This is long, read it anyway.
I’m not my usual self these last few days. Something about the last group of shootings broke something in me.
“Someone” clearly needs to do something. What that something IS? I don’t know. Anything done will simply be drops in an ocean until there’s enough volume and momentum to make a wave.
Every time there’s a tragedy people are quick to judge this ”someone” for not doing something, but…
…who is this “someone” that we think is supposed to be doing something anyway?
I had a piece of art in my house growing up that had a Lily Tomlin quote on it, “I always wondered why somebody doesn’t do something about that. Then I realized I was somebody.”
So I knew I was “somebody”, but I still waited for the “real” experts to handle it – since they’d know what to do. When “something” needed to be done my first instinct was to look around for an “expert” to handle it, or at least someone more “adult” than me. I’m 43 and I STILL do that. I used to think experts were specially anointed people that knew everything they’d need to know about a thing. I grew up thinking that the experts made the rules that ran the world.
I was wrong.
Was that funny? I want to hide behind snark here, but this isn’t funny. It’s time we started telling the truth about the world we’re in instead of hiding worrying about being cool or funny. We CAN have “nice things” but we have to start telling it like it is and feeling the impact of our reality.
What to do then?
The first step in changing anything is accepting where we are – and it isn’t pretty.
Keeping our focus on the level of state and country has gotten us this far, so maybe we start by looking up and zooming out. Maybe if we see that we are tiny creatures on an enormous rock that’s hurdling through space – see that safety is a matter of perspective, maybe we’ll see we’re all in this together. Maybe we could even collectively cultivate enough curiosity and love in our thoughts that fear waves will be nullified. Maybe then stranger-danger will no longer be a thing – and without fear of strangers, there’d be no waves of terror.
Maybe we’ve gotten as far as we can visualizing world peace.
Maybe access to world peace is through inner peace? How many of us have a practice of inner peace beyond taking a few deep breaths? Maybe we also need to zoom in and start cultivating insight into the realms we don’t talk about. Maybe it’s time to start talking about inner peace like it’s something important, and something we can’t buy or get from an expert, or a bottle, or pill. Maybe it isn’t even something we can define, maybe it just a sense that you have or don’t have.
People filled with inner peace do not seek to destroy the peace of others – they value it and do what they can to protect it and support others in having it.
People filled with inner peace don’t go around killing people, even if they own warehouses filled with guns and ammunition.
Guns don’t kill people. Fear, shame, hate, lies. anger, stranger-danger, ignorance, and pain? They do.
I have a deep practice of cultivating insight and spending my days in mindful meditation, but I’m not exactly living a typical life. I have no kids or pets and no job to maintain, and last year I gave up my home and most of my worldly possessions.
Until a few years ago I was anxious and depressed and filled with fear and “static” most of the time, but I took slow deliberate steps to change that balance. It took a long time to notice the impact, but now I’m really sensitive to it and it doesn’t take much work to maintain. It still takes something to keep negative ripples from spreading at times, but I never really lose my feeling of inner peace. That was unpredictable, and I’m incredibly grateful for that.
What if everyone that wanted to live filled with inner peace had free and accessible conduits for doing that – and maintaining it?
My path isn’t likely to work for you, so what will? What can you do from where you are with what you have to build a better world, starting with your own?
Could we look at strangers as friends we haven’t met yet, and choose to wish them things like days filled with smiles and love and peace and abundance and bliss? Could we embrace people and tell them that they are enough, and wanted and lovable and visible and worthy and everything else people learn to fear they aren’t? That’s what I do, but that’s what works for me.
What works for you?
Could we focus on what brings us joy and seek it and cultivate it and seek accessible conduits for it? Could we give people airtime every day for doing KIND things for their fellow humans, and make that shit cool? What else could we do?
What can you do?
It’s time for the “silent majority” to start talking to each other and start eradicating stranger-danger. It’s the most dangerous kind of weapon, and they keep using it against us. What would it take to stop letting the fear win? Could we feel our fear and shame and butterflies and awkwardness and say what there is to say, and ask what there is to ask anyway?
You are somebody, and you are worthy, and you are enough. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you live or what you’ve done in your lifetime (yes, including that thing when you were a kid) – if you want to have inner peace and are willing to do the work to get it, you are worthy of having it.
The state of being connected and having inner peace is our natural state of being. There are so many modalities that restore it – it must be. We know that stress and fear and all that other stuff is toxic to our health – so it makes sense that we evolved without it. Many people simply accept stress as a normal part of their day. Maybe you do that. I used to do that.
Why do we do that?
You are somebody. There’s no right way of doing this. Your inspiring words, your own self-expression or art or your music, or your hugs or smiles or good deeds are valid and worthy of sharing with the world. Go forth and cultivate connection and create ripples for peace!
You waiting for instructions? Fine. I’m not an expert, but that’s never stopped me from telling people what to do. Spend time every day looking at the content of the thoughts in your head. Don’t judge them, just notice what you think and what you react to. Cultivate skills in communicating though “languages” we all share.
Spread passion and curiosity and kindness and love and joy and bliss like they cost nothing. Cultivate curiosity and creativity. Indulge in things that make you feel good deep down in your gut and share your experiences with others. Talk about the ideas in this post and see what you come up with with your friends from your worlds. Share your recipe for a kinder, gentler world. It’s ok if you don’t know how it’ll turn out – none of us do!
When it comes to creating something we’ve never seen before, anyone willing to try is an expert and anything that gets us closer to it is a triumph. You’re an expert, and you’re somebody, and you’re worthy. YOU, the person reading this.
Somebody has to do something. What are YOU going to do to help us get closer to a world with more peace?
I wrote this.
It’s your turn.