Is it possible in the age of divisiveness?
Let’s look at our own spheres of influence… our circles and personal experiences – we have a community we find comfort in… neighbors we have come to know and trust… friends, colleagues, coaches, business owners, partners, educators… people we know and get along with… some of us go back years… others we have only known a short while. Bonds built… and we continue to do life together…
Perhaps what we are looking for, rather, is a collective coming together-ness….
…. One where the news report is world peace ,.. Food and supplies are abundant and all are healthy and prosperous.
The universal collectiveness.
…. How can we universally come together – people self-govern…. Wars are un necessary…. And evil is defeated thus peace and unlimited prosperity is free to all, without worry or fear.
…. Without worry…. Or fear.
How can we ease our own and that of our brother.
How might we meet the needs of ourselves and our families… and also that of our neighbors…. And our fellow humans…
We are divided by many things… our bodies… our spaces… our resources… our geography…
…. Our pasts… our present….
These are taken into consideration, which requires thought and concern…. And we live our lives according to the beliefs and principles that drive us…. While recognizing and contributing to those around us…. All boats rise with the tide…. Competition is necessary but so is contribution… and this means being cognizant of not only the struggle of our neighbor, but of our own internal struggle…. To be seen, heard, understood and loved.
We are certainly more alike than we are unalike and it’s the thoughts we have (about ourselves and others) and the care to which we extend this understanding out into the world.
Most of us want things that are genuine …. We value family, relationships, freedom to choose how we live our lives… how we express ourselves to the world… how we provide for our families, how we spend our time, and with whom… how we nourish our minds and bodies… feed our souls and pray to our God.
…. We want freedom from dis-ease and suffering… freedom to soothe our sorrows with prayer, meditation, music, movement, activities, sports…. Those of which that connect us physically, mentally and spiritually with others….
…. Sometimes we are the helper and sometimes we are being helped (oftentimes it’s both)…
Having a number of transformative life changes (giving birth being four of them!) …. As many of you have had as well…. Perception… perspective… belief and understanding – carved from our lived experiences…
… the lens through which we view the world… and ourselves, is how we make decisions.
It’ll be almost two years since we have collectively experienced a phenomenon of massive proportions.
We have been affected in many ways… on many levels… unquantifiable.
Flourishing occurred… much tragedy as well.
The will and strength of the human spirit…. Remains.
We have learned much about the world…. And about ourselves.
The layers upon layers of which we have learned….
Many have done things in their lives I will never do… many have suffered, sacrificed, seen, heard, experienced… things that are both horrific and most honorable.
All of these experiences have brought us to where we are today.
….The traumas and the triumphs…
We are here…. Still….
We feel for our brother and sister next door… those across the state, the country, and across the oceans…
These are all introspections of how we intentionally see our contribution to our families… and our communities… and the God we serve…
…. Not to forget the mechanics of humanity…
… outside of ourselves…
There are structures… processes… contracts… rules… regulations… expectations… constructs… commitments…
All of these may actually be very different depending on our differences listed above.
… to know where we are, we must know where we came from.
This requires work… internally and externally.
Who we are individually…. Who we are as a community…. As a society… as a country… as a species.
Stripping all away, who are we and who do we want to be?
It’s important to both know and decide…
…. Discuss and develop…. Thoughts… curiosities… reading and understanding to apply and practice…
We can reflect and discuss on where we have come as a civilization… the long of it and the short of it… our countries and individual states…
As a Christian, I believe a unified body of information includes the Bible but others would suggest that the body of information that includes truth and accurate accounts… may not exist actually exist. Research continues in all areas of study and disciplines… what we choose to focus on is for us to decide.
In our country, we have a contract that is the United States Constitution. We read and understand with integrity how and why our country was founded and the principles that unite us… amended through the agreed upon process of government and the legislative body…
…. How far have we come in the last two centuries?
We live in a completely different world…. Those of us who remember life before the internet and social media can attest that the world has challenges because of this technology.
…. Everything seems to be in excess…
We must intentionally slow down in order to grasp our thoughts and this foundation… Tradition is important and we are still the daughters and sons of those who came before us for generations… our minds and bodies need rest. Sometimes these things don’t come naturally… we have to make it a point to do them.
Or the machine will sweep us up.
Not everyone sees themselves as in a collective peacebuilding exercise of love and compassion, for oneself and others.
Some are not aware of the things we are discussing here – and they fall in a few different categories, I’ll speak to two – there are those who don’t have access to this level of awareness… they are suffering…. They are enslaved physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, in a way we do not know… perhaps we may have experienced it at one time in our lives, but for most of us… we are not now.
There are those who do not resonate with this discussion because they are also enslaved – but they look very different than the ones described above.
If you could close your eyes and picture the world you want to live in… the world you want your children to grow up in…. What would it look like?
How do you suggest is best to “get there?”
Where do your thoughts and ideas come from?
Is it based on your intuition, past experiences… who and what do you look to for insight and ideas?
When you read something or watch something, whatever form of media it is… what comes up for you?
Is it thought-provoking? Fear provoking? Action provoking?
What is the strategy and who is the writer of it?
