I can't count the times I have lagged seemingly hopelessly far behind, and nobody except myself thinks I can win. But I have pulled myself in from desperate [situations]. When you are behind there are two strategies - counter-attack or all men to the defences. I'm good at finding the right balance between those.
The Marquis believed himself to be hardened against flattery. He thought that he had experienced every variety, but he discovered that he was mistaken: the blatantly worshipful look in the eyes of a twelve-year-old, anxiously raised to his, was new to him, and it pierced his defences.
The weapons that were once outside sharpening themselves on war are now indoors there, in the fortress, fragile in glass cases; Why is it (I'm thinking of the careful moulding round the stonework archways) that in this time, such elaborate defences keep things that are no longer (much) worth defending?
Those whose lives have been an exercise in the pitting of their wits, or the selling of their talents, time and strength, to those who pay the piper, can even in their old age, even with their wits partially gone, automatically practise defences, and appeal for aid. But not so those who have never asked, who have never bargained.
You know what's the most terrifying thing about admitting that you're in love? You're just naked. You put yourself in harm's way and you lay down all your defences. No clothes, no weapons. Nowhere to hide, completely vulnerable. The only thing that makes it tolerable is to believe the other person loves you back and you can trust him not to hurt you.
Mary Doria Russell
Our children form a large part of our Immortality Project. This is one of the reasons a child's death cuts so deep; some of the future dies with them. Through them and their descendants, part of us lives on forever, just as it does in the friends we touch and the ripples our actions cause in the world. All these effects are conscripts, earthwork defences against the finality of extinction.
In each studio there is a human being dressed in the full regalia of his myth fearing to expore a vulnerable opening, spreading not his charms but his defences, plotting to disrobe, somewhere along the night-- his body without the aperture of the heart or his heart with a door closed to his body. thus keeping one compartment for refuge, one uninvaded cell.
Work is already underway today on creating unique high-precision weapons systems and manoeuvrable combat units that will have an unpredictable flight trajectory for the potential opponent. Along with the means for overcoming anti-missile defences that we already have, these new types of arms will enable us to maintain what is definitely one of the most important guarantees of lasting peace, namely, the strategic balance of forces.
I just miss you, in a quite simple desperate human way. Oh my dear, I can't be clever and stand-offish with you: I love you too much for that. Too truly.You have no idea how stand-offish I can be with people I don't love. I have brought it to a fine art. But you have broken down my defences. And I don't really resent it.
According to the Buddha, the failure to recognize the illusion of the self is the source of all ignorance and unhappiness. It is only by renouncing the self, that is, by dropping his ego defences and committing metaphorical suicide, that a person can open up to different modes of being and relating and thereby transform himself into a pure essence of humanity. In so doing, he becomes free to recast himself as a much more joyful and productive person, and attains the only species of transcendence and immortality that is open to man.
I believe that family is closer to God's heart than anything else, the support system he has given us to build us up in faith, and to support us when we falter. If we want our family lives to conform to God's will, Jesus must be our priority, our focal point, in our home as well as in our ministries.That doesn't mean that it's always easy to live together: home can be the hardest place to live a Christian life. That's were people see us when we're tired and our defences are down.
Nakedness means freedom, and although dancing on a sun-kissed hillside with shorts on seems pretty similar to dancing with shorts off, there is all the difference in the world. It is as if your clothes take on the weight of your worries and concerns - they come to embody your defences against the world, and if you can feel confident enough and safe enough, then taking them off evokes a powerful sense of liberation, of joy and freedom; and more than that - of innocence and of openness to the world.
Blackened skeleton arms of wood by the wayside pointed upward to the convent, as if the ghosts of former travellers, overwhelmed by the snow, haunted the scene of their distress. Icicle-hung caves and cellars built for refuges from sudden storms, were like so many whispers of the perils of the place; never-resting wreaths and mazes of mist wandered about, hunted by a moaning wind; and snow, the besetting danger of the mountain, against which all its defences were taken, drifted sharply down.
