Be the Light in the Darkness


light-in-darkness

I feel like many of the people who follow this blog are spiritually minded, empathic, lightworkers, healers and peace loving people. I like to think that you read my posts to look for insight into life and living as a better person. I try to share my own experiences in exploring spiritual growth and self-awareness. I occasionally get a bit ranty about social injustice, but for the most part it has been an introspective journey.

Now, I suspect that many people who think (or feel) like I do have hit a wall. The state of the world and the blooming of racism, hatred and social injustice has left a huge, painful hole in our heart. Those of us who are extremely empathic may literally feel the effects physically. We are at a loss for what to do.

I have historically tried not to be too political on this blog (ranty bits aside), but this may mark a change in that policy. Not so much to argue which party is better or worse, but because I feel that the time has come to stop being a quiet supporter of human rights and become a more vocal supporter. It is one thing to simply believe. It is another to do.

water-drop-384649_640I think that part of the problem is that most of us who are highly sensitive, loving people tend to try to avoid negativity as much as possible. We avoid it because of its effect on us physically and mentally. (Not to mention, people might notice us!) We try to spread peace quietly and unobtrusively, but we don’t want to cause too much fuss, not ripple the water too much. Certainly not make any waves.

Unfortunately, it would seem to me that the time has come to break out of our comfort zones and start making sure that EVERYONE knows that we stand up for peace, social justice, and humanity. Too many politicians take for granted the words of a vocal few ignorant, hateful people whose ideals match their own. We need to make Humanity the new political party. We need to do our parts to not let the last 150 years of civil rights and social justice backslide any further than they already have.

What can we do? Find the niche that speaks to you. Write about it. Call your government representatives. Counter messages of hate and disenfranchisement with those of love and inclusion. Learn more about religions that are different than yours and speak up to defend them when you hear someone speak disparagingly about them. Come up with ready responses to hate speech, racism, bigotry and intolerance. Be an example.

How can we protect ourselves from the emotional and physical impact this is bound to have on us? I have written a few things on this you can refer back to, and I’ll try to share more helpful information going forward. Meanwhile, you can check out this post:

I feel like one of the important things to try to remember when we’re working to counter intolerance is to not let ourselves drop to their level. It’s so easy to feel defensive and argumentative, to let hateful words spark our own hateful responses. Rise up. Try to keep your words calm and rational. This is why I recommend having some prepared responses for certain situations, it allows you the opportunity to step back and respond rationally, with less emotion. Don’t be condescending.

Do your research. Don’t believe everything you read on the Internet (even things you agree with). If you’re going to share educational information or statistics, make sure they’re accurate, maybe go one step further and provide resources. Be the smart one.

candle-1338927_640For my first step forward into the darkness, I will be attempting to use this blog to bring awareness to social issues and hopefully sharing some ideas for what spiritually minded, empathic people can do to help. Additionally, I will continue to try to encourage and support you with guidance on self-awareness and spiritual growth. It’s time to step out of the shadows and do our parts to bring light into the darkness. Be the beautiful lightworkers you are.

A Plea for Peace and Common Sense


vote, peace, election, America, Democracy, patrioticI have a few requests for you all…

1. Please, PLEASE VOTE. Don’t think that your vote doesn’t matter, because if it was going to matter in any election, it does now. I am not going to tell you who to vote for, but please just do it. Need a ride? Find a friend to give you one, search your area for one of the free services giving voters rides to the polls. Whatever you need to do, just vote.
 
2. Regardless of the outcome of the election, PLEASE HONOR THE RESULTS. This is a democracy. Whatever you think about how this election process works, it’s how it has evolved over the life of our country. It’s messed up, I know, but it’s ours. Honor the results. Your fellow Americans will have voiced their opinions and we all live in this country together.
 
3. If you’re not happy with the results of the election, PEACEFULLY PROTEST – if you must. Put the political wheels in motion to change things going forward. DO NOT RESORT TO VIOLENCE.. No riots. No torches and pitchforks. Grit your teeth, move forward, and figure out what YOU can do to change things going forward. 
4. BE KIND. Please don’t let the hate, misogyny, racism, and overall ugliness that has pervaded this election to become the new norm for America. While it would be really awesome if we all loved one another, I’d settle for some tolerance and kindness.
5.  SPREAD THE WORD. Encourage your friends, families, coworkers, or neighbors to honor the election process, to honor the rights of their fellow citizens, and to react with common sense, peace and civility to the results of this election. Do not let our country go down in flames over two people. You can help make America positive again.

