I woke easily but wanting to sleep later. I lingered in bed for some time, but sleep wasn’t happening; the day had begun. I sat down with my coffee and opened my Facebook feed – generally a very positive place these days, because it actually does work to continue to refine my feed preferences over time. I block ‘news’ sites that aren’t legitimate news sites, choosing to refrain from injecting poison into my brain through my eye holes every day, if I can. I’ve even chosen to unfriend some long-time historical connections whose values, and means of expressing those, continued to cause me stress and rouse emotions like fear, panic, anxiety – hard to call them friends, if that is my reaction to their words, right?

The world is what it is, though, and incremental change over time on a global scale is crazy slow – because we don’t all share the same values, and frankly, it’s not even a given that we all make choices in favor of our own survival as a species. I mean… actually… it’s clear we don’t.

Isn't the beauty of a sunrise important, too?

Isn’t the beauty of a sunrise important, too?

Two articles got my attention in a fairly painful way this morning.  The first was an article about the artist Kesha losing a court case seeking to end her contractual relationship with a record company requiring her to continue to work alongside a producer who raped her. Wow. Seriously, Sony? Evil much? Is a record deal actually worth sacrificing a young woman’s mental and emotional health? My first thought is ‘how dare you?’, followed quickly by my own memories of attempting to report a sexual assault to my unit commander and being told I didn’t really want to ‘ruin that young man’s life that way’ and besides ‘it would be bad for unit cohesion’ and I should ‘grow a thicker skin – boys will be boys’. Yep. Apparently that’s still the world we live in. How about we fix that?

We could choose to change the path we're on.

We could choose to change the path we’re on.

The second article was entirely different, very peculiar, and tough to fit into my understanding of rational adult governance; the Southern Poverty Law Center produced their annual report of hate groups, and I guess I’m not really surprised, but… the Republican Party made the list this year. (Oh hey, guys – go you! It’s like an award for being… the worst people in the nation. WTF? Certainly validates my choice to register differently some years ago, just saying. Don’t hate.) Yeah. I actually don’t know what to say about it. I seriously doubt that my own Republican friends meet the definition of ‘a hate group’… then recall that I’ve unfriended a number of former associates, friends, and colleagues, for reasons very much relevant to the politics of hate: racism, sexism, xenophobia, religious fundamentalism, and political extremism of the sort that seeks to create a bigger and bigger divide between some arbitrary ‘us’ and some frightening ‘them’. So… huh. What now?

Taken in context, fully considering what you know of the world, yourself, are your individual choices building the world you want most to live in?

Taken in context, fully considering what you know of the world, yourself, are your individual choices building the world you want most to live in?

If Republicanism has indeed become a hate group… do we now see the wholesome, compassionate, educated, forward-thinking Republicans among us lead their party to a better way of viewing the world… or do they leave the Republican party? Those aren’t the only two options, of course. Another option is pissing and moaning about how misunderstood their hate is, and how they are only seeking to improve things for “everyone”, and perhaps something about how ‘that’s just a few extremists in the party’. Scary, though. If I were told, with supporting documentation and evidence, that ‘being an artist’ was a hate group… would I stop painting? Would I paint differently? Would living my own values require me to change my actions based on the new information – or would it require me to acknowledge the truth of it, and continue to live it?

What matters most? Taking care of me is not at the expense of others - it never had to be.

What matters most? Taking care of me is not at the expense of others – it never had to be.

When I realized I had gotten sucked into a very dark place quite early in the morning, even letting my coffee go cold, I set the world aside – it’ll still be here later – and take time for me. I calm myself with meditation, and take time to watch the morning unfold beyond the window. The sunrise was worth taking the time for it. A fresh cup of coffee is nice, too. I breathe, and let go of my own hurting resurrected by the unpleasant, uncomfortable, all-too-human hateful bullshit that snuck into my experience this morning. Hurts from the past don’t have to be indulged in the present; it’s something my traveling partner pointed out to me early in our relationship. Having the injury that I do, it’s often very difficult to ‘let things go’ once visceral real-time emotions are aroused, but it isn’t impossible. Verbs. Always with the verbs. 🙂

Be love.

Be love.

I don’t have to live within my emotional pain. It isn’t a requirement to hold onto the worst moments as though they define the present ones. They are now only memories, scars, and lingering impressions caught in my implicit memory. I allow ‘now’ to become prominent, again. I step more firmly into this moment. I hear the music in the background… it’s apropos and I smile, and relax.  I think of my friends, their wit, their wisdom – even the Republican ones. The world is damned scary filtered by fear and hate, isn’t it? That isn’t the world I actually live in, myself… You? Maybe it’s a matter of speaking up when we hear it around us, just simply saying ‘Dude, not okay!’, and reminding each other of Wheaton’s Law.  Maybe it’s bigger than that – maybe we’re not the most amazing primates, after all? Certainly we’ve got room to grow as beings. We live in the world we choose to build. Could we do better? Choose more wisely? Well… yeah. 🙂 Let’s do that!

Today is a good day for sunshine, and for logging off Facebook. Today is a good day for being. Today is a good day to buy products from companies that don’t promote hate, or rape culture, or slavery, or exploitation, or… I didn’t say it was going to be easy. It’s going to take practice. 🙂