Last week I posted photographs of fabric fraying with this quote: “Once the fabric of a just society is undone, it takes generations to weave it back together.” —Deepak Chopra
Well, it sure sparked some interesting dialogue. Right now, I do feel that it could potentially take generations to weave our society back together. However, as a rather optimistic realist…I wholeheartedly believe we can. Don’t we all want to feel safe, loved, connected and purposeful? What if we focused on our similarities, not our differences? Threads.
Humans need threads—tight, loose and in-between to other people, places and groups. How we choose to connect our threads is up to us individually.
Are we going to weave from a place of FEAR or LOVE?
When we’re anxious or fearful we tend to look outside of ourselves to make sense of our feelings. It’s so much easier to scan for someone or something else to blame than to be self-reflective and take responsibility for our emotions and actions. I would sooooo much rather blame someone else than acknowledge my own bullshit. I’m working on it. It’s a process.
Right now, it seems to me that politics are filling some sort of identity gap where other threads should be continually and carefully woven.
WHY? Why now?
Our party affiliation won’t ever bring us homemade soup when we’re sick, pick up a middle-of-the-night call when we’re in distress or just show up, even when we don’t understand what we actually need ourselves.
Last night I awakened at 12:45am in a sweat with my heart racing. In my dream, I threw the discus so poorly in the competition that I blanked out my final five throws. I was being consoled by fellow senior athletes and we were laughing our asses off, sharing stories of our epic failures.
So, with my fear of total failure subconsciously out of the way, I now have to prepare myself to do my best. YIKES! Failure, I’m pretty comfortable with (especially as an artist, things fall apart all the time), success and having to put my money where my mouth is, I find far more daunting.
WHAT IS FEAR TO YOU?
Fear isn’t always to be stuffed away and avoided. Try inviting fear in, get curious about what it’s trying to tell you? It may a gift to you so you can see what needs to be confronted in your life.
NOTE: Today, I’m going to the rattlesnake museum. I’m am so afraid of snakes, I thought it might be a great way to prepare to compete tomorrow.
This hasn’t been my favorite year of my life-loss, sorrow, transition, cut-off, illness and so on. However, I’ve learned a lot and I’m proud of my resilience. We have to remind ourselves (often) of all the times we made it through life’s many challenges.
We are so much stronger than we think.
For inspiration, the spirit of my Dad and I are heading out to the track and field complex at UNM to watch the finals in the sprints. The first race is the 90-104-year-old women and the 50-meter race. Damn, if that isn’t inspiring, what is?
“This world of ours…must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be, instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect.”
—Dwight D. Eisenhower
“Fear in America”—mixed media • layered digital image—2018
If all thoughts are creative & inform our reality, then noticing our thoughts must be a survival skill of sorts. We can see our though patterns emerge by paying attention. I think about this, I feel hopeful. If I think about this, my heart races. If I think about this, I feel rage. We don’t have to stuff our negative emotions, they’re trying to tell us something. It just means asking questions about why these particular thoughts are so front and center right now. WHY?
Here’s my noticing list from this morning…6 to 8am.
MUSIC & HEART: My husband plays Summer’s End by John Prine on the guitar. Today, there was a story in the NEW YORK Times about this gorgeous song. Jeff watched the video through the eyes of a father. I watched through the eyes of a child. Summer’s End video & lyrics
DEFINE: I learn something when I look up the definitions even of common words.
- FEAR/transitory adjective—1.to be afraid of 2. to have a reverential awe of
- OTHER/adjective—1. not the same 2. different
- EQUAL/adjective—1. like for each member of a group, class or society
THOUGHTS ON GRIEF: Elizabeth Gilbert from the Brain Pickings Newsletter.
“People keep asking me how I’m doing, and I’m not always sure how to answer that. It depends on the day. It depends on the minute. Right this moment, I’m OK. Yesterday, not so good. Tomorrow, we’ll see.”
INSPIRATION: An 18-year-old delivery guy at Steve’s Pizza in Battle Creek, Michigan does something so full of heart. Steve’s Pizza story on CNN
ALL POLITICS ARE LOCAL: South Dakota’s democratic gubernatorial candidate, Billie Sutton was on Morning Joe today. www.suttonforsd.com
I believe that differing viewpoints bring dynamic ideas to our challenges whether in our civic, social or private lives.
A fork in the road indeed for the good people of the 605.
I think our civilization clearly depends upon finding some middle ground. I know my own family isn’t talking as much because of the polarized political climate. We may be reaching a tipping point of sorts, at least that’s what it feels like to me. I’m hopeful that we can shift course. I believe in the goodness of our shared humanity.
MIDDLE GROUND; a standpoint or area midway between extreme or opposing positions, options, or objectives (Merriam Webster)
We are living in unprecedented times. A time of chaotic polarity in our civic lives. The lack of middle ground is causing stress to the many systems we all operate in; family, community, government and work. My husband and I are trying to hold some middle ground and manage the stress and anxiety in our home. We’re listening to our children and trying to offer counterpoints to the dizzying array of sound bites & headlines out there fighting for our attention every minute of every day.
