The last two weeks have been
so filled with anger and even verbal abuse from friends (with like minds) that I have been depressed.
The state of our world is enough to make anyone want to turn away from this life and become a hermit.
What flipped it for me? NOT the hatred spewing out of the mouth of the man who i-cannot-believe-this may be our next president. I have become used to a certain faction of our political system hating women and people of color and our natural world (this seems to go hand-in-hand). I don’t agree with it, but it has been growing for years and I’ve fought it when and where I could. Donating, writing, trying to waken others.
No, it has been the loss of friends in this political season.
People are fearful and stressed.
Let me say that again.
Let it sink in.
People are incredibly fearful and stressed out with worry.
I know I am. I own it.
People are disconnected from this world. When we walk mostly we see moms and dads with kids or dogs or heading to work and they are texting. Not enjoying the walk, the dogs, or their kids. (Okay, my projection, but I think they are enjoying their phones.) No eye contact, walking into us, no sense of personal space. That disconnect is seen at the grocery store when someone steps into your transaction. Disconnected from people becomes a habit, the world is not important, and so, people, relationships natural habitat suffers. My opinion.
People rarely read anything in depth and exist on sound bites.
They especially do not read anything that is not stamped for approval by the people they agree with. As a total generalization, right-wingers listen to Fox; liberals listen to MSNBC. Yes, its a stereotype, but it also is pretty much true, right?
Let’s make this easy — I’m a liberal — but I don’t listen to the “news.”
I read deeply into important issues from what I consider to be places that report “objectively” (Washington Post, NYTimes, snopes, even transcripts) trying to understand why our police force has become militarized, what national threats really exist, why Snowden did what he did, who this man Trump is (hardest of all), and what Hilary has actually done. I stay away from 24/7 soundbites meant to scare and enslave you.
I notice that in my and my friends feeds on FB people rarely ever read the story,
they scream off about the headline — and it is embarrassing for them but
they don’t care when they miss the punchline and the point and go off.
There is NO sense of decorum and
little sense of decency in MOST conversation now.
Is it that we just talk at each other online so we don’t get to see the face of the other as your words wound? Or do these same people scream in their loved ones face?
I know how hard it is when you are passionate, frightened, etc., and yet,
I can usually rein it in and talk about the issue, not the person I am disagreeing with.
It wasn’t always this way — I was a hot head in my twenties. It took hurting a few people terribly to stop the pattern. Now I have to be REALLY over the top to turn to name-calling and saying the hurtful things that you can’t take back…
or if you can heal, that healing will take a good deal of effort and time.
And when I lose it I apologize immediately when I get my head screwed on straight.
I’ve not had altercations with the “other” side that broke my heart, but had people who were friends (no more) with values similar come after me, name-calling, aggressive, threatening. When I took it to a private venue and tried to make sense of the anger and vitriol there was no coming back from it for this person, and he is not the first. I’ve lost friends, actual flesh and blood friends, during this season. I am shocked. On the other hand, I was not willing to take their heaping abuse from which they would not shift.
A great teacher, Burgh Joy, taught me to pause and shift. Pause and shift.
Take a moment, and shift your perspective to see if you can gain greater clarity.
What is really going on here?
Mitchell and I can do this easily for each other, seeing when we are in physical pain, didn’t sleep, feeling a panicked deadline. Then we can have compassion for a snappy response and ask what is going on without snarkiness. With another you may have to ask. Pause and shift, combined with tonglen, that ability to breath in the pain and send out loving-kindness or an antidote, are perhaps the greatest things I’ve learned beside basic meditation teaching me to self-reflect. Sometimes it takes an hour, but there is time to come to center, to pause, and to shift.
Finally, the idea of apology has eroded in our culture.
Apology is not followed by “but.”
“But” is a word that negates what was said before:
but 1 |bət|
1 used to introduce something contrasting with what has already been mentioned.
• nevertheless; however: he stumbled but didn’t fall | this is one principle, but it is not the only one.
• on the contrary; in contrast: I am clean but you are dirty | the problem is not that they are cutting down trees, but that they are doing it in a predatory way.
“I’m sorry BUT” is rarely an apology and usually an excuse involving the other or
some other that excuses it. No buts! Apology should be short and simple.
Understanding can come later, or not.
Apology is, “I’m sorry I lost my freaking mind and hurt you.”
Anyone else experiencing depression as a result of this political climate?
©D. Katie Powell. My images/blog posts may be reposted; please link back to zenkatwrites. Art (unless stated) is also by me; please link to dkatiepowellart.