Literary men are being employed to praise a big business man personally, as men used to praise a king. They not only find political reasons for the commercial schemes that they have done for some time past they also find moral defences for the commercial schemers. ... I do resent the whole age of patronage being revived under such absurd patrons; and all poets becoming court poets, under kings that have taken no oath.
Gilbert K. Chesterton
He stopped at the gate on his way back to the temple, where Gracilis, the Twentieth's hard-case wolf hunter from the Campanian mountains, was supervising the strengthening of the defences. 'Take some men and tear down the huts along the west wall. And while you're at it, clear everything for a javelin throw in front of this gate. I want a killing ground from there to about there.' Gracilis grinned and saluted. Like all legionaries, the only thing he liked better than fighting and drinking was destroying someone else's property. 'Should we burn them, sir?' he said hopefully. Valerius shook his head. No point in creating smoke to warn the enemy. 'Just break them up and add them to the barriers.
Governor Paetus... ' Lupus closed his eyes that we might not read the rage in them. 'Governor Paetus has informed us that he will return to our camp at Rhandaea with the Fourth legion, there to build the palisades and set up defences sufficient to deter the enemy. He will take with him the Eagles, and keep them safe, so that if a legion is lost it can be re-formed, and its honour may live on.' There was a moment's silence as we all wrestled with the impossibility of what we had heard. The IVth leaving. And the Eagles going with them so that if a legion - our legion, there was no other one - was 'lost', which is to say annihilated, destroyed to the last man... And that's when our discipline broke apart.
I've seen how love makes people feel and I want to feel it's like fire burning or cold returning it's like a stranger talking to you or a lover loving you it's like emotional healing or with broken hearts dealing it's like you are running for absolutely nothing it's like living or dying laughing then crying it's like lover become hater destroyer then reconciliator it's like the future in your head your lover dies your future is now dead it's how love makes you feel overwhelming your senses breaking down your defences I have seen the paradox of love and I know it will be an impending tragedy for you and me
It was at a concert of lovely old music. After two or three notes of the piano the door was opened of a sudden to the other world. I sped through heaven and saw God at work. I suffered holy pains. I dropped all my defences and was afraid of nothing in the world. I accepted all things and to all things I gave up my heart. It did not last very long, a quarter of an hour perhaps; but it returned to me in a dream at night, and since, through all the barren days, I caught a glimpse of it now and then. Sometimes for a minute or two I saw it clearly, threading my life like a divine and golden track. But nearly always it was blurred in dirt and dust. Then again it gleamed out in golden sparks as though never to be lost again and yet was soon quite lost once more.
Presence is not a question of judging or evaluating a client or a client's situation. Presence is to see the client's situation in a positive and creative light with a vision for how the present situation of the client relates to his further spiritual development. It is to accept a person as he is. It is to understand that the person is exactly where he needs to be in order to take the next step in his spiritual development. It is not about fighting with problems, darkness, drama and defences on the personality level, it is about becoming aware. It is about lighting the light in the inner being of another person.
Swami Dhyan Giten
I think Mr Kosta had first-hand knowledge of ancient times because he looked like he was raised from the crypt. He was cadaverous. Painfully thin, he had sunken cheeks in a narrow, ashen face, greyish teeth, and his hands were gnarled and shook a lot. But he was a mine of information and probably one of the best teachers I've ever had because he made the subject interesting. And although history in general wasn't my favourite course, I devoured the classic tales. They fascinated me. Maybe it was because my existence felt like a Greek tragedy. But as Mr Kosta told us, our lives were just ancient myths cloaked in the modern attire of defences and pretences (the ancients didn't give a crap what the neighbours thought).
It is the link between satisfaction and redress-the idea that a satisfaction scene, whatever else it is, is a revenge tragedy-that I want to pursue; and the sense that we waylay our desire-make it literally unreal-with pictures of its satisfaction. Pornography, for example, can easily be used, among many other things, to pre-empt the elaboration of erotic fantasy; it can be, in Masud Kahn's words, 'the stealer of dreams'. To put it in old-fashioned Freudian language, fantasies of satisfaction are defences against desiring, the attempt in fantasy to take the risk out of desire; or to put it in more Kleinian language, fantasies of satisfaction are attacks upon desire; they are, in fact, against desiring, both up against it and in opposition to it. Our fantasies of satisfaction are clues to our fears about desiring. Wishful fantasies are the original sins of omission.
