Reining in the Crazy

Hasn’t it been crazy to watch what’s been going on lately, not only in the world as a whole, but also in your own social media and news feeds? I have honestly been shocked by some of what I’ve been reading, and I know for a fact that I’m not alone in this.

Actually, I have a confession. I’ve been tempted to answer some of those posts with, “What on earth is wrong with you, you bleeding idiot. Can’t you see how very wrong you are. You must be completely insane to think that this is normal or good…”

Etcetera, etcetera. Having such a strong reaction to someone else’s opinion is not a normal experience for me. I like to think that I’m usually level-headed, even-keeled, able to listen, think and respond. There are so many things about the current political situation that have thrown me for a loop that it’s been challenging to maintain my usual calm. But the cost of getting sucked into the foray is too high of a price to pay.

Reacting instead of thoughtfully responding is simply adding fuel to the firestorm of the problem instead of taking the higher road and acting as part of the solution. When we take the time to remember that we are not in control of everything, but that we are always in control of our response, we start to reel the power back in. Taking the time to breathe, consider and choose to respond thoughtfully instead of in anger is what makes all the difference and will eventually lead us not only to a solution but also to a higher consciousness.

The other day I heard a presentation by someone who was talking about an exercise she had led where people were paired up with strangers who, on the outside, had nothing in common with each other. They were from vastly different socioeconomic backgrounds, beliefs systems, religions, everything. And yet they were asked to actively listen to their partner for five full minutes, without saying a single word. Five minutes can be a long time for people to just talk, and as the exercise went on people began to share details of their lives, stories, experiences. No one was trying to convince anyone else to change their views or to take any particular action, but at the end of it all everyone who participated started to see one truth: we are more alike than we are different. We are all sharing in the human experience and we are certainly stronger together than apart.

When the exercise was over there were hugs, tears and a connection that was formed that really meant something to the participants. What if we all tried to listen a little bit more and shout a little bit less? It seems to me that fear and anger would begin to subside and we’d. be left human and raw, ready to build bridges instead of walls and ready to embrace love instead of hate.

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