I don’t think I’ve hidden my politics from anyone, however, my moderation might be surprising. Labels are easier for all of us than asking questions or being curious about the WHY of someone’s beliefs. We’re ALL guilty of not asking questions and making too many assumptions about others.
We can’t really be heard if we aren’t willing to listen too.
My politics were left leaning before I left conservative Sioux Falls College (now the University of Sioux Falls) in 1988. For my family it was easier to blame my democratic husband who hailed from Massachusetts than to believe I was an outlier. My first experience out of college was to move to New Zealand and work at a non-denominational Christian Radio Station (Radio Rhema) http://www.rhema.co.nz/. My friends were from all over the world and it was fascinating. I actually met the King of Tonga. I heard stories from so many unique perspectives and experiences. This time in my life greatly shaped my personal beliefs. Travel made the world seem quite small in some ways, completely accessible and ready for exploration.
I consider myself proudly American AND a global citizen. My early travel opportunites had a big affect on my choices. It eventually led me to Burlington, Vermont, where I’ve lived since New Year’s Day 1990. Our community is rich with diversity and I feel it’s been quite an education for myself and my family.
My daughters have friends from all over the world (including Muslim children, many who spent time in refuge camps). They’ve heard interesting stories since early elementary school from their classmates. This is simply our family’s circumstance of living in Burlington, Vermont. I acknowledge that not having contact with people of various nationalities, who dress, speak, and worship differently can make people more fearful. I do understand this from growing up in rural South Dakota AND I don’t pretend to understand what other people feel about this issue. I’m only speaking from my own experience.
When I wrote and asked about the opposite of FEAR last week there were so many thoughtful responses; acceptance, curiosity, love, hope, community and Mark P. wrote; “ACTIONABLE FAITH is the opposite of fear.” I love the idea of actionable faith and that sounds a lot like curiosity to me.
Right now in American life, it’s seems convenient to align ourselves with our political teams and operate in MOB MENTALITY. Reciting talking points from the side we’ve taken without listening isn’t real dialogue and won’t ever promote deeper understanding.
The significantly more challenging and intellectually exhausting space is to take a breath, listen to your own thought and those of others and try to find some middle ground. It’s really uncomfortable to differentiate ourselves and our views when it puts us at odds with our team or the people we care about. Uncomfortable, but really necessary.
America, our democracy is calling.
Let’s get curious about each other.
I went to bed last night wondering what is the opposite of FEAR. Nothing came to mind immediately for me, or nothing that seemed exactly right anyway.
This is hardly an original ponderable on my part, but I wanted to research and see what resonated the most for me. You won’t believe how much comes up on a google search on this topic. Here are a few others: hope, love, bravery, courage, faith, trust, fearlessness, gallantry, unconcern, audacity, calm…and many more.
Out of all of the answers I thought and read about, I landed on CURIOSITY. When I feel most fearful, the more I know the less fearful I am. When I thought about the other possibilities, curiosity kept bubbling up again and again.
I’m curious (of course) about what you think is the opposite of FEAR for you?
Please let me know, let’s start a dialogue.
“I’m big because I’m connected to the universe, and the universe is connected to me.” —Neil deGrasse Tyson
We are all BIG. We can all affect big CHANGE even in the life of one other being. We are so much bigger than this election. We are bigger than we can possibly imagine. The hardest part is BELIEVING this is so. WE can solve the biggest issues before us and our families, it’s not our government. It’s not ONE person. It’s US. It’s ALL of us working together. The AMERICAN SPIRIT has proven this over and over.
We all want to THRIVE and to do so it takes TEAMWORK.
SEEK LOVE, BEAUTY & KINDNESS TODAY.
We’re all going to be just fine, no matter what the headlines are tomorrow.
Everywhere we look in the world we see things “going to hell in a hand basket” because it gets views, clicks, headlines, sells advertising and makes money.
It’s a bummer that things going well doesn’t generate nearly the BUZZ in our culture as distasteful deeds, disaster and destruction. It also is a self-fulfilling thought cycle.
OUR BRAIN SAYS: “I’ve been told things are very bad—so I will vigilantly look for ways to confirm this bias over and over.”
Whatever we choose to give the most attention to is what will grow and grow and dominate our thoughts.
Can you imagine if our news and political discussion every day/all day was filled with stories of remarkable acts of generosity, compromise and courage?
Of course there are times in our lives when very challenging events and situations require a lot of thought and energy. However, if we stay in that place when we things have settled down—it will no doubt adversely affect our health and our relationships.
So, why do it? We all get addicted to ways of thinking…just like any other addiction. Unfortunately, there isn’t a quick fix for long practiced patterns of thought. However, if we start to notice we just might be able to self correct this negative pattern of thinking a little tiny bit at a time. If we all try focusing on the good things in our a lives a tiny bit more—we might just start a thought revolution.
Hey, it’s worth a shot, huh?
Fear limits our options & choices, constricts our breathing and makes us feel like crap.
Love makes us feel expansive, gives us options & choices and makes us feel great.
Every moment of every day we’re given a choice.
“Love is what we are born with.
Fear is what we learn.”