Where will it end?

Recently I have talked to a number of people who are feeling what I am feeling. It’s been too long. Someone mentioned yesterday that we have been under restriction for eight months. No wonder it seems so long. We are all just ready for this to end but it won’t yet.

In my area the numbers are decreasing and I hope in other areas as well. The riots and anger are not helping. I think the stress of the pandemic is fueling some of it. People are just frustrated.

Does anyone recognize our life now? There is violence and killing in cities that have never had that before. Those of us at risk for the virus are trapped avoiding exposure. Schools can’t decide what is best to do. Businesses are going under and people are out of work. This doesn’t sound like my world.

There were riots during the Viet Nam era. There were “demonstrations” during the civil rights era (God bless MLK) but nothing like this. Understanding what has caused all this unrest is complex. The feud between the police and BLM is almost like the Hatfields and the McCoys (if anyone remembers what that was). Logic has been left behind and only anger and hatred remain.

I wonder if anyone thinks any good will come of all of this? Does violence change things more than non-violent demonstrations? I’m not sure it does. I think that the crusades of MLK and Gandhi are remembered more. Will that be the case in the future? Will this nation withstand this or will it fall?

Have they disappeared?

From my history background I remember a historian named Arnold Toynbee who said that when the moral fiber of a nation declines the nation falls. We are certainly there. What is to come?

Epiphany

I have had an epiphany (a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience. ) I don’t really know why but something has shifted in my thinking. I suppose it is that we have been living this careful, isolated and distanced life for long enough that it now feels different.

I still want it to be changed but I have accepted what is and have settled into it. Unlike some people this acceptance will not change what I am doing but is a mental shift that will make this way of life more acceptable. Change has happened in me. Certainly nothing around me has changed and probably won’t for quite a while. We are still at risk and there remains some anxiety over the potential for a severe illness but that has settled into just living it.

I have found an odd and strange peace. I still can’t wait to have some other form of living back but for now I will be living.

Will we learn?

I heard this song just the other day. It brought back so many memories. I love folk songs and the stories they tell. I was lucky that the era when they were so popular was during my college years.

This song was written by Pete Seeger who was a long time activist. It reminds us that we are the ones who cause wars. His question always gets to me: “When will they ever learn?”

We haven’t learned yet. Is there any chance that we will learn?

Make it so

I love the church season of Advent. Not because of all the hoopla leading up to Christmas. Advent doesn’t feel red and green like Christmas. For me it feels blue. A beautiful, peaceful, serene blue. I imagine pictures with stars and the stable with the infant Jesus. I see calm and deep peace. I love listening to Christmas music and singing along. I suppose because the music plays at this time instead of the weeks of Christmas leading to Epiphany.

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Advent is a time for expecting. The world is pregnant with hope. People seem kinder, more giving, more open. It is sad that we can’t remain this way all year long. We need to learn from this period of expectation that things can be better. We can be more caring of others. We can live together in peace. Let’s make it so.

Peace

Addendum: For some reason this was difficult to write. I couldn’t seem to get down exactly how I was thinking. I hope it makes sense.

Seeking peace. I think in a way we are all reaching for that. From my limited experience that’s what leads people to suicide. For them there seems to be no other way to find peace.

Each of us looks for peace in our own way. It may be religion, it could be alcohol, it could be drugs. Some find it in nature, other people, family. There are so many places to look. I remember a story from many years ago in a mystery book about Mrs. Pollifax. (by Dorothy Gillman) This is a paraphrase of the story:

God is having a conversation with Gabriel. He is talking about giving mankind a soul. They discuss where it could be put…the highest mountain, the deepest part of the sea, but God says mankind will look in those places. Then God says “I know, I will put it inside him. He will never look there.”

seeking peace

That is where peace is to be found. Inside us. The trouble is it will be difficult to find. We are affected by the things around us. Life is challenging. I think that there are few of us who can “feel” peace all the time. Maybe the mystics…maybe those like Mother Theresa or Gandhi. I’m sure they would say that they don’t have it all the time either.

