Posts Tagged ‘nonviolence’

a long walk

And, it hasn’t been in the park, Gentle Reader.  This year has been a doozy all the way around.  Things I thought were “solid” disappeared like a drop of water on a hot stove.  The reality of reality has come into total question, but! in spite of how it appears, progress may still be made.

The election here has, of course, pretty much turned things ass over teakettle, with More to Come.  It’s an absolutely terrifying prospect but it is real- even if it is based  on lies and untruths and unkindness, and marketing.

Someone asked me recently if  I had any way of detaching from  the ego when things get heated in the process of trying to figure out if our fellow beings are actually Being Asshats on Purpose or By Accident.  And really.  What DO you do when someone next to you says and does things that seem not just out of character but actually dangerous for the well being of all?

I confess I stayed in my pajamas for a while this go round.  I hid, let’s just be honest.  Then, I baked, which always helps.  And I thought about what actually transpires when Things Go Sideways Between People, along with politically and philosophically streaking over the edge so fast you may forget what you were looking at.  It is, I think, that we become affixed to our ATTITUDES and EMOTIONS to the point that we think they are us.  At this point nothing can really be accomplished and it would be nice if there were some giant bell that rang and made us go back to our stools in the corner.  The thing of it is, then, to install that bell yourself.   You feel your temperature rising to a certain level, along with the sensation of whatever you’re dealing with being impossibly stupid and wrong.  Before you know it, you may find yourself doing something like…yelling.  Using profanity.  Etc.  THAT’S when you ring that bell, take a breath, and STOP.  What is it you really want here?   Vanquishing your “opponent” and being proved right? Usually not the most possible of options.  Besides which, then what?  So.  What you want is more than likely not to feel the discomfort you’re feeling about whatever it is.  A wish that is more than likely shared by the person you’re encountering.  Not to feel the fear and sense of being ignored.  Not, in an even bigger sense like say Standing Rock, to feel that the literal ground beneath your feet and the air you breathe is about to be rendered unrecognizable in its destruction.

Weirdly, or not, the answer is pretty consistently this.  After you STOP and BREATHE, you turn your focus to what would bring balance to the situation at hand in the now.  Detaching from the emotions is critical, especially since in heated situations, emotions tend to run together between people like molten lava and everyone is feeling all of it. This is not capitulation to something you believe is wrong, but a stance of allowing vision.  You may, in fact, not prevail.  You may even die depending on the circumstances.  However, without accepting abuse from someone, you can still rise above whatever emotional turmoil there is, and see what the middle way  of the moment may be.  This is in the direction of Positive Good.  Generally this involves seeing what everyone involved actually WANTS.   This is obviously difficult in a large setting but it isn’t impossible.  When concensus cannot be reached, it is important to remember that YOU can bring peace to a situation by your OWN peace, and you can work with the others you find on the edges of things to effect larger shift.  Yes, this can take a long time- but the more one can stay grounded in breathing and as much clarity as possible the more actual positive stuff can occur. On a personal level, I’ve found lately that looking someone in the eye, asking calmly what they’re FEELING and what they really want overall can be really helpful in moments where fisticuffs seem imminent.  It hasn’t changed my feeling of being surrounded by lizards in human suits altogether but it is allowing me to, at least, go outside.  I mean, I realize now that in many cases it’s just like pouring water on a rock.  The rock gets wet but nothing penetrates.  No communication, period.  It’s scary but allowing oneself to be overcome by fear and loathing makes it worse.  I’ve developed an almost reverse tactic of smiling at everyone now and it is a very interesting practice since, seemingly all of a sudden, a lot of people DO smile back, but many more do not and look downright suspicious: unauthorized smiling! What’s next?!?!

It turns out at this point that the “perennial wisdom” is still perennially wise.  In a world where greed seems to rule supreme, where narcissism is the order of the day and no crappy thing is left undone, it is still a good course to remember that one is not the absolute center of everything and many things have to be investigated and learned in order to have any kind of sensible concept of anything.  Feelings pass and what counts is what we do every day to improve our lives and those of our fellow beings by listening and doing what we all KNOW is the right thing: truly doing no harm.  Just because every thing and everybody else seems to have devolved doesn’t mean you have to as well- you can still tell the truth about how you feel and what you think, and lend your help to those who need it. Not overlooking the truth, but facing it.  Then things begin to rise.  Kind of like baking, when you think about it.  Thank you, Friends, as always.