Archives for posts with tag: don’t hate

It’s a lot to take in, and I’m not sure what to say about any of it. Terrible. There’s a word. Overwhelming. Unnecessary. Heinous. All words. All fitting. I just… can’t. I feel struck by it. I’m not at all prepared – and perhaps not qualified – to write about any of this. So, perhaps another time? A different topic?

I don’t want to point this out, but it’s a thing, and part of what is making me struggle with all of it so much; in six months, if you read this post, you will have to look up the events of the date to be certain what I am referencing. That sucks beyond what I have words for.

…Any of this should be so much more significant, so unacceptably significant, that it would drive real lasting change. How terrible that it isn’t, and doesn’t.

Please note: this is not the usual thing, I think, and I’m not really sure quite what “set me off”. I feel vaguely inclined to apologize, or perhaps to at least give you an opportunity to reconsider this one, so… here’s me, alerting you that this is some pent-up ancient anger simmering just under the surface, and, well… a bit of it seeped through, somehow, and bubbled up… and spilled over. So. Angry ranting ahead. Choose wisely. 😉 ❤

One more chance to choose perspective and beauty. Angry ranting ahead… you’ve been warned. 🙂

I made the mistake of scrolling through Facebook first, this morning. Gross. Seeing the ethical and moral decline of a country I feel part of, connected to, is frankly super depressing and… provoking. It irks me to deal with the constant continued attack on women, on people of color, on people who face economic disadvantages, on people who choose reason, on science (and scientists)… all so a small handful of rich old white guys can fatten up their bank accounts and afford enough great medical care to manage a few more self-congratulatory erections and strut around impressing themselves while others suffer. It’s fairly sad and pathetic, on the one hand, and on the other… it enrages me. I’m frustrated, and my emotions bounce between anarchistic anger, and immobilizing learned helplessness; I am not an old rich white guy, not the daughter, wife, or chattel of an old rich white guy, nor subject to any clear benefit that they exist. Still… I persist. It’s an ugly, hateful system that preys on the weak, robs the poor, and penalizes the outspoken.

On the other hand, when I lift my head from Facebook, and put down the new media’s aggressive outrage-generating machinery, and interact directly with the world, I find myself connecting with a lot of other people who, just like me, are angry and unwilling to sit down and shut up about it. I’ve unhesitatingly ended friendships over the past two years solely because I was not inclined to participate in hate. (I’m not seeking praise for that; I have things to atone for over a long life. I will not reach the end of this journey able to say “I never hated anyone and always did my best and cared for my fellow travelers”, and I often find myself so very angry.) I see other people – real people – who actually care. I don’t mean grand gestures that demonstrate with big obvious public actions that we need to care. I don’t mean running for office or protesting in the streets. Those things are needed, too, but… I mean, I see every day people helping each other out, being kind, offering support in a difficult moment, expressing affection, sharing… those things give me hope. There aren’t enough of those things. There’s a lot of fucking hate.

So, I put aside Facebook this morning, resolving to log off social media for the weekend and get some digital downtime. The world can wait on my anger for some other day. I need some rest and I need to recharge and take care of the being of light resting within this fragile vessel.

My heart feels heavy when I think of women who won’t have healthcare forced to bear children they don’t want, on poor timing, because their consent is not sufficiently respected, or who don’t have easy access to birth control. I think of women and girls who could turn the world around with scientific breakthroughs, improvements in technology, great works of engineering, art, or philosophy who lose their opportunity through a willful institutionalized lack of basic respect. I think about women of color. I think about women in poverty. I think about mentally ill women. I think about the woman in the mirror. It feels like a very personal attack on me as a woman every time I see some smug rich geriatric white asshole in office smirking over something else he’s just done or said that diminishes women. If I say so, I get called angry. Fuck yes, I’m angry. Why wouldn’t I be? Do the simple thought exercise; turn the tables in any direction you choose, change the balance of power and put yourself at a chronic institutionalized legislated disadvantage – however you identify yourself, in whatever class or group – make sure you add a hearty helping of no one takes you seriously about that, so you can be both frustrated and demeaned, and take that shit for a test drive. No heroics, make it real. Is it too hard? Well, too bad – at least you get to choose whether to think about it.