So what in the world am I talking about? I guess I am just looking at the times I do feel peace and savoring them. They don’t seem to be any more permanent than anything else.

“Nothing can bring you peace but yourself.”     Ralph Waldo Emerson

Seek the infinite

A “better” world is one in which we recognize that all people possess an incomparable value that we are morally obliged to respect . . . in social, political, and economic terms. Honoring the humanity of your fellow beings means that if they are hungry, ill, or oppressed, you must exert yourself to help them. . . . But this . . . runs up against our inherited instincts of self-protection, greediness, and desire to dominate others. . . . If we could rearrange energy from within—if we more often nurtured our companions and promoted their well-being, we would suffer much less. Rearranging energy from within is what mysticism does.                    Dr. Beatrice Bruteau (1930–2014)

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This quote from the meditation of Richard Rohr really speaks to what we must do to make the world a better place. Each of us has to dig deep and find that core of humanity that allows us to respect all beings.

She is so right. Our own instincts of survival, both physically and mentally, get in our way and keep us from becoming the humans we can be. She is calling us to seek that inner place where we meet the intangible, infinite spirit….no matter what we call it.

The Knit Wits

My friend and I have started an knit/crochet group meeting at a local coffee shop/restaurant. We have been meeting for quite a while but the group has suddenly begun to grow. It seems that we are gaining women who enjoy creating something beautiful while spending time with others. No phones, no media, just us. Since this meets at about 11:00 am we don’t have a lot of young women who can come but there are some young moms who stay at home with children who may want to join. I hope this happens. It will be a wonderful opportunity to share our old ideas and learn new ones.

The atmosphere of the place engenders pleasure and calm. It is like being in one’s home without having to clean and cook. This is an oasis on the islands where we live. There are sofas and lounge chairs where you can just chill. I love this place. The Friendship Coffee Company

Neutral is hard

How can things go so awry? How can life get so out of hand? In mediations I see the mistakes that people make. Sometimes they have to do with relationships. Sometimes they are about money. Sometimes it is a mixture of both.

business conflict resolution conceptThe hardest part about being a mediator is wanting to fix it and that is not allowed. It is part of the legal court system and we must remain neutral and not give any kind of advice. Once there was a case where the only thing dividing the two people was $10.00. It would have been simpler to give the person the money rather than try to get them to meet in the middle.

As of yet I have not been trained to do Domestic cases which deal with divorce and child custody. I can see the real emotional issues attached to that. I am not sure if I want to do that.

If you have a family with multiple children I think you have spent a great deal of time mediating.  I learned early on to let one person pick two brownies and the other choose first from the two. Much time was spent finding exact pieces. I have always loved this cartoon from a long time ago.

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Can we change?

In today’s world people like to play “the shame game.” We have no problem shaming someone who is not “like us.” This is rampant among teens but any of us are capable of joining in.

It is so easy to put down those who are different. Maybe they are fat, or too thin, or too black, or too white, or Muslim, or Christian, or Hindu….I could go on and on. Maybe they just don’t agree with us. We are becoming so polarized. Left vs right, Republican vs Democrat.

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One of the things I have encountered recently is intolerance about my moderate position. Somewhere between the black and white there is a whole spectrum of gray. Few things in this world are a simple as black and white. Most things have layer upon layer of opinion. Each of us has to make decisions based on our upbringing, our core values and our ethical stance. A choice that may be right for me may be terribly wrong for someone else.

We are losing all respect for opinions differing from our own. It is considered fine to metaphorically hang, draw and quarter those who are different. Love, tolerance and respect have given way to hatred and abuse.

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Somehow I hope the pendulum begins to swing the other way. As the population of the earth continues to grow our exposure to others will grow also. We will have to learn to respect the personal space and ability to see things differently of those around us.

I hope we can.