Archives for posts with tag: don’t be a dick

I guess it does not “go without saying” that we can care for ourselves well, and also treat others well. There are certainly some moments in humanity’s “blooper reel” that highlight how easily we lose sight of that in practice; we can be well and also do good. Apparently Marriott’s slip and fall moment involved a passenger ship, and an opportunity to rescue human beings from an island after a hurricane devastated it, with another on the way. Instead of rescuing everyone they could, they rescued only their own hotel guests, and left with capacity for hundreds of other human beings, also in dire need of rescue. Go ahead. Google it. I’ll wait.

The justification for leaving human beings behind, stranded, without support, services, and in some cases without even shelter was… “policy”. Yep. Their hands were tied by “policy”.  Their own policy. Let’s just admit right now that we all recognize what bullshit that is, most particular in times of humanitarian crisis. “Policies” are entirely arbitrary rules made up by people to account for most circumstances, and enforced through a filter of ordinary biases and willful exception-making (when it seems expedient). Using a “policy” to justify mistreating people isn’t okay. It is, in fact, cruel bullshit. Don’t be a dick. Don’t be one of the Marriott’s of the world. It isn’t necessary, it isn’t helpful, it isn’t kind, and it has no value to anyone outside the shareholder class, who (surprise!) may profit from it financially. Fuck that bullshit. Do better. Do good.

Take care of yourself. Definitely do this. Treat yourself well – and do it because you matter, too. I found it more challenging to learn to treat myself well than I expected to; I fought myself every step of the way. I didn’t understand that mistreating myself undermined my ability to treat others well, and also limited my compassion for others. It’s been an interesting journey with the woman in the mirror. We weren’t exactly friends 5 years ago. I put up with her bullshit. She put up with mine. We treated each other badly.  It was a daily battle to get through all of my self-imposed obligations, responsibilities, tasks and chores, and… I had nothing left for me, and wasn’t doing much of value for anyone else, as it turned out. Awkward. I was just working hard at going through the motions. Life felt pretty empty, and chasing happiness wasn’t getting me any closer to it.

Let go of a few self-imposed “rules” and “policies”! Treat yourself and others truly well (shit, that sounds like a rule, or a policy, right there… lol). No guarantees that “happiness” will follow, although I find helping people fairly gratifying personally, maybe that isn’t you (yet). We become what we practice; if you practice treating people badly, you become a bad person. Just saying.

Too many of us Marriott our way through our lives. Managing clear boundaries becomes living by a set of restrictive rules used to exclude others from our experience pretty easily. Refusing to help because it is inconvenient, or may have some potential for personal risk, says a lot about how we feel about our fellow human being – and how we feel about ourselves. How tightly swaddled in your privilege are you? Do you know the names of the cleaning crew at your office? If you’re part of the cleaning crew at an office, is it comfortable to smile and make eye contact with “the suits”? When was the last time you reached across a social or economic chasm to say hello to another human being, without regard to what they can do for you? Are you making a practice of averting your eyes from the homeless? Do you turn your back on uncomfortable strangers riding public transit so you don’t feel the pain of not giving up your seat to someone who needs it more?

No one can do “everything” for everyone. Most of us have resources enough for our own needs, our families, perhaps if we are fortunate, for our extended families as well. I get it; it feels like there isn’t enough to go around. There is though – because small gestures matter, too. Ask people in distress if they are okay. That’s a good beginning. Then listen. That’s some great follow through. Maybe you can help. Maybe you can’t help. Sometimes people need a connection more than a solution. 🙂 Sometimes though, you will have the solution, and the resources, and the time, and it’s all right there… don’t be Marriott.

Our choices can change the world. Isn’t it time to begin again?

This is not a public service announcement, I’m just saying; it’s dangerous to drive if you are distracted. It’s also annoying bullshit for people stuck behind you while you scramble to adjust your music, or futz with your phone, or play with some device, or turn around to scold a child, or whatever the fuck it is you thought was a higher priority than attending to the processes involved in driving that fucking car which you are behind the wheel of. omg. Seriously?

I was behind one shortly after I left the parking lot at work. The first 4.4 miles of my commute are along a fairly narrow stretch of two-lane road, intersections at each block, cross walks between those in many locations, and cars parked along both sides. It is a favored area for diners, shoppers, and urban adventurers, many of whom seem positively unaware that “rush hour” exists as a concept, and so they mill around in the early evening, darting out between parked cars, ambling across crowded streets without hesitation or consideration of the flow of traffic. The drivers, similarly, are a mixed mess of folks who are overly considerate of jay walkers, and jerks who don’t even stop for pedestrians at cross walks with active “walk” signals. The cars are usually bumper to bumper. The speed limit is posted 25 miles that entire distance; when there is any gap in the traffic at all, drivers tend to speed up to fill it, as if specifically seeking to prevent even one more other car from turning off a side street into that 4.4 mile long line of irritated inattentive human primates. This driver and I were among them. At any light at which that car was the first car waiting at the light, I frustratedly waited after the light turned green for the driver to notice that fact (the first time long enough to miss the light completely, the next 4 times I tapped my horn after a “5 count”). This puzzles me; I’m watching the fucking light, waiting to continue. I am driving my damned car. lol This anecdote does not lead anywhere particular – choose your own lesson, if there is one to be found, but damn it – if you are driving a fucking car, do that. Just drive.