I am reduced to a thing that wants Virginia. I composed a beautiful letter to you in the sleepless nightmare hours of the night, and it has all gone: I just miss you, in a quite simple desperate human way. You, with all your un-dumb letters, would never write so elementary a phrase as that; perhaps you wouldn't even feel it. And yet I believe you'll be sensible of a little gap. But you'd clothe it in so exquisite a phrase that it would lose a little of its reality. Whereas with me it is quite stark: I miss you even more than I could have believed; and I was prepared to miss you a good deal. So this letter is just really a squeal of pain. It is incredible how essential to me you have become. I suppose you are accustomed to people saying these things. Damn you, spoilt creature; I shan't make you love me any the more by giving myself away like this -But oh my dear, I can't be clever and stand-offish with you: I love you too much for that. Too truly. You have no idea how stand-offish I can be with people I don't love. I have brought it to a fine art. But you have broken down my defences. And I don't really resent it.
Deep in our hearts there is a call to live in communion with others, a call to love, to create, to risk. But there is also that radical feeling of our poverty when faced with human misery. I am afraid to give myself. I have constructed a world of security around me... so many so-called interests which keep me from communing with others... I want to, but cannot. So many things seem to prevent me from loving and I feel them in my inmost being... so many defences and fears. I risk losing hope. I risk entering into a world of sadness and I begin to doubt myself. I have doubts about others. I doubt the value of my presence. I doubt everything. This is our human condition. We want so much but we feel incapable. We believe in love but where is it? There are so many obstacles to break through within ourselves in order to become free and to become present to others; to their misery and to their person. Our hope is to become freer each day in order to accept others, to be fully present to them. That is our hope. It is only in that way we will be able to give life. Come, Holy Spirit, give us hearts of peace and warmth which can serve as a refuge for those who suffer. Come, help us to be present one to another.
Why are women so ungenerous to other women? Is it because we have been tokens for so long? Or is there a deeper animosity we owe it to ourselves to explore? A publisher... couldn't understand why women were so loath to help each other... The notion flitted through my mind that somehow, by helping... , I might be hurting my own chances for something or other - what I did not know. If there was room for only one woman poet, another space would be filled... If I still feel I am in competition with other women, how do less well-known women feel? Terrible, I have to assume. I have had to train myself to pay as much attention to women at parties as to men... I have had to force myself not to be dismissive of other women's creativity. We have been semi-slaves for so long (as Doris Lessing says) that we must cultivate freedom within ourselves. It doesn't come naturally. Not yet. In her writing about the drama of childhood developments, Alice Miller has created, among other things, a theory of freedom. in order to embrace freedom, a child must be sufficiently nurtured, sufficiently loved. Security and abundance are the grounds for freedom. She shows how abusive child-rearing is communicated from one generation to the next and how fascism profits from generations of abused children. Women have been abused for centuries, so it should surprise no one that we are so good at abusing each other. Until we learn how to stop doing that, we cannot make our revolution stick. Many women are damaged in childhood - unprotected, unrespected, and treated with dishonesty. Is it any wonder that we build up vast defences against other women since the perpetrators of childhood abuse have so often been women? Is it any wonder that we return intimidation with intimidation, or that we reserve our greatest fury for others who remind us of our own weaknesses - namely other women? Men, on the other hand, however intellectually condescending, clubbish, loutishly lewd, are rarely as calculatingly cruel as women. They tend, rather, to advance us when we are young and cute (and look like darling daughters) and ignore us when we are older and more sure of our opinions (and look like scary mothers), but they don't really know what they're doing. They are too busy bonding with other men, and creating male pecking orders, to pay attention to us. If we were skilled at compromise and alliance-building, we could transform society. The trouble is: we are not yet good at this. We are still quarrelling among ourselves. This is the crisis feminism faces today.