Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Unnecessary Battles

"You have power over your mind, not outside events. Realize this and you will find strength."

-Marcus Aurelius


Have you ever found yourself fighting a battle that doesn`t really need to be fought? There are so many things going on in the world that are examples of that. Fighting about gun laws, fighting about the right to abortion, fighting about who is the best team, or which is the best country, gun rights, or even who has the most power or the best way to accomplish something are fights that are happening now. Some of these fights have been going on for decades and some for millennium. Do these battles really accomplish something? Yet we continue those fights knowing they really cause more pain. We would rather be right than learn and communicate and compromise and be part of a solution. 

We can look at this in a global way or in a more personal way. It doesn`t matter which for the same dynamics apply no matter the scope of the fight. We hold so tightly to our way of thinking or responding without regard to the other. We have become so defended and those defenses don`t allow change or movement. In our world, there is so much pain. In our world, there is so much dysfunction. We keep the cycles of pain going through our actions and reactions, and most of our actions are directly from knee-jerk defended reactions to a word spoken, an action taken. We don`t and haven`t learned how to think and look inside before we act.

Recently another school was attacked by a gunman where many human lives were lost; including the gun mans. He was a young man, clearly suffering from a mental illness. Our country is engaged in a fight about the right to carry guns, and what guns we can carry, and so on. The elephant in the room is mental illness. Is the fight really about guns or is it more about us, humans, not wanting to give something up which we think has meaning to us. We may think the right to carry is an inalienable right. What does it mean to carry a gun? Is it about protection and about defending something in us? What if instead of fighting, we look inside at what we are feeling the need to defend? What in us feels so vulnerable and in so need of protection, to the detriment of other lives?

I know these are a lot of questions, but it seems to me important ones. We are in a relationship with others no matter how alone or lonely we feel. In making decisions which are solely about us and our wounds and in protecting us, we are forgetting the others. How do our actions affect others? How does the need for self-protection keep us from knowing and realizing that we all have the same needs? When we make such selfish unconscious decisions we are making ourselves, even more, lonely. We are also hurting us as well as others. 

In mental illness, when we suffer from young wounds in such a profound way as to tear us apart, we don`t know and haven`t learned what to others may look like simple tools and steps in our lives to take care of us. We don`t know how to take care of us or love ourselves. In our society, these days so much research has been done regarding chemical processes which occur and do not occur in our brains and in treating mental issues with drugs and chemicals that we are no longer able and trained to help our inner wounded parts to heal. We need to begin to look at us and others with compassion and we need people trained and able to plumb the depths in us and others and help others to locate old wounded parts and help them to integrate so we can live whole and vital lives. We need to learn how to treat those suffering from mental issues instead of farming them out and giving them drugs.

When I see incidents like the shooting in Oregon, like war in the Middle East, like our broken political system and so much more, I can`t help but to wonder when we will begin to look within and begin to do our work, each one of us, and to learn to love us and others, giving up our need to defend and to be right so that we can come together as one. Each one of us is important. Each soul is important; so much more so than being right, feeling alone, and hurting us and others. It is not about guns, it is about love.

Shift Your Story/Shift your Life

I was listening to public radio this morning as a journalist was interviewing a Chancellor of a reputable university her in the United States. A question was asked as to what they could do to help bring people more together; to bridge the civic gap. She answered that the arts are a great way to bridge such a gap. Working together for a common cause or goal brings everyone together. Doing so through projects, art, dance and creative wellsprings gives those involved a move greater and different perspective from which to work together. I heard this and was inspired. In this spirit of bridging gaps between peoples, what do you think you would or could do that bridges such gaps within yourself and with others? What are you interested in learning and pursuing which takes you beyond just yourself and into a world of creation?


Take a minute and write down a few ideas that come to you without censorship. Once you have at least one idea written, without over thinking it and starting to wonder and question yourself, write down two or three steps you could begin to take to make this happen for yourself. This means suspending, for just a few minutes, your inner critic.  Put this paper away and read it again tomorrow, and the next day, for 10 days, and see what happens inside you and how you begin to respond to what you have written. If you feel like sharing, I would love to hear.