Be The Change

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It feels good to eat real food again. After surviving on flavor-ice pops, tea and bullion for the past three days, it was nice to put some real substance in my body. Being sick is no fun and I was very thankful to have a collection of lovely souls who carted my kids around and kept checking in on me; bringing me subsistence when I needed it. Thankful for my kids who (minus one incident) were top-notch caretakers, making me tea/honey/elderberry concoctions, waking on their own various times through the night just to come in and say “mommy, you ok?” (because they knew I wasn’t really sleeping either), and for being mature enough to realize that i was also missing out on the Celtic Festival yesterday. It is rewarding to see my young boys showing compassion on their own, knowing that they really are paying attention to things I try to teach them.
As I am always one to find the positive in any situation, all of the above mentioned things are obviously things that I have been grateful for over the past few days.  I’ve been through much worse, and many others are currently going through worse. I will continue to keep my optimistic perspective in life.  Happily, I will.  But there are also some things that eat at me. Since most people have the attention span of a flea I’m sure some will choose to ignore it and not read, but if anything I say causes one person to think for a moment it’s worth my time.  Negativity is such a prevalent disease in society these days yet no one seems to be treating it as such. It’s probably more contagious than what I’ve been harboring over the past few days, yet people continue to spread it without so much as a thought about how they are affecting their atmosphere and the surroundings of anyone in its path.
There are many stories in the news that are shared over and over and over again, by different people, with different perspectives. Presidential candidates are taking up a good amount of my facebook feed these days. Most of whom aren’t even worth a fraction of the social airtime they get, nor the time I have to waste hitting “hide” when I get tired of seeing the same demeaning story again, and again.  Move on down your feed and it’s another meme or another article that sometimes the person sharing hasn’t even read (yes this happens).  Most of what I see these days is hateful, shaming and demeaning.  It saddens me that even people who I love and respect and call my friends are quick to share these things. Blasting judgment at anyone who receives public assistance without first understanding their situation and why they are receiving it.  Or calling out anyone who is pro-choice without understanding what “pro-choice” means to them.  Berating anyone who is anti-guns because “it’s my right!” And of course bashing the transgendered without having one tiny iota of a clue how they might feel inside. It’s obvious that no one cares what anyone else is feeling inside.  Instead of asking questions when we disagree or misunderstand, such as “What brought you to hold that opinion? Where did you get the information that makes you continue to believe/trust/hold this opinion? What happened in your life to bring you to this place? What makes you feel this way? How can we come to understand each other” We instead choose to scream at everyone “You’re a fucking idiot because you don’t believe what I believe.” It’s not Democrats or Republicans, it’s not Christians, it’s not LGBT, it’s EVERYONE.  We fear what we don’t understand and none of us are really TRYING to understand.  We just want to hold onto what we have been taught and make sure to tell everyone why they should agree with us.  (disclaimer: I have been that person, and am far from perfect, but I try hard not to be that arrogant asshole. I remain passionate about my beliefs, but I am always willing to engage in dialogue.)
For instance, I am not living in a country where my only option to provide safety for my family is to take my chances with the sea and the compassion of those on the other side (if i reach the other side). Ive spent the past few days trying to think of the best way to help these people. I can donate money, time, etc., but i can not teach empathy which is what the world truly needs more of to make a difference. I may have been in pretty serious pain these past few days but it doesn’t compare to anything they are going through. Nor does it compare to how my heart breaks at all the horrible things that many people are sharing and posting so often on immigration and every topic under the sun.  Instead of creating dialogue you just scream at each other under the passive/agressive memes. That is no way to create understanding and respect.  Especially since we’re all really a bunch of hypocrites. Really, we are. You hate illegal immigrants but I bet you still eat apples. You’re pro life? How many kids are you signing up to mentor or foster? I was having a conversation with my children last evening about the situation with the Syrian refugees.  The question popped into my head when I was referencing the belief that a lot of people hold that we as a country (the good USA) can not possibly take everyone in. We “don’t have room to save everyone”.  How can anyone say that when there are so many people living in houses with bedrooms they don’t even use? There are so many houses sitting empty for whatever reason.  Houses are falling down. People own two, three, four houses.  Single, childless couples live in million dollar homes with rooms larger than my entire house that are used solely for entertaining others, but we “don’t have the room”? When did material and status become more important than human beings? My own 11 year old young child wonders at the same time how many of these families we can fit into our own, small home (in addition to all the animals that need saved too. We would have quite a sanctuary here if he were in charge. And I pray every day that he never loses this caring nature, because he is exactly what the world needs more of).
I spent a good part of my life being proud of a smart-ass sense of humor, my cynicism, quick to throw out the most sarcastic, offensive remark I could think of. But I have evolved in many ways and the empath in me can’t stomach the lack of compassion and blatant “telling it like it is” attitude. It’s your perspective, your opinion, your viewpoint, not the end all way of believing.  Even the things I believe I may end up changing my opinion on some day because something may change my mind about it.  One example? I used to be for the death penalty.  Who ever would have thought that having a family member murdered would cause me to be against it. Talk to me about it though, and I will explain it to you in whatever detail you want. Life has a funny way of being and is always testing us and providing us with the chance to learn, and to teach.
Need a challenge? Start to look deeply at your actions and reactions in each moment. Instead of reacting, put yourself in the other persons soul for a moment….yes, their soul, not their shoes. Shoes can be taken off, but once you’ve stepped in someones soul there is an understanding that never really leaves. Energy is absorbed.  What kind of energy do you want others to absorb from you? If you find yourself quick to judge, ask yourself, “how would I feel if it were me? How would I want people to treat me?” Or better yet, just think to yourself “how can I be of assistance.”
Yes, how can I be of assistance?
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