The way we view ourselves and the world… is how we will interpret what we see and hear…
… how we understand is up to us.
How we process information is both nature and nurture.
Our critical faculties are intact and we are motivated by many different things.. Some conscious, some unconscious…
The way we view ourselves and the world doesn’t change the current structures and mechanisms already in place that keeps the machine running everyday.
The sun, for example, will rise in the morning and set in the evening.
The ocean will rise and fall back again…. Every single day.
We may be drawn to both of these for their nourishment and energy.
But our view of them does not change whether they show up to work or not.
Government and its partner, politics, may fall into this category as well… and give us a feeling that is possibly quite the opposite as the sun and the ocean.
… these things may be repelling…. Because of the media we consume related to it…. The messaging surrounding it… those we watch speak and how we believe we are or are not affected by it.
…. The contribution we believe we could or could not make.
…. What we believe to be true about it.
…. How we may have been betrayed or received benefit from it.
These are just a few examples of things that run without us…
We have these systems that have been functioning on all cylinders for, let’s say, over a hundred years.
The population has grown… technology has grown… safety and stability for many has gotten to a point not seen in history.
Comfort and ease has been packaged over the last 50 years and the promise of “easier, faster, better” has excelled in profits and quality of life…. Some would suggest….
This doesn’t account for planned obsolescence …
…. Or a generation with the greatest access to resources and information is more sick than makes sense.
But the story goes that we have never been better off and thus we turn to help others… when we have been given, it’s our responsibility to give.
…. And how do we do this?
Many have many ideas about this.
Conviction is acquired…. Through prayer, meditation, life experiences, and circumstances.
We also believe that our heart and mind is not only connected to all others, but that all others share our heart and mind.
Our good intentions are so strong, that it’s hard to believe some don’t share them… not everyone thinks the same or shares the same beliefs, but most of us have good intentions…
… we want what’s best for our children… our communities… we feel sad when we read sad stories and feel angry when we see injustices…
The corruption and evil that exists in the world is about beyond our comprehension… we have read books and watched movies but this level of horror is unfathomable in real life….
… not in our families… not in our communities…. Not in our country and not across the world.
It’s hard to imagine the intricately woven conversations, relationships, arrangements, situations… that are threaded throughout the systems we live in and rely upon.
…. It’s hard to watch someone in a position of authority say something we don’t actually believe to be true…. Read a horrific story about pain and suffering or even experience it in our own lives as a witness.
It’s uncomfortable to think we don’t actually have control over the life we live…. That regardless of how we view ourselves and the world, it doesn’t actually make a difference.
…. The wheels will keep spinning…. Things, good and bad, will keep growing… more of this and more of that…
What IS the trajectory we are on, individually and collectively?
… or is it more of the tide, it’ll just rise and fall without batting an eye to our existence?
We all have the things that we are drawn to…. The things that light us up – how we feel we can contribute and what we are called to do…
It’s not a bouquet of roses (sometimes it can be), but rather thorn bushes …. The self-discovery is exquisite…. And the physical leaves us reflecting more and more…
We are becoming, being chiseled to His perfection… in ways we won’t ever see until we leave this world… ideally, we leave it better than when we came to it…
We come together through this process – individually, we further align with ourselves, a deep love and trust with who we are…. And collectively…. Because how we show up in the world, physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually… makes a difference in these areas for others.
As for the obstacles to this….
There are systems and mechanisms in place, that subvert this process …. They are made up of people, intentions, incentives and contracts that counteract the good and the thoughtful.
Why does evil exist and why do bad things happen to good people?
It’s less a question of why and more of the realization that they do… and that if there is evil in the world, there is also good… if there is fear, there is also love…
Reckoning with it is the journey.
… recognizing and discerning when it’s there…. Can be challenging, but it’s do-able.
It’s a practice.
As a parent, we have this conversation with our children, and gauge who they are hanging out with…. We care about who our children are with, especially as they get older because peers have a big influence on them.
“Not everyone has your best interest at heart. They have THEIR best interest at heart.”
As a parent, I’m my child’s biggest advocate, my intentions for them are UNWAVERINGLY good. No one will protect, invest in, grow with and give to my child like me.
Instinctually, we know that rarely do people have our best intention at heart because we are humans.
We all have levels of how far we are willing to extend ourselves to others… and the sacrifice it means for ourselves… justifying another’s safety with the risk to our own.
…. Because we are humans.
What are we willing to risk for others?
This is a personal line that only we can draw for ourselves.
It’s based on our thoughts, beliefs, principles, support from others and that which we give ourselves.
There are varying levels of what good intentions are, who they are for, and who is extending them- the help, grace, ability, protection, etc.
The systems that run while we sleep…. May or may not be in our best interest, depending on the situation, on our experiences, our perceptions, the way we have come to understand the circumstance…. And all of these things for the other person and the mechanism they work through.
Is it the person who is corrupt or the system?
What if it’s both?
And what does that mean?
As someone who resonates with this conversation, springing into a fix may be right up the alley of our vibe.
When we see something and know our mind is calculating an answer to a problem, doing nothing becomes unmanageable …. The gears of the beast go head to head with the gears of our minds and it’s a test of conviction… fortitude… commitment and perseverance.