Privilege being what it is, I find it hard to see my own. I’ve been making an effort to really really try – because it matters, and because hate is so pervasive, and those who hate tend to be so fucking self-righteous, justified and self-congratulatory about it. I want no part of hate.  I study. I listen. I mean, I really full fucking stop take time to listen. It can be hard to hear that I share characteristics with a “problem class of individuals” being both white, and at a point in my life when most of my basic needs are relatively well-met. It’s still necessary to listen, and to understand, and to be part of changing the world.

I’m sure old rich republican white guys think they’re doing women who rely on Planned Parenthood a real favor – go ahead, ask them, they will shove some line of clueless bullshit your way so fast you’ll need an army of fact-checkers on meth to sort that shit out in time to stop some internet troll from climbing on board to turn it into “news”. I’m not immune to being human, and I know I can, will, and do make mistakes that have the potential to hurt people… but I don’t want to be someone insensitive to the impact of my choices on the world around me. Caring matters. Compassionate awareness matters. Acknowledging mistakes matters.  I mean… I killed a spider this morning… as killings go, fairly inconsequential and commonplace… but… I bet it seemed like a big deal to that fucking spider. :-\ I think I’ve come some distance as a human being, from the point at which I started life; I have mixed feelings about killing that spider.

Wow. Start the morning with angst-y angry ranting? Why, yes thanks, I think I shall. <sigh> All too human. I think I’ll have a second coffee… and begin again. 😉

Thrown off balance and freaked out by what you are seeing in the news? I get it. Scary.  Seriously, though, however hard “now” is, however scary and rocked to your core you feel in this moment, breathe. Just that – breathe. Stay with that until you begin to feel settled (don’t keep checking, as though watching water to boil, just breathe and let the process unfold). Be aware of your body. Take a moment, and just be. Struggling with it? Begin again.

Some moments are hard. Crazy hard. Chaos can be terrifying, and most particularly when it catches us by surprise. Breathe through it. Don’t fight it. Just breathe. Take a moment. Get the oxygen you need to live. Feel the tension in your body and start letting that go. You can. There are some verbs involved. (Notice that “breathe” is a verb.) This too shall pass. No kidding. Change is. (You faced change to get to this moment, here.)

A change of perspective can be really helpful.

A change of perspective can be really helpful.

It’s hard to turn away from the political mayhem, even briefly. Those of us who care deeply, and feel great compassion for others directly affected by the hate and xenophobia and greed of the incoming administration – as well as the sheer incompetence due to lack of any relevant experience – are frightened and frustrated – what do we do to make things right? What can we do to help?  Others, driven less by compassion and more by fear, or hate, or greed, are likely also feeling disrupted and stressed out to see associates they didn’t understand would object, protest, or refuse to participate. suddenly rising up in organized protest, literally everywhere, and even calling people out for being racists, haters, bigots, and just basically completely vile, instead of quietly tolerating it. Families are torn apart by partisan bickering and refusal to communicate in a rational way. Whole industries are thrown off course by the weird hailstorm of executive orders spewing forth from a seemingly unhinged Washington. It’s understandably hard to look away… but… now and then, for sanity’s sake, you must. You’ve got to also take care of you. This isn’t going to be a short journey, and we need every decent human being to endure, and carry on… And you need you, too, so very much.

Embrace a peaceful moment. Breathe. Repeat.

Embrace a peaceful moment. Breathe. Repeat.

Take a minute and breathe. Have a coffee with a like-minded friend. Relax with a book, or a few moments of quiet. Watch the birds. Play with your kids. Go for a walk. Something that gives your heart a moment of ease, pleasure, and even joy. You need it to keep you going; we’ve got to pace ourselves for the long fight. It’s revolution, now, you see. Change is coming.

I’ll probably avoid saying much else about all of this. I’d like to focus my writing on more positive things – the practices that work, the day-to-day eye-opening moments that push me forward on life’s journey, things revealed, and baggage set by the wayside. I have already learned the lesson that when I focus on nothing but the pain, nothing but the challenges, nothing but the fears, my life becomes a painful, challenging, fearful place to endure my mortal time. I’ve grown beyond that, generally; it’s taken miles of walking, hours of practicing, and the slow incremental changes over time that result from doing my best moment to moment to be the person I most want to be. We become what we practice.

We become what we practice. Think about that. There’s nothing there that says “don’t be angry” – and there are things worth being angry about – but being angry, over time, without a break for good self-care and moments of joy, we become anger, and unable to experience our lives in its absence, unable to view content through any other lens. Be sure to take a break from anger, from outrage, from fear – there are other things to be. Don’t forget to be Love. ❤

He has his own agenda.

