I am in the most hermetic phase of the summer now. The temperatures in Phoenix are in the triple digits, tempers flare, cars overheat, dust storms roll through. My tendency at this time of year is to curl up in bed with a good book and an iced coffee, and wait out the heat. I teach my online summer course. I exercise, cook, do course prep for fall. I clean out my closets. I write. In the dark, cool womb of my house, my animals gather in a semi-circle around me and we enjoy our sloth together, tucked in and safe from the chaos of the outside world.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I don’t care what’s going on. I do. In fact, I think I care too much. My heart is too kind. I often feel much too fragile to navigate the ugliness and difficulty that has become the common thread of contemporary life. I’ve realized that some battles are not worth the time or energy they take. The older I get the more I understand that I must channel my time and energy into things that I want to see happen.
Things that disturb me, upset me, or cause my blood pressure to rise, are things I actively avoid. You see, no matter how bad I feel about poverty, injustice, hunger, killing or war — focusing on them actually entrenches them — rather than makes them better. My feeling bad about the horror and strife and hatred in the world will not make those things disappear. I can never feel bad enough to make the world feel good as a result.
Change the way you see the world, and the world you see will change.
Let’s face it: the outside world is ablaze with recrimination and hatred right now. I didn’t follow the Zimmerman trial — not because I don’t think the circumstances of Trayvon Martin’s death were deplorable — but because Zimmerman doesn’t deserve even one fraction of a fraction of a fraction of my attention or time. He’s a symptom of what is tearing this world up: someone without sense, morals or empathy. Because I do not want to give energy to things I do not want to see more of, I am doing my level best to put my focus on things that are actually fostering change.
Fighting against things doesn’t change things.
Working toward things changes things. Constructive dialogue, collaboration and cooperation changes things. That’s not just semantics. The energetic signature of something you are opposed to is completely different than something you actively support. One mindset traps the energy in regret, remorse and resistance. The other frees the energy to move in the direction you want to go.
What you resist, persists.
So, if you wonder why I am here at my keyboard rather than out on the street corner holding an angry sign, don’t misconstrue my intentions or my commitment to change.
There is much I am outraged over and much I want to see change. I am for equality, kindness, joy, education, the social safety net, and health care for all citizens. I am for my taxes going to helping the least among us. I want to see women paid on par with men. I want to see racism disappear. I want marriage equality for everyone who loves another person and wants to get married. I want our laws to protect us all — not just a select few.
I want to close our prisons and open more schools. I want us to spend $40K on each student in school instead of spending that amount incarcerating people who’ve been thrown away. Did you know that more African American men are currently in jail than were held in slavery?
I want us to embrace common sense and get guns out of the hands of the criminally insane.
I want to be able to walk home carrying candy and an iced tea without being shot by a paranoid narcissist who fancies himself as some sort of neighborhood superhero.
I want a sustainable future, a clean environment, a warm place to lay my head. I want to trust the food I am eating hasn’t been showered in enough pesticides to kill me. I want to walk into the future with collaborative, kindred spirits who are ready to build a better world.
There is no time left to waste on pettiness or small-minded war games.
What you focus on, increases.
What are you going to do to make a change? We cannot transform our lives using the same mindset that created the status quo. We’re living in a whole new paradigm. Anything’s possible.
And what about those among us who are hellbent on taking the world backwards? They won’t win their fight against progress, kindness, mercy and care. Resistance is, indeed, futile.
So, if you are like me, protect your light.
We’ll need it for the road ahead.
© 2013 Shavawn M. Berry All rights reserved
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