These are things we have trained for our whole lives…. And character traits that have been passed down to us through the trials and tribulations of our ancestors.
With a good heart and a focused mind, we contribute to the world in a way that can not be replicated by anything other than the human spirit.
No one is perfect and we all make mistakes – God’s grace and His guidance is for us all.
Policy and the public sphere, as much as we want to believe and trust in the goodness and integrity of these initiatives, we must take into consideration the multitude of factors that make up what reaches our eyes, ears and influence on how we live our lives…. And that of our children.
Because we are more alike than we are unalike, it would be reasonable to think that it’s simple… and perhaps it started out that way…. Closer to human nature… from the start of humanity… moving through the ages, how much has it really changed and how important is it to remember who we are, what we came here to do and who we are meant to be.
Because the opportunity to consume (products and entertainment) is EVERYWHERE…. It’s easy to forget what connects us to our humanity… the traditions and sacredness of all the things we are led to forget.
Tradition and sacredness is marketed as not moving forward… and progress is the most widely acceptable form of purpose.
Policy is a law, regulation, procedure, administrative action, incentive, or voluntary practice of governments and other institutions. These are decided upon by government officials, some elected by those they serve and other times, appointed, by those who are elected by those they serve.
Just as we individually both self-serve and serve others…. So do those who participate in making policy.
They have their own best interest at heart, while also extending that to those they committed to serve…. Who is on the list of those they serve?
Idealistically, it would be themselves and the people… their constituents.
Just as in the history of humanity, our dimensionality deepens… and service is to many.
…. These can take on the form of other people who are not part of the collective, but rather a smaller minority…. individuals, small and large groups, and more prominently, those who incentivize with benefits, monetary and otherwise.
Because, we are human.
We have evolved intellectually and still remain primitive to self-preserve.
This includes what drives us…. For some, it’s to be a good person.
…. For others, it IS about other things that we don’t share as strongly…. Power, ego, money… status…
Most of us want like these things… we are all sinners…
But we aren’t willing to sacrifice our good intentions in order to get them.
It’s hard to conceptualize the heart and mind of someone who would… we read and watch movies but it seems fantastical for it to actually exist.
This further divides those who are driven by good and those who are driven by personal gain that can be both surface level and far deeper and more evil than we can process.
When faced with a choice of our best interest and theirs…. Made manifest will be the result we see and hear and experience.
To think we are being ruled and governed by those who think and act in a way that we would, is giving them the benefit of the doubt in a way that only our good hearts are capable of.
To see man for who they are, not for who you want them to be… can be painful… to say the least.
Looking into our own shadow and accepting the parts of ourselves we tried to forget and ignore and shame and guilt into submission…. Can be devastating.
Betrayal is too much a burden for us to carry…. So we oftentimes hang it out to dry and do everything in our own power to leave it alone.
Other times, we use the energy to align with truth and love, in a way that includes righteous anger and forgiveness.
It’s a journey and there is no right or wrong way to course correct the injustices, loss and suffering humanity faces…. And the emotions we feel in our own bodies.
There are suggestions and a personal relationship with God will provide answers unfound in the physical.
If man professes truth and is the writer of it, it would make sense he wouldn’t want us to get it from God…. who may have a different story.
We gather up bits of the world and put them together in a way that makes sense.
We ask for divine guidance and accept that He works through people…. So it would be through people that the truth is found.
And it would make sense that we the people are more alike than we are unalike and that it’s in fact the rulers of this world (those of the systems), may be more unalike us, perpetuating the systems of injustices that prevent us from waking up to world peace.
We have all benefited from the machine. And it is a personal decision where our boundaries lie.
Are all self-interest moves evil?
Are all good intentions free from evil’s infiltration?
Many things are both.
Because…. We are human.
We are both light and dark.
We are both good and fallen.
Our world is reflective of all that is within us and outside of us.
“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change” – W.Dyer
Awareness starts the process of recognizing who we are, those around us and how the world moves.
It opens up our minds to seeing things we hadn’t before, engaging in topics of interest and allowing our own contributions to make a difference we can both see and may not see.
When we feel less fear about our own lives and who we are, we are capable of feeling less fear about the world around us.
We can grow courage and face these fears, perhaps with the body of information that we are learning to decipher and interpret, apply and discuss with others.
Rather eradicate fear, we learn to live with it, through it and learn from it.
We recognize that we don’t have to go at it alone and His words are for us not to… but He doesn’t tell us not to fear because fear doesn’t exist.
He reminds us that when we notice it and feel it…. That He is with us… We do not suppress fear or hang it out to dry…. But know that it’s a tool of a force that we in fact don’t serve.
…. Some serve this force and although it’s painful to imagine…
… it only enhances our clarity in knowing that we have tools, too…. And the God we serve is far greater than the opposite.
A political solution is one where we participate on a local level…. How can we use our gifts and abilities to contribute and serve on our councils, our local boards and governing bodies… we are the sustainable …. We are the foundation…. It’s we who make the change we want to see in the world.
God bless and Godspeed.