Boo! What do you fear most?
Perhaps you have noticed some of the fear going on in our world. The latest was the incident in Charlottesville, VA on Friday, 8/11, where hundreds of marchers descended on the University of Virginia, carrying torches and yelling slogans “white lives matter” and “blood and soil.”
Protests turned violent as white supremacists clashed with counter demonstrators, and a car ploughed into a crowd of anti-racist and anti-fascist demonstrators.
Societal fears aside, personally, are you are afraid of getting older, losing some of your mobility and freedom? And/or are you afraid of losing your looks, youth and vitality? Many of us don’t feel as valuable if we’re not as pretty or young or fit. What are some of your other fears?
What do the two topics have in common? The first is the fear that this nation is plagued with. The second are the fears that we as individuals experience. How are they connected and to what extent?
According to James Baldwin in a recent article on brainpickings.org, “Indeed, if the great humanistic philosopher and psychologist, Erich Fromm, was correct, as I believe he was, in asserting that self-love is the foundation of a sane society, our responsibility to ourselves–and to our lives–is really a responsibility to one another: to know our interiority intimately and hold our darkest sides up to the light of awareness. But part of our human folly is that we do this far less readily than we shine the scorching beam of blamefulattention on the darkness of others.”
If you are coming to know me at all, you realize that I’m not sitting on a perch of self-righteousness. I, like you, have done my fair share of blaming and finger pointing.
I really want to encourage each of us to look within and see how we’re living in fear, and how is this adversely affecting the world around us. You may recall one of my new favorite phrases, “I choose to feel my pain rather than cause it!”
For example, I know I’m over-scheduled right now, and I tend to get a little frantic and stressed when that’s the case. I will take my fear of not being able to get everything done out on others, by being impatient, snappy, rude.
Today is one of those days. So what I’m trying to do, to the best of my ability, is witness my rushing. And I’m being more cautious with my words and my pacing of them. Even though I may feel rushed on the inside, I CAN slow myself down and not spread this hyper energy to others.
When I complain about my busy-ness and look for sympathy, I’m keeping myself stuck in a rut of victimization (feel sorry for me please!). I especially do this around my husband. It serves me to feel bad for myself because I don’t have to take responsibility and find a solution.
I really don’t want to do this anymore. I want to grow up! I don’t want to remain unaware, a victim to my habits of thought, substance, and behavior. The below quote says this beautifully.
“Echoing Bruce Lee’s assertion that ‘to become different from what we are, we must have some awareness of what we are,’ James Baldwin turns his critical yet un-cynical intellect toward our capacity for self-transformation–the most difficult and rewarding of our inner resources comprising our collective potentiality:
It is perfectly possible — indeed, it is far from uncommon — to go to bed one night, or wake up one morning, or simply walk through a door one has known all one’s life, and discover, between inhaling
and exhaling, that the self one has sewn together with such effort is all dirty rags, is unusable, is gone: and out of what raw material will one build a self again? The lives of men — and, therefore, of nations — to an extent literally unimaginable, depend on how vividly this question lives in the mind. It is a question which can paralyze the mind, of course; but if the question does not live in the mind, then one is simply condemned to eternal youth, which is a synonym for corruption.”
I truly believe peace in our country will begin in each of our own minds. Please share what you think by commenting on this blog.
How can peace start with you?