Come Together

It has been way too long since I’ve written. There are many reasons I “put down the pen,” (aka Rosy, my computer) for a while. I hope to write about a bunch of them in the upcoming weeks, as some relate to the chaos in getting my space together. But truthfully, most relate to the chaos of my mind attempting to find peace and calm.

Illustration by Karlie 🙂

         Let me start by saying that I am, by nature, an extremely positive person. In fact, I annoy many people with my positivity, though mainly my kids. If you ask them, my boisterous wake up song is probably at the top of their list of gripes. For others it may be the fact that I whistle “Jolly Holiday with Mary” when I’m shopping, not because I necessarily choose to, but it just kind of bursts forth. But this Pollyanna has been struggling. And I’ve realized the main reason isn’t just Covid and the abundance of debacles that have ensued from this nasty virus. The thing that really, truly has me down is the Great Divide.

     In the past years we Americans have really grown apart in our views and opinions. And usually, an abundance of views and opinions is a good thing, right? We can learn from each other, grow, take on a new perspective. But this divide has been like no other, and amidst Covid and all it brings, and the growing awareness of pervasive social injustice, we have been at odds like never before. 

     And though there are problems galore, more than we could have imagined 2020 would bring us, I believe one of the most dangerous and disheartening is this fact that we are so polarized it’s hurting us physically, intellectually, spiritually and emotionally. No work can be done, no healing can occur, and there can be no forward movement until we find a way to somehow come together. Even just a tiny bit.

     I think this issue really started to bother me while scrolling through facebook. The nasty posts, (not solely political), felt like I was being screamed at in my living room. Comments about who we believe, what we believe and support aren’t necessarily a bad thing, but these statements were being made with such maliciousness and mockery it actually hurt my soul to read them. Even ideas and beliefs I supported were being posted with venom. Truth be told, we would probably not speak to each other this way in person. 

    Back in February, when I started feeling this way, I felt the need to do something to heal this great divide, and that hopefully a ripple effect would ensue. When a friend posted a view on facebook that differed from my own, one that I felt perhaps we could really share and grow on, I reached out to her in a private message. “Let’s meet for coffee and talk about this,” I suggested. Plans were in the works and then Covid hit us. Despite not being able to meet, we shared some thoughtful exchanges without malice and mockery and were able to not only see each other’s point a little better, but also just to see each other. To realize we were actually people behind these screens with cares and concerns, and we were sharing. 

   And then it happened that someone I love very dearly was posting and speaking her truth. And it also happened that her comments were not only so radically different from my own, but they were being spoken with such vitriol, it broke my heart. Again, I reached out so we could privately discuss.

     We had about a month of communicating and the end result was this. We were too far apart in our views to continue. While every now and then we could see one another through our ideas, we were so far apart on the spectrum of beliefs that we ended it with us agreeing to disagree. 

     So was there even a benefit to such an interaction? Yes. Whereas before, communication stemmed from hate and divisiveness, now we were connecting from a place of love and civility. Remembering who we were and focusing on the core of our relationship brought me back to a place of peace and love.

     You see, When the divide remains – when we don’t talk to each other personally – we stay in fear, and that brings anger, judgement, hurt and more divide. When we talk, we let the love in, and the healing and connection returns, whether we share one view or differ by one hundred.

     I know what you’re probably all thinking…stay the hell off Facebook, Jenny! I tried that for awhile, but come on, I post my blogs on Facebook. It’s kind of hard for me to stay away. Here’s my solution.

     CoLTS! No, not baby horses. It’s my little acronym I’ve been using to calm my soul and help me connect in loving and productive ways. Honestly, if I had time to flip through an old fashioned dictionary, I might have come up with a better phrase but I don’t even own a paper dictionary anymore. So here goes.

     Co – Connect…reach out to another person one on one, and do so from a place of love. Posting in the comment section on someone’s facebook page generally only ends up with you arguing with that person’s Aunt Sally, whom you’ve never met. Remember who you are and what this person means to you.

     L – Listen….truly hear what the other person has to say. Be open minded. This also means dropping the mentality that you are right, and requires that you listen without judgement. I’m not going to lie when I say that is super hard for me. And I’m sure you’ll agree that when you have something you passionately believe in you think you are right too. But just for a moment let that drop so you can engage in the next step…

     T – Take on Someone Else’s Perspective….in order to truly understand where the other person is coming from, try to see it from their point of view. I’m not saying you have to believe or agree with their perspective, but it helps to understand why they feel the way they feel or believe the things they believe if we can see it from their mindset. And perhaps this is even the place where a shift can occur. My mom used to have a plaque in the bathroom with that old saying, “Never judge another person until you’ve walked a mile in their moccasins.” Seeing as how we had no iPhones to bring into the loo that long ago, I had plenty of time to reflect on that adage. True understanding of another person’s experience, empathy, is the path to action and change.

     S – Speak with Love…I know we are in a time where people are all for telling it like it is and there is a rebuff of political correctness. I have no interest in either of those things. I have an interest to speak from love. It’s okay to speak directly, but if you really want another person to understand you or if you truly want a shift in mindset to occur, slander and vitriol is not the way to go. Honestly, don’t we all want to be validated just a little bit?

     So this was a long one today. I generally try to follow the KISS method, but this is a month’s worth of feelings coming out for the world (aka my 50 readers) to see. If you take away one thing from today’s post, let it be this. When we connect from a place of love and release the fear that separates us, we can heal the divide. It’s up to us. It’s not up to politicians, celebrities or people we think have power. We are the ones with the power, and we need to move just a little closer to one another. Let’s come together. Let’s do this.

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