The Poverty of Us.
What is the poverty of our culture today? I am sure if we asked 10 people, we could get 10 different answers. Frankly you can ask 1 person 10 times and get different answers. More often than not, it turns into a finger pointing game and every player is full of intolerance.
So, I embarked on a journey to start understanding poverty of humans today. I found myself going through the 5 Stages of Grief (and while I detest these standards they are a good jump off point today).
I was angry at what had happened to Humanity. When did it become ok be so hate-filled? When did the answer become a saccharine drip of #happiness? Why couldn't we use our anger for good? I was literally was pissed off with the world and wanted nothing to do with humans. It made me run towards nature and the undeniable need to be grounded. I wanted to be alone with my fingers in the soil, inhaling the freshness of the forest. Unfortunately, the soapbox I had climbed onto was way too far from that grounding space I desperately needed.
So I remained there with my angry, holier-than-thou attitude. I remained there with other angry, righteous and sad people who were all just pointing down at everyone else. I didn't stop being angry but I did ask "So what? You're angry and now what? What would it take to get of that soapbox? What do I have to be in order to understand?"
The answer I came back with was "be the change.."
Fight or Flight? There was no way I wanted to step down and surround myself with intolerant people, I just didn't think I was truly strong enough to take on the fight in the right way. But, I also did not want to be one that angry person with nothing but opinions. So, I started to feed off that saccharine drip of "surround yourself with love" and "happiness rules" I figured that if I was to "be the change" I just needed to be the opposite of what I hated. I started to live in a bubble of complete 'contentedness' and ignored the poverty of others. I started looking at properties in the north hinterlands of Canada where I could live in my loved filled bubble. I filled my head with gratitude, appreciation and intentional living checklists; surrounding myself with all the beautiful things this world has to offer. I was making myself sick and my husband wanted to kill me. This is not "be the change" this is contented ignorance.
A quick reality check made me realize that sugar is bad for you and that ignoring anger and pain doesn't make it go away. That I needed to figure out what I was willing to do, and what I didn't want to do.
I know I need to listen and learn more of where the anger and pain come from. I need to be connected to individuals who feel these things all the time.. I want to listen to their story and surround them with acceptance and support, empower them to speak their truth.
What I didn't want to do, was be intolerant or judgmental - that's what got us here in the first place. That if I want humans to learn to be human again, the mindset I chose was important. That "be the change" means listening, learning and being tolerant of intolerance.
Honestly, this is a hard ass job. I truly don't know if this is something I am truly capable of. Am I enough to stand in the face of intolerance, listen to it with a non-judgemental heart? The whole experience sounds like it's going to make me angry, judgmental and frankly it just sounds painful. It also sounds like a huge project. How could I possibly take this all on? There has to be something easier?
Then it hit me...
This is the poverty of our culture. "There has to be something easier" is our very first reaction to "this is too hard". Most of us make compromises for the sake of Easy everyday. Unfortunately easy has become: a hateful facebook comment, a stronger anxiety medication, suicide.
We do hard things all the time. Many of us suffer incurable diseases, bury our children, say things we can't take back, or even say nothing when there is nothing to say. These are all very difficult things to take on and yet we struggle through them and come out stronger, wiser, people.
We need the pain and the wound in order to heal. We don't hold these with the same respect as we do happiness, forgiveness and joy. Happiness, forgiveness and joy only exist because of pain, anger and sadness. Why are we ignoring and medicating these amazing
teachers? We celebrate wins, we cheer each other on, we are always pushing forward. We focus on getting over pain, calming anger and moving on from grief. What would happen if we agree that anger can be fuel and that sadness could be worth holding on to?
What we do with Pain, Anger and Sadness is now more important than ever. How do we use this fuel to help us out of intolerance and into a generation of humans we are proud of? How can we embrace and accept all that we learn from our intolerance to be the change?
How do we use the wisdom of pain, anger and sadness and rise knowing that we can have hard conversations, we can learn from our adversaries and that we owe it to ourselves and our children to show up without judgement.