We Have To Stop This Shit. All Of Us.

 

I have so much on my mind I don't even know where to start.  And let me say these are my OPINIONS. Facebook is not the best option first thing in the morning, especially with riots going on and another kid bringing a gun to school to do some damage.  I don't like this.  Any of it.  But what I don't like more is a lot of people using social media to post this or that article to support whatever their point-of-view is, and a lot of people talking about a situation they are not directly involved in.  I don't think "Just obey the cops" is gonna cut it any more.  It's fine when it's someone else, but what about when it's you?  And guns?  I don't like guns.  Guns are created for only one reason, and that is to kill things.  They may for a moment protect life, but that is not what they were created for.  Think about it.  A weapon solely designed to take the life of another living thing.  It kind of grosses me out even typing these words.  Now, that is not to say I don't like people with guns nor am I going to go crazy about abolishing guns.  But personally, they turn my stomach and I will never own one.  

The only time I have ever wanted to "hurt" anyone is when I was out of sync with me.  It had nothing to do with anyone else.  I did not value myself enough NOT to hurt someone else.  With me, it's mostly with words, my weapon of choice.  So now, I have learned to love me.  And as I have, my judgment of others becomes less and my compassion becomes more.  I don't need to hurt anyone to prove my worth.  I already know my own worth.  And so I do my best to use my words to share my experiences, what I have learned on this journey of life.  

You start with you and it spreads from there.  This is the only way we are going to stop this shit.  And it is shit.  Do you think the Creator enjoys us constantly battling and fighting out our temper tantrums with weapons, killing each other and hurting each other over and over again?  Someone or, in this case, a lot of someones, need to get skin in the game and stand up and stop it. And we are.  There are those who refuse to tolerate cruelty and unkindness in any form. I do my best to weed it out in me, and not put up with it in others.  If that makes me unpopular, so be it. I read comment after comment after comment of the blame game and it turns my stomach. We need to get beyond Democrat vs. Republican, gay vs. straight, black vs. white, men vs. women...you get the point? We HAVE to take responsibility for our own actions.  If you teach hate any any level, that is not okay, towards ANYONE. There's an old Cherokee quote that goes like this:

Whatever you feed, wins.  If you feed yourself on a steady diet of things like fear, jealousy, inadequacy, you cannot help but be that.  Garbage in, garbage out.  But, if you instead choose to feed yourself with the beauty of life, that comes out too.  The Bible says that, and I am sure other sacred religious texts do as well.  Feed yourself love, joy, humility, kindness.  This is the only way we end this.

Now I'm starting to get angry.  Starting to get upset at our ridiculous infighting as a human race.  There is so much beauty to be found in the diversity of our world.  It makes me sad that it is not safe for me to visit the Middle East.  I would love to experience their culture.  It makes me sad we think so little of life that we determine value based on gender, race, sexuality, religion...the list goes on and on.  One single quality defining a life.  Do you know what that is called? Objectification.  And once that sets in, violence is sure to follow because we have removed the humanity and so see that person as "other" not like.  A separation, and so violence comes easier.  I didn't come up with that, someone else did.  We use God as a bludgeoning tool against those who are not the same as us over and over again.  If you think about it, does that even make sense?  No.  Yes, it has been going on since the dawn of time.  But that does not mean we just need to sit back and let it continue.  I'm sick of it.

Unfortunately those in power have been consistently shown to be abusers of it.  Not always, but fairly consistently.  So, one might think it okay for now because it is not directly affecting you.  But when this comes directly to your doorstep, how are you going to handle it?  How will you teach your children to regard others?  Stop being so afraid of what you don't understand.  We are still so infantile as a race that often, instead of trying to learn, we want to squash something or someone because it's different or makes us uncomfortable.  We, as a human race, cannot live like this anymore.  I have learned to value all life, even if I don't understand it.  We need to get back to reverence for life.  And sure, there are people I don't like, or care to be around.  But maybe, just maybe, they are mirroring something to me I don't want to see in myself.  And so when we try to eradicate that, we are really trying to eradicate that in ourselves which we cannot accept.  

So I say embrace the dark and the light.  The dark can only be changed by illumination, bringing it out into the light and loving that piece.  Every person that is acting out has a dark part of themselves that is crying to be heard.  Are they handling it right?  Probably not.  But maybe that's the only way they know how, and maybe they feel like they have no choice.  But there is always another choice.  Seek to understand.  Find yourself in others.  Listen to learn, not reply or prove a point.  Don't retreat behind your walls of smug judgment.  Cultivate compassion.  Chances are, there will come a day when you will need it.  

