Archives for posts with tag: no hate

I talk a lot about making choices. I remind myself to make a new beginning, regularly. I practice non-attachment with commitment and discipline. I let things go. I move on. There is a serious reason why these are important practices for me; I have survived a lot through these practices. These are not practices for small circumstances, though it is the mundane petty things that provide the opportunities to practice regularly. These are the practices for the big shit in life.

Marriages that dissolve – with small children involved; sometimes people have to literally choose to walk away from their children to save their own lives. That’s hard. I can’t at all imagine what that must feel like, although I’ve had friends and loved ones go through it.

Jobs that end unexpectedly – with no opportunity to continue in a field of expertise or passion; sometimes people have to choose to undertake something entirely different, from the very beginning, without wanting to at all. Been there a couple of times, myself.

Abusive relationships – sometimes with real love involved; sometimes people have to walk away (in spite of love) to save their own lives – from violence, mental illness, or a narcissistic, petty, spoiled, unremorsefully callous loved-one unable or unwilling to make changes. Too many of us go through some version of this experience, sadly.

Sometimes life throws some very adult shit our way, seemingly forcing us to choose between our life and well-being, and what we think we want, or think we have, or think we need. It’s not easy. Sometimes the better, saner, choice is to just let it go. Begin again. Choose differently.

To escape violence in my first marriage, I had to reach a point where I was willing to walk away from everything. My home. My “stuff”. My existing social network. My career. My community. It was a matter of literally saving my life. I didn’t have much in the way of good practices for such circumstances then; I got lucky and made some choices that favored my survival. I’m grateful for that – and every day that my arthritis pain reminds me how mortal I am, it also reminds me that I have survived hell, and I am okay right now. Powerful lessons.

It’s tempting to work at things we’ve invested our hearts in, well beyond any useful point in making that effort. It’s tempting to excuse, explain, troubleshoot, or try again (and again, and again…). Sometimes those aren’t our best choices. It’s hard to be sure when that is the case, in advance, and we can be easily stalled by doubt. It’s emotionally difficult to choose differently, to select “self-care” from life’s menu, and “quality of life”, and to walk on from something we earnestly value, even when it is wrapped in misery. A good starting point is a realistic look at whether the thing we are valuing, whether it is a job, a relationship, a circumstance, or a possession, is truly all we think it to be. Is it just a “soap bubble”? What matters most? Have that and be controlled by it? Let it go and be free? It’s a choice. A really fucking hard one.

Still, and again. The very best practices work that way.

Letting go doesn’t necessarily mean there is no later follow-up, and there may be other actions to be taken… ending a marriage likely requires a divorce, for example – that’s a process that has a beginning and (hopefully) an end, but the process follows the decision to let go. The choice to act precedes the actions. Lost jobs are generally followed by new jobs – or some other new option for living life. Abusive relationships are… complicated. The ending of such things can be filled with further trauma; it’s rare that an abuser wants that relationship to end, themselves, they are invested because they specifically benefit from it. Things can get ugly. Scary. Filled with fear. Filled with sorrow. Filled with panic. Letting go – non-attachment- is a broad and well-lit path to emotional freedom. We can’t be controlled by what we are willing to let go.

It’s not easy. I’m having to let go of a specific, warm, and charming retirement that seemed so real and imminent, in favor of… no idea yet, but realistically I have to be willing to acknowledge that it won’t be that. I’m having to let go of a promising-seeming relationship (less difficult that it might have been, because the person involved made a specific point of burning bridges by way of mistreatment) – always painful. The worst? I’m having to let go of 42 original works of (my) art that I have not yet been able to recover, and may actually be destroyed (39 small works on paper, 3 canvases). It’s fucking hard, but even to continue to pursue recovering them (which may require litigation), I need to let them go, at least inasmuch as I have to allow myself to move on from grieving the loss, or being attached to a specific outcome. Still fucking hard. This? This is why I practice some of the practices I do, though; when I need them, they are here for me, reliably.

The sky is still blue. ūüôā

I had a lovely weekend, in spite of the possible loss of 42 precious original works of art. No small feat, and I am smiling over my coffee, feeling wrapped in love and supported and cared for. (Seriously? It was like a vacation, crammed into one delicious day and night.) I am relaxed and ready for the work week. I’m grateful for my Traveling Partner. Grateful to have such wonderful friends. Grateful to be okay right now.¬† It’s a nice beginning to the week, whatever it holds.

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. ūüôā

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 am groggy this morning. As I scrolled through my feeds, skimming headlines, I felt a sad tug on my heart to see so much violence and hate. It’s hard to watch. Fear and anger escalating with the excessive media use of buzzwords and sensationalism to gain readers (and dollars), and more or less mostly innocent citizen bystanders (consumers) caught in that sticky web of emotion and salesmanship. I found myself actually feeling physically ill, and surprised by the intensity of my reaction – then realized I was probably nauseous from my medication this morning.

It is easy to be swept away by powerful emotions.

It is easy to be swept away by powerful emotions.