He has his own agenda.

This morning I woke feeling much better than yesterday, happily over being sick. A crow called to me from the tree top beyond the studio window with a stern reminder that the world beyond includes more moments that those being endlessly revisited, repeated, and recylced in the news. I linger over my coffee, bird-watching. I leave writing for later. Yoga, meditation, a lovely chat with my Traveling Partner, and the weekend’s housekeeping all seem more important, this morning, than the news; I’ve already read it once, you see. The rest is repetition, and there are healthier things to put on repeat. 🙂

Today is a good day to be. Today is a good day to breathe. Today is a good day for verbs. Today is a good day to ask “how can I help most?” and do that thing. Be in this moment. Be who you are. It’s enough.

I got off work yesterday in a good mood, tired, enthusiastic about the walk through town and over the bridge at twilight, and looking forward to a quiet evening at home. The commute wasn’t merely uneventful, it was also a miracle of coincidence and great timing. I arrived home, still smiling.

Some enchanted evening...

Some enchanted evening…

What follows is a cautionary tale about emotional health.

As I waited for dinner to cook, not wanting to wander off or be distracted, I picked up my phone, and opened my news feed. I noticed there seem to a be lot of articles about hate, hate crimes, and the general mistreatment of human beings toward one another. I dove right in and read one, then another, and another… over minutes, I read several. I was also cooking, and pretty focused on that. As minutes passed, I found myself no longer smiling. Feeling somewhat discontent. Generally a bit aggravated. A few minutes further on, I was feeling annoyed. Irritable actually. I sat down with dinner, finding fault with small things that typically don’t bother me at all. (Damn, are the guys next door going to be so noisy all evening? Seriously? Is that a leaf on the floor from where I came in, earlier??)

I ate my dinner in a mood of aggravation and discontent. It seemed a mysterious change, and it was some minutes before I connected my roiling stew of negative emotions looking for a fight with reading the news some time earlier. Then I did make the connection. I put down my device. I tidied up the dinner dishes feeling a bit thoughtful and pre-occupied. Had I really made a point of willfully turning a lovely mood sour by my own hand? What was I thinking? I sigh, recognizing the temptation of turning my negative emotions on myself, rather than helping myself into a better emotional place with at least the same effort I brought to wrecking the pleasant mood I was in, in the first place; it’s easier to be hard on myself than it is to change.

I gave the news a rest, and renewed my commitment to not treating myself so badly in the first place. News retailers are in business, and business is focused on profit, and what is profitable is holding consumer attention, and what holds consumer attention is… outrage. Yep. We gobble up news about hate, about fear, about the outrageous and “what is wrong with the world” – and then wonder why we’re angry, outraged, or frightened. We’re some fancy fucking primates – not all that smart about some things, but damn, we’re fancy. We write news, put it in front of other primates, sell what we can – and write more of that. Think about that for a minute – if the point is sales, and profitability, and what sells are the stories about hate, doesn’t it seem quite obvious that more stories about hate will be written? I’m not saying that the world isn’t full up on hate these days, but I am saying that whether or not it were, if stories about hate are what sells the most views, clicks, and subscriptions, then aren’t there going to be just a whole bunch more stories about hate? To read. To be consumed. To set an impression of the world we live in, generally?

I put myself in a gentle time out and spent much of the evening meditating. It was a significant improvement over reading the news. I ended the evening feeling soothed and balanced. Hate in the world is not eased or relieved by fear, or anger, or more hate. Awareness that hate in the world is an issue is something to cultivate, but succumbing to it myself is to be avoided. That seems practical and obvious (to me). I don’t need to read even one more article about some human being treating another badly “because Trump” – I am aware that human beings mistreating each other is a problem. It was a problem before the election, and it will likely continue to be a problem after the next four years is behind us; some people choose some really vile verbs. Hate exists. Fear exists. Anger exists. People having those experiences are probably having them in fashion that seems justified, reasonable, or even appropriate to them in the moment. There are some hateful things going on. There are some scary circumstances (and scarier people) in the world. There are good reasons to be angry, and things worthy of being angry about.  It remains a worthy endeavor to treat people well, nonetheless – including the person in the mirror.