LABELING

This is weighing on my mind today.  And so I have to write about it.  Labels.  Our society is run on them.  Black, white, rich, poor, police, civilian, man women, gay, straight, Christian, non-Christian, Jewish, Muslim...I could go on, but I think you get the point.  What's the biggest marketing message?  Branding.  

I am sick to death of it.  The only label I want to identify and associate with is a "human being".  Not a human doing, as my Dad says.  Because that is the label that matters, a human being.  And down deep, beneath our skin and our social status and our societal stigmas, that is what we are.  We all seek to be understood and accepted for who we are.  It saddens me that we as a human race have such a hard time getting there.  We want to be so different but in the end, we are all the same in our need for love and understanding.  

I do my best to take people as they come to me, regardless of the label they identify with, and then decide if I want to keep them in my life. I want to get below the anger, the emotion, the labels, down to what really matters, which is the person. I have known terrible white people, wonderful black people, horrible poor people, amazing and generous rich people.  Good cops, bad cops, terrible people who've never committed a crime in their life, and some pretty amazing "criminals", as defined by our societal labels. 

I understand why we label.  The ego seeks to understand what it does not know, and therefore labeling comes in handy to classify and keep everything tidy and reject everything that does not fit.  And so enters fear, the great divider of the human race.  Fear we won't get ours, or you will take mine.  But, we are missing EVERYTHING when we allow these labels to dictate our identity.  

I am an American. I am white.  I am a woman.  I am single.  And I am over 40 years of age.  There are certain labels and stigmas associated with all of the statements above.  But I don't listen.  And I don't care.  I am my own person, and I refuse to let others dictate who I am.  As a white person, I hear over and over again about a past I had nothing to do with.  As a woman, I hear "oh, you women, so complicated and emotional". As a single, I get asked over and over again, "Why no kids?  Why aren't you married?"  As an over 40-something, I hear "oh you can't do that, you're not getting any younger." People around the world hate Americans, so don't travel. I call bullshit on all of this.  If I choose to believe these things about myself, then I too am mired in the land of the ego and labels and run on fear. I have decided I will figure out things on my own.  None of this stuff is my identity.  I think people get attached to these labels because they have no idea who they are.  And it's always easier to identify with a group, because there is a perceived safety in it.    

We as humans have got to get below this.  Not above this, but below it.  Down to the humanity of ourselves, and each other.  It breaks my heart to think about how we as humans treat each other. If I recognize myself in another, and value them as much as I value myself, then this question of treatment based on a label, rather than a person, would never even be an issue.  And I would never, ever bring harm to another.  There is so much beauty in the world, in all different kinds of people, and we are missing this because we want to hide behind our labels.  Because we think they keep us safe.  

But they don't.  When death comes, and it will for all of us, no amount of money or power can stave it off.  We resist and resist and spent countless billions of dollars trying to elude death, instead of living and growing and taking in all the beauty of life there is while we are here.  We are all mortal, and nothing we do will ever change that.

I have seen death.  Death took my mom from me.  There has never been anything more terrifying before or since.  I understand anger at a tragedy that seemed senseless and unwarranted. But she taught me something so important.  She saw no labels.  She didn't care if you were homeless, a CEO or something in between.  She had this amazing ability to go straight to the core of a person, and get to their essence.  She understood the humanity in all of us.  Not everyone is so lucky to have had such a great teacher in their life.

And that is why I value life so highly.  Because I have watched it dissipate, as the last breath rattled from my mother's chest.  And so when a life is taken, my heart breaks.  On the physical level, we lose that soul.  Extinguished forever.  We, as humans, have got to stop leveling physical and emotional death blows to each other every time we turn around.  I am thinking very seriously on this and what I can do in my own life to bring harmony and peace to others.  I read a quote that said something like peace is not the absence of conflict, but creative solutions to it.  

It's not just about ending racism, that is a symptom of a larger problem.  It is about accepting and understanding our own selves first, and then moving out to others. When we are strong in ourselves, advocating for those who maybe don't know how or can't advocate for themselves becomes very easy.  It IS our responsibility, because we are humans, all of us.  We all have opportunities for this in our every day life, within our own friends and family, and to the world at large.  Every single interaction with a fellow human being presents us with an opportunity to share a bit of kindness and understanding.  And I would hope those ripples would begin to generate a torrent of kindness that would push back the sea of fear we are drowning in.