Momentum of Human Compassion

Hey, HEY, HEYYYYYYY! I have something to say.

In recent weeks it feels like the world has lit on fire. The violence, hate, and self-righteous behavior…at least the incidences that we know of… have been exceptionally horrific.The global community is either falling apart or coming together, depending on how you’re looking at it…Online, our communities on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have been chaotic, there’s a post a minute, it’s all happening so fast… But, just stop for a moment while you read this. Take a breathe, right now, come on, it’s good for you…I’ll wait…

With the The Black Lives Matter movement in full swing at home in Minneapolis, and the sense of horror that lingers in us after that week surrounding November 13th, and the ongoing global struggle to place Syrian Refugees, I keep seeing something I really wish I didn’t. It’s not the racial statements made from people in my rural hometown. It’s not the obvious comments of hate from oblivious white people – it’s not. Those are easy to spot, hate is plain to see. I’m writing to the people who I believe to be on my ‘side’. To my friends that are smarter than I, to my friends that read more articles than I, to my friends claiming that we all know nothing about the world (which is true, but that’s another story), to the people that err on the side of ideologies, for the people that seemingly just want to fight with the uprising of good hearted, and maybe less informed folks, this is for you.

After the Attacks on Paris, Americans responded. Arguably in the way they should have, idealistically, to hundreds of other global attacks this past year, but we didn’t. We, generally responded to just this one. Why?

My friends that know more than I, are the first to point out much of the other news we missed: Pakistan, Beirut, Baghdad. But the general public began to show support for Paris by changing their Facebook pictures. Suburban white people everywhere had updated their profile pic with a transparent image of the French Flag – and my smart friends freaking lost it. No one, to them, seemed to care about the rest of the world. This is more than frustrating, I agree, and it can be heartbreaking, no doubt. Why can’t everyone be as informed as you are?

What can we do about these massive amounts of people only knowing the information provided in a headline – so what do we do? Blame your fellow facebook friends for only following a couple news sources? Blame them for not fact checking? Blame them for not reading more articles on their lunch break? Blame them for not listening to NPR on their way home at night? How many sources should each person be checking? Do we blame them for not reading further into issues before claiming to the the internet the empathy they wish to express?

What constitutes someone to know enough to have a valuable reaction to any of the inhuman stories we’ve heard?

Riddle me that…but for now we’ll keep going, cause ya’ll seem to…

So what about blaming the media? Many of us, my friends, seem to be well aware of the media’s chosen filters for our news. So if we can get over blaming our individual ‘idiot’ friends we can start blaming the government and the lack of unbiased media outlets. Great. Let’s start making memes with Rupert Murdoch depicted as the Satan. Agreed. The media is a cloud of organized fear tactics. It freaking is. Should we keep going? Blame the government? Blame the global alliances? How far do you want to point blame? And what do we do with blame? What can we do in this moment? And who are we arguing with now? The media? Your facebook friend? Where are we in this moment now? Have we forgotten the initial horror stories that brought us here…?

My friends that are so quick to point out what we all do not know, I thank you for being a check and balance for us all as we try and navigate the world as we know it. We need you to keep doing this, we do. But as you are pointing out all the reasons why we are failing to be better participants, you not only seem to avoid the issue at hand, but are hindering the momentum of human compassion needed for change.

We may not all have the same exact views, but when the world comes together in solidarity for the great good – can you please, just shut the hell up?

You’re redirecting the point of the issue at hand. You’re separating us at a time where it matters most that we are together. We can’t control the media, we can’t control how informed or uninformed the masses are, that’s not the fight we’re fighting at the moment. So when the world comes together – let’s seize the opportunities where we do come together. What other plan do you have right now, in this very moment to enact change that you could do today? I agree so many systems need to be changed, but in these dark moments, don’t re-direct the light. Let’s not waste these moments where the powers for ‘good’ have momentum.

Amongst all the adversity, we have a chance to get something good out of the bad. There’s a chance for light to come out of the dark – a chance to ensure these tragedies are not in vain…we have to come together…you know that. We need everyone. We need momentum of the masses. How else are we to truly make a change? …the stories of humans at war with humans…the stories that aren’t about us, they are about the real people that are experiencing hate. Don’t forget that.

If we are ever going to achieve real change, we need all the momentum of human compassion we can bring together.

