Sunday, February 26, 2017
Well it seems lately we are all being given opportunities to test our skills in centering, releasing, and walking our talk. We are also being given the chance to brave our fears. As I often tell people there is no need to seek challenges, life shall provide them free of charge.
As I look back on my life I am sad to say that one of the greatest shaping forces has been fear. It has been the reason for not speaking up, not joining in, pulling away from others, and for not boldly pursuing my dreams. Beneath my calm seeming exterior there is often a battle raging to maintain my mellow. I get very upset when people set out to harsh my mellow. Don't harsh my mellow, I'll take it personally and I'm patient. (See I can employ fear too).
What I have noticed in this past year or so is the heightening of fear to epic proportions in our culture. With social media, a twenty four hour news cycle, and Neo-nazis in the White House, there is plenty of reason to be anxious. Yet let's be honest, we've had a love affair with fear for quite some time. To be fair fear is useful. It warns us of danger and prompts our fight or flight systems to get us out of trouble. For the past sixteen years though fear has overruled any reason or argument in the United States. Any time we are about to try and reclaim some of our surrendered liberties, the invocation of, "But the terrorists will get us if we don't let government shred the Bill of Rights,", is trotted out to the masses. Once home of the free (if you were a white male that is) is now the leader in prison populations, and we're asking travelers about their religion as they enter the country. Now some people will sound a call to arms about radical Islam, but where is the cry against radical white Christians that bomb abortion clinics or gun down people of color in their own houses of worship? Imagine if the police or border patrol was asking you if you were Muslim, now maybe you think it's alright because there are terrorists that claim that as their religion, but what if they were asking you if you were a Jew? Is that alright? What if the police started asking what political party you belonged to? Is that okay with you?
I'm sorry to be political, really I am that's not what I want my blog to be about. There are plenty of bloggers that are more qualified to talk politics, but the climate we have showing up in our politics right now is one of fear. Fear has been force fed to us since the dawn of this millennium. Sure there were scary things that happened, but then we just went bat shit crazy with them. We have actually created an environment through our reactions and overreach where we are more likely to experience the things we fear. This didn't happen overnight. We allowed ourselves to wallow in our terror and lead us by the nose. We allowed the loud voices to overpower the voices of reason. We allowed compassion to be gagged, while we stoked our anger to quell our fears. Of course what we have now are angry scared people, quite a lot of them.
Mindful of patterns I see the way history's wheel is turning, and I am making sure I can get out before we start building public "showers" for our detainees. Perhaps I am being led by my own fears there, but I am reminded of something the Tai Chi Grandmaster used to say, "Fear is a tremendous servant, but a lousy master." It's a sound motivator for sure. If you see me running I'm not working out, I'm evading danger. In this it serves me, but if I am always running I will eventually collapse. Fight or flight is only for immediate threats. We have adopted it as our entire strategy for moving through the world. We are building walls, while our roads and bridges crumble. We are provoking other nations instead of building partnerships. We are abusing the migrants, while produce rots in the fields. We are afraid and looking for an enemy to project it upon so we can exterminate that fear. We have been so conditioned by the power structures to be in a constant state of anxiety that many of us never even stop to see if our scapegoats make sense anymore.
I think we've been afraid of the wrong things. We've been afraid of the other coming to destroy us, while ignoring the enemy within ourselves. The terror of uncertainty that rules us has come to collect its harvest, and we're it. We've become the terrorists, because fear is what we now spread. There is such a loud angry part of me that wants to lash out and attack, but that of course is what is expected. That which you oppose, you uphold. Anger and fear go together. We feed one to suppress the other. It is okay to be afraid, but it is not a good place to make decisions from.
Why am I telling you this? Well so many of you are feeling the fear right now. You are angry at the direction we seem to be heading. I'm not saying don't be afraid or angry. I'm mad as hell right now, but I can't live in that space. We have to come out of the fear reaction and start thinking and feeling clearly again. We cannot let fear guide our hands or we will only create more fearful things. The world is scary enough as it is, it doesn't need us to help it along. We have to ask what kind of society do we want? Do we want a society that has police grabbing our genitals outside of restrooms because we're afraid of sexual assault from the people peeing in the next stall?
So what do we do? Well we have to start questioning everything. We have to decide if perceived safety really is working for us, or is it just a farce to keep us in bondage. We have to ask if we're coming from fear or compassion in our dealings with those different from ourselves. We have to ask what our ideals are, and are our actions lining up with them? This doesn't mean we don't pay attention to actual threats, but it does mean that threats don't get to live in our hearts and minds all day everyday. If we allow that seed of fear to germinate, it shall burst forth from our spirits in all manner of miserable harvests. So plant something else: curiosity, creativity, love, or wisdom. Then maybe we won't have to fear the reaper.
Peace and Blessings,