Notes on the Journey

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Crossroads

It is so disheartening to hear of yet more terrorist attacks today in Brussels.  When will the hate stop?  When will the idea that terror and killing helps anything be realized to be false?  When will we be able to accept each other and our differences without acting out violently in opposition?

At this point in time, I think prejudice and fear are more based in economics than anything else.  How long do we think a nation or culture can be suppressed or marginalized or utilized without resentment and hatred building?  I don't condone violence for any reason.  I think there is always another way.  But, lack of education and economic opportunity breed desperation, and desperation often turns to violence.

I don't believe the terrorist acts we now witness in our world are based in religious differences.  I believe that they are born out of desperation and feelings of helplessness in an effort to gain some small amount of power; even if that miniscule moment of power comes at the sacrifice of their own or another's life.  I find it tragically sad that those who perpetrate these acts of terror feel their only solution lies in death and destruction.  And, that their only means of being seen lie in terror, suicide and murder.

It's a sad statement for all of us.  Because, these terrorists are us.  They are not separate from the rest of us.  They are lost and filled with rage and disconnected, but they are still part of the humanity of this planet.  We need to collectively find a way to communicate with these people and truly see them and hear them.  Our fear of them is such that we want nothing to do with them, which is the crux of the matter.  They need to be seen and heard and responded to in a neutral way.

I'm not saying that there don't need to be consequences for this type of acting out in violence.  There must be consequences.  But, in order to stop its continuance, we have to look to other ways than how we've been dealing with it up until now.  I don't think sane, balanced people plan and execute terrorist attacks, or commit murder.  Which means these people are soul sick and need attention and assistance.

Where does the level of helplessness and rage come from that would cause someone in a position of leadership to encourage his or her people to violence?  How did the disconnection and desperation develop within a particular culture that has now resulted in so much death and destruction?  I personally feel that these acts are an extreme cry to be seen and heard.  They are an extreme lashing out at a society that they feel has marginalized them and ignored them and denied them opportunity.

We can not overlook the terrorist acts that have happened, nor can we excuse those who've perpetrated them, but we can open our hearts in compassion for what has caused them to happen.  We can dig deep and find the love within ourselves that will allow us to see and hear those who have reached a place of such desperation.  Some of these people might be too entrenched in their positions to be reached, which is a tragedy of major proportion.  But, there are many behind them who are able to respond rationally and reconnect.  Yet, in order to reach into this culture of violence, we need to make a real effort to understand their position, acknowledge their point of view, and work toward a solution that creates peace.

Peace will require forgiveness on both sides of the equation.  If opening to each other, listening to each other, and forgiving each other are not possible, violence will continue.  But, we have to start somewhere.  We have to do what's necessary to bridge the gap.  We have to see and honor and understand each other and accept our differences.  We have to learn to appreciate our diversity instead of fearing it.  Just because any one of us believes a certain way, doesn't mean that we all have to agree.  We can agree to disagree.  We can keep working to reach a neutral stance.  But, the violence must be stopped.

This applies to those in any culture.  It applies to Donald Trump, and all of those he encourages to violence, as much as it does to those in any other culture we've become accustomed to blaming.  None of us are innocent.  This type of global problem, that is manifesting in all cultures, is a collective problem that we all need to take responsibility for and address in whatever way we can.

Why do people respond to a person who encourages violence and separation and prejudice and persecution?  Because that person encapsulates their fear, and they're acting out in reaction to it.  Because they are lost and don't know any other way to deal with their feelings of helplessness.  We are at a crossroads.  And, we need to make some important choices.  Do we go for fear, hate and separation?  Or, do we go for love, compassion and understanding?

The choice is ours in every day and every moment and every instance of interaction.  How do you want to create your world?  What is your vision?  Dig deep.  Think about it.    

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Feeling It All

I'm sad today, for no apparent or logical reason.  Tears fall, just because they want to.  The weather agrees with me and is gray and rainy.  It's just one of those days.  I'm grateful it's not sunny.  It feels good to have the weather support me in my moodiness.

The thing that time and age has shown me is that it's okay to be sad.  I don't need to feel better right now.  I don't need to fix anything.  I just need to allow what's moving in me to move.  Something has chosen this day to move.  Some ancient sadness, tied to something I don't know about or can't remember, has chosen this blessed day to move.  And, all I need to do is give it the space to do so.

My being has finally reached the place where it's okay for this sadness to loosen its grip and move.  And, the tears I shed this day are both the sadness that's leaving and moving through my being, and the gratitude for that process.  They are a mixed bag of emotions.  They are multidimensional.  They are deep and true.  There is nothing wrong with feeling sad or with crying, even if for no apparent reason.

Have you noticed that we--as humans--often have a hard time allowing each other to feel our emotions?  Why is that?  Why are we uncomfortable in the presence of certain emotions?  I think it's because we haven't reached a place of comfort within ourselves in regard to those emotions.  I have more difficulty feeling and expressing anger than I do with sadness.  I have trouble with extreme happiness.  I don't understand it.  But, those are my limitations and issues.  Sadness is more familiar.  My being was born carrying an overabundance of sadness.  It was a life choice I made long before I entered this body.  I brought it with me because I knew that it was in this lifetime that it would be able to move.  So, I'm grateful when it makes itself known and another piece of it moves through.

One of the grave mistakes I think the modern spiritual movement has made is to ignore or deny our darkness.  The whole focus is on love and light and positive thinking, but at the expense of denying the other half of our humanness.  There's nothing wrong with love and light and positive thinking, but it's only part of the equation.  The result of this kind of thinking is that we can go into judgement of ourselves when we feel things other than love and light, or when we're not able to have positive thoughts in regard to whatever moment we're facing.  One of the great gifts of being human and having a body is to feel the full gamut of emotions that are connected with that experience.  When we start to shut them off, for any reason, we inhibit our ability to live fully.

I think we would benefit from teaching our children how to stand in and experience their emotions.  Instead of saying, "Don't cry" when someone is crying, we could reach out and hold them and allow those emotions to move without being cut off.  When someone is angry, instead of trying to shut them down and shut them up, we could give them the space to express what's moving in them and get it out.  When someone is happy, instead of telling them to quiet down or saying, "That's enough, now" we could give them the space to fully feel and express the elation that's present.  If we were able to understand that all emotions are okay, and that by giving them their space while they're happening they are able to move through and out of the body, it would prevent a lot of negative acting out that's caused by denying or suppressing those emotions.

There's an indigenous tribe on the planet, the location of which I now can not remember, that sings their individual song to each baby when it's born.  The midwives, and those attending the birth, tune into the new spirit that's just come through, and sing their song to them.  As the new spirit hears its song, it feels welcome and at home.  It knows it's come to the right place.  And, as life continues, and the person gets off track or does something unacceptable, the tribe doesn't shame or punish them, they surround them with love and sing their song so that they remember who they are and reconnect to their essence.  What a wonderful thing to do.  It's such an honoring of being human and such a deep understanding of how to help someone find their way back to themselves.

Today, I am honoring the sadness that moves through me and giving it the space it needs.  I allow the tears to fall.  I let myself have it.  It is an acceptance and honoring of my humanity.  I'm grateful for it.  After it all moves through, I'll feel lighter.  And so, I sing my song.