Do the thing you are doing in life, in this moment, with your whole attention, just generally! (No, you do not “multi-task well”, no one does, there’s science on that, and you are missing out on moments of your life by thinking you do and continuing to cultivate this fractured consciousness.)

I’m not even kidding. I don’t use my phone while I’m driving, unless I park, shut off the engine, and get back on the road when I’m done. I don’t prefer to take hands-free phone calls, and don’t answer the phone for anyone but my Traveling Partner without actually parking the car. I’m working to break that habit too; he loves me, and waiting for a call back is worth his time – and my safety. Driving is a complex set of interconnected processes. Distracted driving is an unreasonably risky behavior.

End rant. Begin day. 😉

Seriously. Give this some thought; all it takes to make the world better is that we each take steps to do so. No kidding. Just don’t be a dick to other people. Be kind. Be giving. Be open. Love. Treat all people well. Be genuine. Relax. Enjoy life without ruining it for other people. Be inclusive. Be curious. Assume positive intent. Set clear boundaries and take good care of yourself. Did I mention being kind? Yeah, do a lot more of that. Be patient. Be compassionate. Just be. Be here. Be present. Listen deeply. Recognize there is much you do not know. Clean as you go. Respect boundaries. Get consent. Be kind. Be kinder than that. Let go of assumptions and expectations. Be mindful that people are not property.

Remember the part about being kind? Do even more of that. Yep. Verbs. Omg – and all the practice? Yeah, that goes on indefinitely. Easy? Well… easy-ish. Do your best. Do that better tomorrow. Keep at it; we become what we practice.

We can begin again together, this morning, right now. One thing at a time. Start with the person in the mirror. Be kind to that person too. 🙂

…Please don’t tell me this won’t change the world. We can’t know that until we’ve actually tried. 😉

I’m sipping my second coffee. The first disappeared quickly as I sifted through invoices, receipts, and purchase records looking for all the details the insurance company needs. It is a subtly de-humanizing process, this requirement to prove that I life the life I do, have the things I have accumulated over a life-time. It is very telling of the sort of creatures we human beings are that it is a necessary thing to require such detailed documentation; we’ll lie for money. I’m not pointing fingers, and it’s not “about me”, so I am not taking it personally…but, damn, what ugly caricatures of our own potential for greatness we tend to be. I’m not angry… more disappointed.

It is a quiet morning. I slept well and deeply, going to bed far later than usual and waking very much at a ‘sleeping in’ time of morning. That’s often what it takes for me to get enough rest. I don’t stop to wonder why. I take time to enjoy feeling rested.  I still don’t feel “safe” here, and I catch myself repeating the narrative as though it was the break-in that created that change in how this space feels, in some abrupt distinct very defined way – was it really? Not if I’m being entirely frank with myself; the process of letting go my attachment to this place, to ease the process of moving on, is certainly a more likely beginning – but those tentative first steps in the letting go direction surely made me far more vulnerable to that moment when my sense of safety was undermined so dramatically. Was I ever as safe as I felt? No more so than I am as unsafe as I feel now. Perspective. Still a thing.

When I exist engaged in this moment, here, now, present, awake, aware, there is little clear sense of “more than”, “less than”, or a need to set a threshold and maintain or monitor the outcome. It feels good to be. Content in the moment, because this moment is safe… or feels so. I suppose if I lived under siege, and had to dash to a remaining grocer through a hail of sniper fire, or gaze warily into the sky for unseen drones, or wait, breathless with terror, between bombings, or sleep lightly for fear of the knock on the door, no one moment would be any safer than another, either. Perspective.

I’ve survived some things in life. It has cost me dearly more than once to be able to stand here, in a quiet space, and say so. The price was worth paying. I’m here, in this quiet moment. It is enough. A moment of terror, a moment of trauma, a moment of abuse; we all survive some terrible moments, and our own pain is pretty nearly always the worst we can imagine. Without perspective, we might wander about continuing to allow ourselves to think that is the true truth of it. It is not; right now, somewhere, someone else isn’t sure they will get out alive, while I have a very different moment. I breathe. Sip my coffee. I find room to really savor how good this moment is.

Today is a good day to be mindful how little it takes to be okay right now, safe in this one moment. Today is a good day to embrace sufficiency, and to treat myself well and with great kindness. Today is a good day to remember we are each having our own experience – and some of those suck for some of us, maybe even right now. Today is a good day to listen, to care, and to make amends for the wrongs we’ve done – not because any one of us is more deserving than any other, but because we choose to be better than the human being we were, yesterday.