This morning I woke to the alarm. A new day. A chance to begin again. I don’t start with the news. I renew my commitment to myself to choose what I read with great care. Sensational headlines get my attention; that’s why they work, that’s why they are written that way. It’s generally enough to read the headline, sass it silently, and move on. Advertising and color commentary masquerading as actual news can be distracting – and emotive. I remind myself to avoid it. Hell, at some point, continuing to read and reread the same tired bullet points spread across media outlets, being used to stoke new outrage and keep reader engagement high, actually takes time away from taking action on causes that matter… in some cases, the very causes that are so engaging to read about. (How many news stories have you read about DAPL? Have you taken a leave from work to get out there and help? Donated money? Written letters to congress? Any verbs at all – or just reading along? How about the lead in the drinking water in Flint, Michigan? Local homelessness? Foreign wars? Just saying; there’s plenty in the world that could use some well-chosen verbs.)

I’ll point out that all the same choices and practices that soured my mood could be made more selectively, more skillfully, and used to build a great mood from a bad one: intellectual distraction, investment in a specific emotion by choosing experiences that tend to reinforce and enhance it, repetition, and mindfully engaging that emotional experience deeply.

Today is a good day to put down the news, set aside the outrage machinery, and choose some verbs. If the point of life is to live it… why would I be spending my precious limited lifetime reading the news, anyway? 😉

I woke far too early, but wasn’t awake for long. Well, sort of. I woke coughing, almost choking, “on dust”. My throat was dry and scratchy. I looked at the clock, it was 3 am, one of those difficult to call bits of timing… Stay up? Go back to sleep? I took my morning medication and gave going back to sleep a try, pretty certain I’d be up in a few minutes. I may or may not have been asleep when the alarm went off; it came as no surprise, and did not startle me. I feel rested, I woke quite easily, if I was actually sleep. It’s sometimes hard to tell with me – I sometimes dream I am awake. lol

My traveling partner beat me to wakefulness this morning. His greeting was waiting for me when I picked up my phone. It was a lovely few minutes of conversation to share and start my morning, once I had replied.

I refrain from looking at the news; it has become a cesspool of hate, deceit, treachery, disappointment, and did I mention the hate? Ick. I’m also generally staying away from Facebook, even making a practice of logging out if I do access it at all. I removed it from my phone; I have to make a specific effort to check it, which includes reinstalling it, and logging in. This is not a “head in the sand” manuever; I am taking care of myself, and the surge in hatefulness is hard to bear witness to with regularity. So. Less of that. Less of all of that.

I’m not ignoring the hate, I really can’t. It’s not okay at all. I just make my stand quite publicly in everyday situations, every day. Giving up my seat on the bus to the pregnant woman who the other commuters are making an obvious point of ignoring. Saying out loud “Ma’am, would you like to take this seat? I see that the younger commuters don’t realize how difficult maintaining your balance would be, pregnant on a moving train” or sitting down next to a young woman who some creepy dude is intruding on, and making light conversation until he moves away, or gets off the train, or intervening in creep-tacular moments of weird with a firm “hey, that’s not okay, and it needs to stop” out loud, quite audibly, and no nonsense, directly to the person being objectionable, eye-contact free of charge. No heroics, I’m just pretty fed up with hateful bullshit, and at a point in life where I am fairly fearless about calling it out.

In the simplest terms, I’m no “bystander” – this is my life. If I don’t like hateful bullshit, it’s important to explicitly object to it. Every time. Tolerance is not an appropriate reaction to the mistreatment of others.

Just a reminder how pointless it really is to blame the incoming individual (for the role of president) for all the hate and rudeness in the land. He may have given it branding and explicit approval, but he’s not the cause; all the same things that cause it everywhere else cause it in him as well. We make it right by making it right. We right the wrongs by righting the wrongs. We end our silence by speaking up. It’s a very good time to practice treating others well, and learning that treating ourselves can’t be at the expense of others. Attempting to treat oneself well at the expense of others, or at the expense of the world, rather misses the point of treating anything well at all.

I'll make a point to stop to appreciate beauty, too.

I’ll make a point to stop to appreciate beauty; it is one way I treat myself well, and also very much worth doing. So many verbs!

I’ll spend the rest of the morning preparing for the day, meditating on loving kindness, practicing the practices that improve my quality of life in each moment, building a more resilient, emotionally intelligent woman to face in the mirror each morning. It’s a good morning for that. It’s a good day for kindness. It’s a good day to be the change I want to see in the world.