We are all really vulnerable.
We don’t want to believe that. We want to think we’re more powerful than we are, that we are in control of our lives. And sometimes, we are. Sometimes, life goes well. The babies are born on time, the grocery bill is cheap, the parking spot opens up just as we pull in.
But other times, we recognize that someone can move into a space and destroy everything in his path. We see the way hatred and animosity manifests and creates a poison that makes us grieve and question and lose hope. We begin to wonder if love really exists, if people are good, or if all there is is evil and destruction, and we must gather our loved ones close and retreat into our homes, fearful of going anywhere.
Don’t lose hope. That’s how the bad guys win.
We do have power, but we forget we have it when we are inundated with news headlines that show us, day after day, all the awfulness in the world. That awfulness needs to be dealt with, don’t get me wrong. But feeding that to ourselves on a regular basis usually does not help us move through the world in a productive and helpful way. It makes us angry, it makes us fearful. It makes us believe that most people are bad, or wrong. It cuts through our ability to see the Good and instead causes us to want to protect and retreat and shake our heads at what’s gone horribly wrong in humanity.
There has always been evil, and there always will be. It is a hazard of being alive, of being human. But we don’t have to submit to fear of it, or let it dominate. We can take action in each day, actions that hold fast to a belief that there is True Love, that there are people who want goodness, that kindness exists and is, in fact, more powerful, and more ubiquitous.
Just turn off the fucking TV.
End your addiction to the news cycle.
Go out and meet people.
If you believe that the world is a dangerous and dark place, that is what you will find, over and over again. If you are filled with hatred and hopelessness, you will be drawn to hate-filled and hopeless people. If you are hurt and don’t want to heal, and you have a cycle of thought in your mind that suggests all people are mean and vindictive and are out to get you, that is what you will be met with. Immersing yourself in the news is going to emphasize this. Because news cycles are run by people who make money on your fear and paranoia. And they want you to keep coming back to them, relying on them, because when you do that, they profit.
News cycles are not for your best interest. They are intended to make money. Some journalists care, sure. But the people who own the newspapers, the television networks, the websites? Not sure about what they care about. So take it all with a grain of salt, and let your engagement with other people on a day-to-day basis be more paramount.
We, as a culture, are so, so angry. We are so, so confused. We are so busy looking outward rather than inward, and being inundated by images and messages, we don’t know how we feel, or what motivates us, or what we want, or who we are.
And most of us don’t want to know.
We want to stay numb and complacent and angry.
I am not negating the evil in the world. We need to face it, and grieve, and see what we can do to make amends.
But we cannot be any help to anyone if we don’t look inward to ourselves. If we don’t figure out what makes us tick. If we don’t uncover our own demons and move past them, and find a purpose.
And we can’t change the world and make things better unless we ground down in a belief in light and love, and are willing to embody that, and spread that message.
Don’t let darkness win by giving it more darkness.
Make yourself a light. Make yourself full of love.
Go deep within yourself and recognize all of your shit and your pain, and learn to love yourself anyway. And find all your goodness, too.
Mind you, this is very, very hard. People don’t do it because most people can’t sit for five minutes with their eyes closed, breathing. When they try, they are so filled with shame and guilt and blame and anguish that they jump up and try to occupy themselves with any form of distraction.
I cannot answer for evil, or explain why it exists. I just know that love is greater. It is. But we have to believe in it. We have to act in it. We have to have open hearts and open minds, and we have to test this theory out. But we can’t test it out if we are overcome with fear or anxiety. The energy we hold and extend matters, and people feel it. If you are overwhelmed with anxiety, with terror, then everyone you meet, on some level, feels that terror, and wants to back away.
But if you do some work to move through that, you’ll start to meet a person on another level, and you’ll start to spread kindness and generosity instead of hate and damnation.
It’s the only way to win. We can fight battles politically, sure. But those battles just go on and on and on. We need a grassroots world, a bigger picture than an election cycle every four years that bows to one side or another.
The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, and the kingdom of heaven is not a capitalistic venture we save up for now so we can go later. It is here, right now, if only we are to open up and acknowledge the power of love. The power of goodness. The power of hope.
So stop being afraid of yourself, and go deep within, and face the shit you’re afraid to face, the stuff you don’t want to uncover or look at. Love yourself anyway. And then take that love and start spreading it around. Buy a stranger a cup of coffee. Heck, buy two strangers coffee. Add a croissant! Start a conversation with an unassuming woman or man who is sitting by you. Acknowledge their goodness, their hopes, their dreams, their love for their family. Stop thinking and convincing yourself this world is divided, and you will begin to see the union of all things.
But you can’t see this if you are washed away in pain.
Please, have the courage to heal.
Your wounds are everyone’s wounds.
Then let’s spread that around, and eat some mustard.
(It’s really good on a cheese sandwich.)