It got me thinking…
Rarely do I engage in “Facebook Politicking” or political conversations. In fact, I’m almost proud to say I’ve only taken the bait 3 times in the past year. With the US election around the corner and the circus our political system has turned into, I would say that statistic is a win for any citizen of this country.
What I really want to share isn’t political but it will point to the root of all human divides. I also don’t intend for this post to be a vehicle for political debate but rather an expression of my experience and a recent insight into the tangled webs us humans so innocently and quickly weave for ourselves.
This is a personal post, but a message my soul wants to tell- so here it goes- please treat it with kindness.
I mentioned I took the political bait 3 times in the past year, but I didn’t mention that all 3 times were with family members. While the latest one, is the one worth writing about, I’ve now come realize each conversation, each family debate, was founded in one common theme – FEAR.
It was a Friday, and my phone was on fire! Every App I had was dinging and pinging – it didn’t take long for me to see the “locker-room talk” story. I did so good on Friday, I scrolled right on past all of my well-meaning friends on FB, ignored all the feeds, and subsequently had a pretty good day at work, at yoga, and a nice evening with my family. My world was calm, peaceful and enjoyable. Life was good.
I’d be lying if I said the headlines didn’t get to me, but I did my best to be present with my current surroundings and enjoy the life I’ve created.
As a woman and a mother trying to raise two daughters to see their true worth, it’s been a brutal campaign season. Running to the remote to turn down the sound every time I hear a certain campaign Ad because I don’t want to reinforce the idea that a woman’s worth is founded in what she looks like, isn’t ideal. Instead, I’ve used the election to teach my girls the foundations of our family values: love, service, respect and humanity.
To turn around and watch members of my extended family — the very people who helped instil those same family values in me — choose FEAR over Love, over and over again… was tough, to say the least.
Come Saturday morning, I took the bait for the 3rd time; responding to a family member, who dismissed the “locker-room talk” incident with a “boys-will-be-boys” Facebook post.
Let me set the stage with emotional triggers that led me there. I had woken up and checked my phone, like most of the population, only to see the now infamous apology video. Watching it made my stomach turn. From what I could see, there was no remorse, no sincerity, and as most politically fuelled media does, it ended with a hearty dose of FEAR. As someone who has experienced several types of sexual abuse/assault, I felt violated and deeply saddened.
As I clicked out of the video, I saw a post on the topic written by my female family member, stating that “boys-will-be-boys”, and adding insult to my injury. And that’s when I took the bait.
I responded and I kept responding.
I responded while eating breakfast.
I responded while driving.
I responded in the middle of my yoga retreat (irony).
I responded that evening while sitting down for dinner with my husband.
I responded in the middle of a movie.
My responses were fair, honest, heartfelt and respectful. They were my truth. My family member’s responses were the same. This was not your typical crazy, disrespectful Facebook rant; this was a clean conversation.
But what happened to me next was not clean; it was an invasion. I had been taken over. I found myself turning inward, sitting next to my adoring husband and internally villainizing him and his intentions with my thoughts. I found myself in a state of FEAR for our country and those who are closest to me. I found myself hurting for those women who haven’t gotten through the abuse with as much grace as I have. I was fearing for my marriage’s health and the health of my country. Then, my sweet husband, timidly asked if I was ok.
Mind you, this isn’t unfamiliar territory for him. He endured 8 years of my blood boiling when the wrong thing was said. But it’s been a long time since I’ve been in that headspace. Ever since I learned that 100% of my experience is coming from my thinking thus, 0% is coming from my outside circumstances, I had been able to recognize I was causing my discomfort before it took over me completely. However, in that moment, I recognized NOTHING. I saw RED. I was there again and he knew it. He knew it before I did. That’s how sneaky this thought thing can be. My words came quick and they were harsh. My breathing was labored, I was sweating and I was full of rage.
“I’M PISSED” “DO YOU KNOW WHAT I’VE BEEN THROUGH? DO YOU WANT ME TO RETELL YOU MY STORY? HOW CAN YOU ASK ME WHAT IS WRONG? I’M SO PISSED AND I’M SO CONFUSED. HOW CAN MY FAMILY BE THE PEOPLE SUPPORTING THIS KIND OF THING? HOW CAN THEY BE SO BLIND TO THE HURT THIS TYPE OF THING CAUSES? THIS IS A FREAKING EPIDEMIC! THEY ARE SO FEARFUL OF THE FUTURE THEY ARE ABANDONING THEIR TRUTH…they are in a state of fear…just like me-right now. Oh my God! I did it to myself. I was there too, I got myself to the same level of fear they’re living in. It makes perfect sense, it’s really real to them. Just like it is really real to me- in this moment.”
In that exact instant it was like someone stuck a needle in my balloon- POP! I’m no longer confused and I see them- my family, the whole political stage, with an immense amount of compassion.
THEY and ME, we all suffer from the human condition- we get caught up in our own stories and think it’s on us to control the outside so we can feel better. “If she gets voted in all will be ok, because my fears about him won’t come true.” “If he gets voted in, we will all be ok because my fears about her won’t come true.”
I can feel my blood pressure subside and my heart feels more gentle. With that clarity, LOVE returns, my marriage is secure and my husband and family are no longer enemy #1. I no longer have anything to prove. I am at peace and as soon as I found that space, the world around me felt it. The household was no longer at the mercy of my crazy.
The thing is, nothing changed on the outside, but in an instant I saw the experience I was creating on the inside. That’s the key- me seeing I was creating it.
I was recreating my trauma through my thinking.
Nothing was happening to me, just like nothing is happening to my family. We are all just in a crazy state of panic, until we gain enough clarity to see we are going to be ok, we are actually being taken care of- always. The moment I saw it – everything changed. I was connected to the place that is in all of us, the place where peace lives. The place where God lives.
In that place solutions come, innovation peaks, clarity is a viable resource and FEAR is only available when you need it for survival. In that place, I am right where God wants me to be so I can live out the life he designed for me. That place is the only truth I need.
There it was- “Creation is Heaven; Fear is Hell.”
The moments that followed my realization, I deleted my comments from FB, hugged my saint of a husband tightly (I really am the lucky one) and drifted peacefully to sleep.
If you’re reading this without an insight into the way the human mind operates, it can easily look like Facebook brought out my intense feelings or the vile commercials with young girls gazing into mirrors, or a strategically leaked 12-year old audio tape or the political divide or my family. But here’s the principle of thought in action: without getting lost in my own version of Facebook on Saturday morning, via my thinking, I wouldn’t have- better yet COULDN’T have- experienced the trauma again. It’s impossible to feel anything you don’t think first. My day most likely would’ve resembled my Friday and my universe, however small it is, would’ve reflected a state of peace.
Many people think I’m turning my focus away from the REAL issues in life. I tend to see it differently. I’m simply turning my focus toward the place I know solutions reside. To try to find a solution from a place of FEAR no-longer looks like a reasonable action. I’m constantly remembering where creativity is housed and looking there. To the SPARK within all of us, to our inner wisdom or truth underneath all of our fearful thinking, that tells us we are OK when we are still enough to listen.
Be Still and Know.