You-dont-have-to-be-great-mlk-quote

“Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” – MLK

Chapter 1 – An Obvious Introduction

These words have been 3 years in the making…I’m still not sure that they are all here.

difficult-as-my-own-soul-quote
My intention here is to build a series of chapters that string together the past few years of life’s lessons. I’ve spent a significant amount of time alone, on purpose, clawing at myself from the inside out. Clawing. An Imam Al-Ghazali quote can help sum up the past few years, “Never have I dealt with anything more difficult than my own soul.”  Right. Never. That shit will terrify you – but I had to force myself to face…myself. It’s been a relentless hobby now. And I’m fucking tired. So here I am; it’s time I start to make sense of the madness I’ve seen within. Get it out. Put it somewhere else, so I can see it outside of myself. And god, I hope by the time I get it all out it, in words on these pages, makes more sense than it does now.

As any great self-discovery journey begins, it begins at a unique low point that shakes you up; rattles off the dust that settled on your version of reality. A mental earthquake. A selfish flood of intrapersonal emotions. If you’re smart you’ll allow yourself to break down and ask yourself some big questions:

Who am I? No, really WHO AM I? Do I feel like I’m being myself? Have I ever decided who ‘myself’ is? What am I supposed to be doing about it? Who do I declare it to? Am I worth more or less than I thought I was? Am I doing this wrong? Am I doing this right? And how in the hell am I supposed to know the difference?

And it’s not always a singular moment in time, nothing ever truly is. You can have a break down over any length of time! For most people ‘it’ happens sometime between 25 – 31. Which is ‘a thing’ in both eastern and western society. Western society calls it your quarter life crisis. Eastern schools of thought that follow astrology actually pinpoint it as a shift in your stars called, Saturn Return, where Saturn returns to the same place in the sky that it was when you were born. I now believe this range of time to basically be a reliving of your most awkward teen years, all over again. Just this time you’re an adult and you thought you knew how to handle yourself better. Neat.

This new beginning came after I spent 6 months trying to get out of a 3 year toxic relationship that shattered my heart, and along with it my sense of self that I had so beautifully mapped out onto him. I got my version of reality all sorts of tangled in someone else. So. I was a bit emotionally drained and exhausted to begin with going into this transitional phase… Wait, wait, wait. I forgot, I had also gotten let go from my last 2 jobs in the past 4 years. For someone that graduated college with honors, 2 majors, 3 internships, built websites, planned events, learned graphic design on the side – that wasn’t suppose to be part of my life story, like ever. But then again neither was giving so much of myself to someone that gave so little back for sooo long. So really – I was completely drained and exhausted and at a loss for where my ‘self-worth’ had evaporated to. And that’s not what I consider the beginning – that’s to give you an idea of my functioning baseline…just before the beginning. That’s also not an explanation to extract pity only to give relatability; go ahead, let it all sink it because it get’s interesting from here on out.  I have this visual of that downward spiral where all possible emotions are being torn out of me and left outside my body, shriveling up like dying fish out of water. 

So, I’m surviving by emotionally going numb, trying to gain some sense of stability and remap my life on my own. All alone. Holding on tight. Learning to be okay on my own. 

AND THEN BAM, I get laid off from my 3rd job.

This, just a few months following the tail end of ‘the big bad breakup’. As one could predict, the urge to call back in the former ‘dude’ for support, was near impossible to shake. I needed help more than I ever had. I needed a person more than I had ever needed a person. What was happening to everything I thought I was? I laid on my floor one night (which I’ve learned is a weirdly important thing to do sometimes) with all the feelings going numb around me – at.a.lost. to what I was going to do, who I was, how I got there, etc, etc, etc.

The universe was all, ‘No stability for you this year, sucker.
Let’s watch you get through this too – happy 24th birthday – good luck.’

I could not go back to where I just came from with him, and without a job, a lost sense of self, I couldn’t see my future either. All I could do was lay there with my thoughts. That’s what I had left, thoughts. We all know how terrifying those can be all on their own anyway…you’re quarantined with only your self judgment

Life, you son of a bitch. This wasn’t a detour, or an alternative route. This was driving you to a dessert, where you’re alone, and your emotional car breaks down. I was put in a place where I had to refuse the urge to look backwards for help, and was forced to realize that I can’t see my future version of life either; and therefore are left with only the moment you’re in. That.is.it. Right there. No going back, and blinding only letting time take you forward. Nothing to predict about the future. Nothing to assume could happen next in life. That is where it began. That is where you begin to have the very important opportunity to sit all alone, with yourself, and truly be in the moment.  

…to be continued…