I heard footsteps run past my front door, which is unusual at any hour in this neighborhood, and somewhat alarming at 5:45 am. Combined with the negative headlines, I feel my anxiety creeping up, and ‘home defense’ drifts across my thought-scape. I recognize the trend, and pause for a few deep breaths, taking time to re-engage in ‘now‘; I am okay right now, and there is nothing in my real experience of the ¬†morning to cause me fear or hurt me. It’s pouring rain outside, and a stranger running by is likely just trying to get from the parking lot to the front door without being drenched. Fear doesn’t care about reason, and I find more often than not that taking time to be present in this moment right here, and awake, aware, and mindful there is nothing for fear to build on. There are plenty of terrifying ‘what-if’ scenarios I could run in my head, and even make life decisions on, but it seems a foolish waste of limited mortal lifetime, when there is also so much joy in which I could invest, and partake.

Violence does exist. Choosing not to live minute-to-minute defending myself from fear of violence is one of many possible choices. I have friends who choose differently, and live prepared for violence with an ample arsenal of firearms, open carry permits, and weekend visits to the range for target practice just in case violence ever visits them at home. I have other friends who choose to live with the fear of violence, and without taking any particular steps to secure their own safety, just taking on the fear itself, deepening and investing in it, and letting their fear drive their decisions and rhetoric. I have friends who do neither; they are not convinced that violence exists in any real sense, they have experienced little of it themselves and for them it is very far away and abstract. I know people, they are not those I would call ‘friend’, who live differently with violence; they are violent. People who¬†lash out in anger, seeking to do harm, to injure, to be avenged, to punish – they see themselves as righteous and justified, doing what is ‘right’ or ‘necessary’, and don’t recognize the damage done as being in any way wrong. I see them out in the world, snarling at their loved ones on cell phones, or on the bus, spewing righteous anger and vexation in interactions with strangers – people they couldn’t possibly know well enough to hate – and treating their loved ones even worse. The headlines tell the tale of each of the many sorts of human beings interacting with each other. Violence added to the mix generates sales headlines. Scary sort of world we’ve built, isn’t it? We’ve chosen this. You and I – all of us together – this is the world we have made.

How will I make the world better, myself, in some small way? How will you? If enough of us just keep at it, can we turn this thing around? It probably begins with small simple things, like not yelling at your partner in a moment of anger, or like really listening when a woman is talking about the challenges in her experience of being female, or like taking a deep breath and not freaking out when something goes wrong, and maybe also putting down the handheld devices and making eye contact – and conversation. Setting aside the inflammatory news articles might also be a good start, and maybe sharing positive news more often than negative news could be helpful, too. We could cast our vote with great care, really thinking about the consequences of our choice, by thinking ahead to ‘our’ candidate winning, and imagining the reality of every one of their stated policies becoming real – what would that be like for us? For those people over there? For someone else? We could fact check our fears, too, that might be useful, and refrain from getting into emotionally driven arguments with people when neither involved party has an educated insight into the issues, rather than just spewing emotional garbage at each other until someone gets hurt. We could approach every interaction with another human being as though that other human being is (they are) every bit as human as we are, ourselves – and fully due the same consideration and courtesy we would enjoy experiencing, and then behave that way. We could each simply not kill someone today, or tomorrow, and also refrain from voting for – or hiring – people who seem to favor violence, killing, or incarceration as a solution to the world’s problems. We could invest more of our global resources in human life, than in ending it¬†– both right here and home, and over there on foreign shores.

Domestic violence is not a separate thing from war. Child abuse is not a separate thing from terrorism. Hate is hate. Fear is fear. Abuse of power isn’t less abusive when it is between a parent and a child than it is between an elected leader and the constituency, or between law enforcement and a citizen – but we’ve trained ourselves to excuse so much violence in the day-to-day social landscape that we are ill-equipped to reject it at all. Enraged screaming, slamming things, and breaking stuff at home is not a far distance to travel to murder – and tolerating it socially by making excuses for¬†domestic violence is not a far distance to travel to sending strangers children to die in foreign wars by voting for fear-mongering xenophobic extremists. Seriously. We are each so very human… Fear is easy. Anger is easy. Hate is easy. We have the potential to offer each other so much more. Choose. You can, and so can I – and we do.

This seems glum this morning. I don’t mean it to, honestly. I feel rather hopeful – the very power to choose that finds us here with the world in the state it is, ¬†is so profoundly powerful that we have each moment, this moment,¬†every moment, to choose differently. I guess that while that is indeed incredibly hopeful and promising, it’s a tad glum too, because the people who could¬†benefit the world by choosing differently than they do are not likely to be the people who read the words I write – and I am just one voice. I am regularly cautioned that I am ‘not being realistic’ or that I ‘don’t understand violence’ – often based on the assumption that I have little experience with it. It’s frustrating – sometimes frustrating enough to evoke actual anger, a powerful reminder of how easily we could be tempted to¬†stray into the realm of violence ourselves, in a moment of emotion.

Be love.

Be love.

Here’s the thing though, the hopeful bit, we really do have the power to choose change. It’s a good day to change the world.