[…] ‘In the life on the Road to Santiago, certain things happen that are beyond our control. When we first met, I told you that I had read in the gypsy’s eyes the name of the demon you would have to confront. I was surprised to learn that the demon was a dog, but I did not say anything to you about it at the time. Only after we arrived at that woman’s house – when for the first time, you showed the love that consumes – did I see your enemy.
‘When you chased away that woman’s dog, you did not place him anywhere. You didn’t hurl the spirits into a drove of pigs that was thrown over a precipice, as Jesus did. You simply chased the dog away. Now his force wanders along behind you, without a destination. Before finding your sword, you are going to have to decide whether you want to be enslaved by that force or
whether you will dominate it.’ […] (Source: The Pilgrimage by Paulo Coelho)

[…] ‘A threat leads to nothing if it is not accepted. In fighting the good fight, you should never forget that. Just as you should never forget that both attacking and fleeing are part of the fight. What isn’t a part of the fight is becoming paralyzed by fear.’ […] (Source: The Pilgrimage by Paulo Coelho)

These passages from “The Pilgrimage” by Paul Coelho really strike a chord with me.  Chevrefeuille of Carpe Diem Haiku Kai says of these passages that – ‘We can be in control, with letting go. Defeat your demons and become free …. go beyond control … let go …’

                                                                                             *                         *                        *

I’m not a fighter.  I would much prefer to stick my head in the sand or run like crazy in the other direction but just this month I had to stand and fight.   It was a personal matter concerning a friendship that had turned sour.   In the end I had to stand and fight for the other person would not leave me alone until I did.   The sword I used was words.  Many people would consider the words I used inadequate or strange for, in the end, I conceded to this other person and retreated from the battle.  

Years ago I read in the I Ching that retreat is sometimes the wisest course of action to take.    In an online commentary of the I Ching hexagram ‘Retreat’ I read – ‘By gracefully withdrawing from conflict, you may be able to protect yourself from humiliation and the enmity of others. Furthermore, you deprive the opposition of an enemy to confront, which in itself can be a strategic move.’

For me, the only way for me prevent further attacks from this person was for me to turn and confront them.   Once I had done that, I felt the best way for me to move forward was to go beyond control of the situation and let go of any need to be right or to be the winner.



(Ditto with my decision to respond to prompts of CDHK again. I have already discussed with Chevrefeuille on his WordPress blog.   I do retain copyright to all my original content though).



10 thoughts on “Retreating

  1. Wow, Suzanne. I love your haibun and enjoyed reading your experience, growth and wisdom. I am not a fighter either. I usually withdraw, too often just lick my wounds for those who attack me but have been learning to stand up for myself time I feel necessary. You’ve inspired me to write for this prompt…you see, how wonderfully you write. I walked along with you during this exercise and I learned. Thank you.

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