Don’t Give Me The Evil Eye

The Plant Hunter by Cassandra Leah Quave is every bit as good as I had hoped it would be, even better. It’s more of an autobiography of a scientist than anything else. It’s showing me a whole world I didn’t even know existed, its processes and struggles. The science is one thing, but the story behind it is just so interesting.

I keep think that this is how we should teach each other to appreciate what’s going on around us. Through personal stories we start to see how we are all connected. We see how our lives are the same and different. And we learn to appreciate and support other each other’s worldviews.

That’s not coming out how I want it to, but I’ll keep working on it. I’m trying to explain how I feel and I’m feeling a bit rushed. This book is another one showing me how little I know about the world.

Here’s something that caught my attention though and I wanted to share it with you.

“Evil eye is a complex, popular illness that refers to the ability of the human eye to cause or project harm when it’s directed at certain individuals or their belongings – a psychosocial disease linked to jealousy.” From The Plant Hunter by Cassandra Leah Quave

The word “popular” sticks out to me. I always think of popular as the best, or at least what everyone wants: the popular girl at school, pop culture, pop music, etc. But it also means, “representing, or carried on by the people at large.” Interesting.

A big part of why I love reading her work is because she doesn’t dismiss these kinds of things; she investigates them and incorporates them into her research. It’s a skill we all could use.

Most of us would dismiss the idea of the “evil eye” as being superstitious and silly, along with the “cures” for it. I smiled when I read this line because I’ve been the giver and the recipient of the evil eye many times in my life and every time it’s ruined everything I have. I’d do anything to avoid it now and I’ve been actively learning new ways (non-superstitious ones) to cure myself.

The evil eye is nothing but jealousy, envy, and greed. Everyone feels these feelings and they are not “bad” in and of themselves. It’s what we do with those feelings that causes the trouble. We don’t need to push them aside as evil or shove them down, pretending they don’t exist, either. We should be sitting with them, pulling them close, and asking ourselves where the hurt is coming from.

Instead of casting our eyes outward, giving someone the “evil eye,” we could cast them inward and look at ourselves, find the imbalance and solve it.

In the book, she says that in Italy where she was staying, every time she gave someone a compliment, they quickly insisted that she take the item. They were helping her and avoiding the evil eye. It makes me think of sacrifice. I’d rather give you what I have than cause you to go down that terrible road to ruin that is jealousy and envy.

I’ve struggled with these feelings a lot in my life. Most of it stems from a feeling of inadequacy on my part, and a lack of self-love. The past several years I’ve gotten a lot of practice learning to deal with these feelings in new ways. Loads of reflection time has helped me grow, but I still have a long way to go.

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