It’s time to walk on. 🙂

 

 

Don’t be a dick. It’s a good beginning. It’s also “Wheaton’s Law“, and a solid rule for living comfortably among others. 🙂

This morning I woke up comfortably 10 minutes before 5 am, well-rested, and having slept through the night. I considered going back to sleep long enough to roll over and find real comfort (no real reason to insist I get up early), but my mind was awake and ready for the new day. I got up. Yoga. Meditation. A few minutes gazing contentedly out into the night sky, still filled with stars. I sat down to write with a smile…

Seriously. Just don't. :-)

Seriously. Just don’t. 🙂

Yeah. Wow. Thanks, Facebook, for one more opportunity to practice openness, compassion, and acceptance that we are each having our own experience. The lessons in life’s curriculum are sometimes unpleasant. I’m quite taken by surprise by the hateful, fearful, narrow-minded, judgmental things people can say about one another… although, rarely about those dear to them, generally they save the hate for generalizations they’ve made about groups of ‘others’ they assume don’t share their values – or, apparently, their humanity. It’s appalling enough from strangers. I’m (figuratively) stricken speechless when it comes from someone on my own friends list. :-\ Don’t be a dick.

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…But… It really is an opportunity to practice acceptance, and to practice a kinder approach to others. Because we are each having our own experience, asking questions instead of making assumptions becomes a way of finding out more, when I approach a friend fearlessly and ask why they’ve said what they’ve said, and inquire, too, how it is to be taken. (I often find that what I’ve read is intended sarcastically, or ironically, and I find those qualities difficult to detect in text, without additional context, myself.) Sometimes people legitimately don’t seem aware that they may sound hateful. Sometimes I straight up ask that question, “Are you aware how hateful you sound, here?” Sometimes I don’t really know what to do, as when a family member or loved one of someone dear to me says something clearly hurtful, cruel, diminishing, or abusive to my dear one; sometimes involving myself is clearly a mistake, or potentially unwelcome. Lately, there’s been a lot of hateful rhetoric on Facebook. I worry that people don’t realize that it does matter, and is hurtful. Don’t be a dick.

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No, everyone isn’t being soft or weak when they don’t care to be abused, or refuse to tolerate abusive dialogue. No, it isn’t ludicrous when vulnerable, wounded people want a ‘safe space’ to be heard. No, it isn’t unreasonable when traumatized people still dealing with PTSD want trigger warnings to more easily choose to avoid triggering topics, language, or people. These are people seeking to take better care of themselves – and that’s entirely okay, and rational, and when they must also stand up to ridicule or resistance just to request that support, it’s beyond okay – it becomes heroic. Don’t be a dick.

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Attacking people because they hold a political view you don’t like? Don’t be a dick. It’s possible to make your point without personal attacks. Using abusive attacking language toward someone you say you love because you’re angry with them (or the world)? Don’t be a dick. Why would you treat people you love that way in the first place? Really? How is that love? Feeling resentful that someone struggling reaches out for help and gets it, because you struggle too and “no one helps you“? Don’t be a dick. Isn’t it okay to ask for help? Isn’t it okay for someone to choose provide it? Isn’t it okay to receive it? Just seriously don’t be a dick. How hard is that?

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“Don’t be a dick.” It’s a great practice. It does require some self-awareness, and a willingness to be honest with yourself in your worst moments, able to acknowledge that you are, indeed, being a dick in the first place. Then, the next step, fucking stop doing that! It would be a nice value add to also make it right if you’ve already gone ahead and followed your worst instincts, and treated someone badly because you were committed to being a dick, instead of being the person you most want to be. Choose your words with care. Think how you would take it yourself if you heard those words, delivered just that way, by someone you think cares about you, in a similar moment. Not liking the sound of it? Do you find yourself reaching for a rationalization? (Because, if you do, it’s probably a dick moment that you could let go, just saying; kind words need no justification.) Don’t be a dick.

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For those reading these words, thinking “fuck kindness” (and I know you’re out there), I can only say “please reconsider”. I know you’re having your own experience, but damn, the stain left on our own hearts by our own ugliness saturate our souls far more deeply than the hurtful words of others ever can. Hate changes us. Don’t be a dick.

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It could be that you live in the context of hate and fear every day. It may not be that easy to tell that you’re being a dick, if everyone else around you is also being a dick. Brief hurt looks preceded by uncomfortable laughter are a good sign to look for; just because hurtful words are laughed off by our friends, doesn’t mean we’re being encouraged to continue with being such dicks all the damned time. Just stop. It’s not as funny as we may have grown to think it is, and it’s a form of humor specifically based on hurting people based on vulnerability or disadvantage. We can do better as human beings. We don’t have to be dicks. It’s a choice.

As with any choice, there are verbs involved.

As with any choice, there are verbs involved.

I’m aware that these words likely won’t really be heard by any of the humans who need to hear them most; some people are righteous about being dicks, convinced of their position with moral certainty, comfortable telling the world to ‘toughen up’ and swallow more of their shit. I’m still saying it – because I won’t be that friend who let you keep being a dick without telling you I find it unpleasant. 😉

Practice the practices that take you closer to being the human being you most want to be.

Practice the practices that take you closer to being the human being you most want to be.

Today will be a lovely day to be the best of who you know yourself to be, to be kinder than you must, to be more open to hearing about someone else’s experience, to provide a moment of help because you can, to reach across one of the many fairly random pointless divides we have created among ourselves as human beings and say “that’s not relevant to your humanity”, and treat each other truly well.