The Politics of Compromise


I don’t proclaim to know very much about politics.

Don’t get me wrong, I do understand how a bill becomes a law (Thanks to School House Rock!) and understand the branches of government and checks and balances and all that. What I am not, however, is a politician.

I have my opinions and beliefs, like everyone else, but I am not good at debating them. I have friends with polar opposite beliefs from me, and I tried very, very hard this campaign season to avoid most of the political topics for that reason. I guess because at heart I’m a pacifist and don’t want to start fights or hurt feelings. Probably also because I am empathic and my sensitivity to emotions makes me avoid fights, arguments, disagreements at all costs.

I believe that part of what makes America great is that we are all entitled to our opinions and are allowed to voice them without fear of death (for the most part). I think that what I am missing, and maybe what the country is missing, is the ability to calmly discuss these differences of opinion. Maybe you enjoy a good political rant, or get your jollies from a heated argument about policies, but it stresses me out.

Maybe because over the years I have naturally gravitated towards the desire to neutralize volatile situations, as I work with people I try to put a neutral balance to situations. It seems to me that politics could benefit from this mindset. It would be nice if we could drop the incendiary rhetoric and consider a more rational discussion.

Our country has clawed out way out of much worse situations in the last 236 years. There have been much harsher differences of opinion over the decades, as we built our country and rebuilt our country, fought for our freedom and fought for civil rights. Through all of it, it was when the leaders of our country worked together, listened to each other, and yes, argued, but found compromise, that great things were accomplished. When they paid attention the basic foundation set forth by the Declaration of Independence and the most basic ideals the country was built on, that was when we grew, and changed, and became stronger.

Change comes slowly, but it cannot be stopped. Countries older than the US remain stagnated in old traditions, creating far worse civil unrest and violence than we have seen here in our short history. It is not one person’s responsibility to make things better or worse, that responsibility belongs to all of us. That is what separates us from so much of the rest of the world.

My wish, as we sweep up the mess left behind from the political campaigns, finish celebrating, finish licking our wounds, is that perhaps politics can become less of a matter of “Your side is wrong, my side is right.” and more “How can we work together to make things right?”. Change is not going to come if all each party manages to accomplish is to successfully block what the other party is doing.

We the people have the power to take the first rational steps.

Mourning Victory?


I have to admit that when I heard that Osama Bin Laden had been killed, I had my own brief moment of “Yay!”. I swear for a moment I even heard the strains of “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead” from The Wizard of Oz.

I really am glad that one less threat to the US is out of the picture, but I am not really sure how big of a dent it really makes in the big picture. Does “eliminating” him, as it has been euphemistically called, really eliminate or reduce threat? Or does it just make it different?

Were we really hunting him down to prevent further attacks on the US? I’m sure that was the idea. However, what it has come to look like to me is a seriously over inflated sense of justice. Perhaps more aptly called Revenge.

I suppose if you are a proponent of the death penalty, then it would make more sense to you. I, for one, am not – but this is not about judgment against those who are or are not. We all hold our own beliefs and that is not my concern today.

I have been feeling a little bit sad the last few days and I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Then I realized that I really find the news disheartening. I can understand the decision and the military and national security reasons for eliminating Osama Bin Laden. I am eternally grateful to those who risked their lives to make the world a safer place.

What has been getting me down is the level of celebratory news, constant analysis and near obsession with how he was killed, what he was doing, what was done with him afterwards. It pains me that as a nation, we are giddy with glee over the death of another human being. It makes me wonder where our limit would be, if we believed our cause to be just and true. Who would it be okay to kill in the name of Freedom and Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness?

While I appreciate the signifigance, I don’t feel that the event is necessarily a cause for celebration. Perhaps is it more a moment for quiet reflection on the lives lost on 9/11 and a prayer of thanks that he will not be able to orchestrate such a horrific thing again. A grim reminder to each of us the capabilities of human beings to inflict death and destruction on each other.

Maybe today, instead of devouring the news of the death of the most wanted man in the world, you should stop and hug your family. Be grateful for those you have not lost at his hand. Grieve along with those for whom his death does not bring back their loved ones. Honor the heroes who give everything to keep us safe. Celebrate peace.

“We have learned to fly the air like birds and swim the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers.” ~Martin Luther King, Jr., Strength to Love, 1963