I live very close to Charlottesville, Virginia, the site of recent violence and confusion. In my personal life in the past six weeks both of my elderly parents have died within 28 days of each other! As a person who feel her feelings deeply, I have had to sort out to which event my feelings and emotions are attached. My intellectual side would like to have no attachments with the emotions to any of these events! My intuitive side , however, tells me I am being given a tremendous opportunity of the highest good!
I have listened and observed people all over the world discussing and dissecting what happened in my town, how it needs to be handled, what went right and what went wrong, and seen millions of fingers pointing the blame at others. I have also listened and observed friends and family who hear of how my parents died 28 days apart, and how hard it must be for my brothers and I to cope.
I attest and witness that all of these events have demanded I grieve. After the shock of all the experiences I have felt, I decided a few things. One, I made a commitment to myself that whenever a feeling…no matter what it was…came up, that I would feel it all the way through, not allowing anything to distract me from that intention. There may be positive distractions such as writing, talking with friends, support groups, exercise, etc. but I know myself pretty well, and know I can let even positive things distract me. Two, I noticed that I need to know where I belong in my little world. Do I belong with those who want to place blame on the reason bad things happen? Do I belong with those who feed on fear and anger? Do I belong with those who believe in an eye for an eye, a punch for a punch? Do I belong with those who live with a compassionate heart? Thirdly, I am very sure I have to get gut level and rigorously honest with myself. I have to see the truth about where I have bias, prejudices, and dark shadowy aspects. We all have prejudices! For change to happen it has first to begin with me. I have to look at my stuff before I can effectively look at yours! You have to look at you first before you look at anyone else. I am sure of this!
People who claim they hate another for the color of their skin, sexual orientation, gender, beliefs, political affiliation, or spiritual/religious ideas can scare me at first. When I slow down, pause, and apply human understanding, I just might see that each and everyone of us only wants to know we belong and have a place in this Universe. We at some point quit listening to each other like we used to. Some of us never listened at all for we just wanted to hear our big, loud ego talk talk talk. Some of us live with the mantra: I am right, you are wrong and I am going to prove it to you! Then some of us take it further and if you do not listen to me while I am trying to prove how right I am, I will become a bully and may even inflict physical-mental-emotional pain on you if I think you do not hear me! Maybe we quit listening because we were too wrapped up in staring at a cell phone, surfing the internet, playing games, or other distractions that came with the age of progressive technology!
My silver lining is I have really began listening …listening to why people in Charlottesville and the rest of the world are angry and scared….listening to how my two brothers and other family feel about the losses of two 94 year old people who were part of our lives for a very long time….listening to how people just want to know they fit into a group, into a social setting, into somewhere where they are heard-accepted-treated with kindness! I am even listening to myself!
I am listening to how kind I am willing to be. I am listening to the words I use with others. I am listening to how often I am willing just to look for opportunities to be of service to my fellow brothers and sisters. I am listening to my pain. I am listening to my joy. I am listening to see if just maybe I can see a young person who feels they are not loved, accepted, or do not fit in anywhere….and reach out to them to show them someone really cares before they go join a group of violent haters who claim to care about them.
We really have an opportunity. We really, if we are willing ,can look at our own defective traits and work diligently on being the best example of US that we can be before jumping on our proverbial bulldozers and harming another. We really can be kind to another who disagrees with us. We really can listen to the thinking and ideas of another who believes the opposite way of us. We really can walk a mile in the moccasins of our fellow brother and sister. Is it too late to create a better world? I believe together we can do what we could never do alone.
Are you listening?