” He continued, “It is as if there are two wolves inside me. One is good and does no harm. He lives in harmony with all around him, and does not take offense when no offense was intended. He will only fight when it is right to do so, and in the right way.
But the other wolf, ah! He is full of anger. The littlest thing will set him into a fit of temper. He fights everyone, all the time, for no reason. He cannot think because his anger and hate are so great. It is helpless anger,for his anger will change nothing.
Sometimes, it is hard to live with these two wolves inside me, for both of them try to dominate my spirit.”
The boy looked intently into his Grandfather’s eyes and asked, “Which one wins, Grandfather?”
The Grandfather smiled and quietly said, “The one I feed.”
Every day and every moment, we have a choice. We can choose to feed the aspect of us that wants to be angry and find reasons to hate. We can live in a place of self obsession and assume that every act, expression or word that we do not like is an act against us. We can live in utter darkness and an ego driven bubble and assume that everything is personal. We do not have to take other people’s circumstances or perspectives into consideration. We can choose to “Arch” them for the simple reason that we don’t like what they say or do.
We can choose this. We can also choose to be miserable, close minded and negative.
Or we can choose something different.
We can choose love. We can choose compassion. We can choose patience. We can choose being silent. We can choose to see it from their perspective. And if we still don’t like the outcome, if we are still hurt, we can choose forgiveness.
Forgiveness clears out the negative and opens a door for the positive. It is like opening the windows on the first day of Spring and letting the dust and the cobwebs that have surrounded our winter heart open to life again. Forgiveness helps us find ourselves buried underneath the perceived indignities and hurts. It can free us from what binds us. It can give our Ego a run for its money. Forgiveness,my friends, is better than Prozac.
I am not really interested in “Arching” these days. I think I had my hey day a few years ago. I think I have worn the damn super villain costume enough. I think now I want to be a non-assuming Super Hero. Someone who spreads happiness. Someone who makes people feel comfortable. Someone who is comfortable enough not to take things personally and knows, deep within her core, that she can use her powers for good and not for evil.
Every day we have a choice.
What will you choose?