Last week, I wrote about the fundamental truth that how we choose to be with one another – the level and quality of respect and care we show for one another – shapes everything about our present and our future. I expressed my deep concerns about the ways we are treating one another in the public discourse in the United States. This topic may be relevant in your country as well.
Following up, this week we explore how to use your energy in the most powerful and impactful ways in order to make a difference in these challenging times. The essence: keep your focus on what you sense is important to create. Don’t lose energy looking for what you don’t agree with and reacting to what you don’t want.
Most people would place me on the liberal and progressive end of the political and social spectrum. Yet my political views are not actually shaped by politics itself. They are shaped by my passion for lifting up the human spirit. I am committed to empowering people and societal systems to evolve toward their greatest potential. I want to do my part to create a world that works for all.
Therefore, I’m interested in ideas and actions that support the health and well being of our planet, and a sense of wholeness, well being, and mutual respect within our diverse society.
If I want to spend my energy wisely, I cannot afford to use it towards anything that is not that. And frankly, neither can we as a society. The more pervasive the energy of opposition and attack becomes in our public discourse, the louder the noise level gets, and the deeper the dysfunction in our social systems and structures.
This is an enormous waste of our precious energy, time, and creativity. It’s also abrasive and destructive to the human psyche and to the whole of the natural world. It’s time for a different approach.
E. F. Schumacher, a 20th-century economist and author of Small is Beautiful: A Study of Economics As If People Mattered, wrote:
Any intelligent fool can make things bigger,
more complex, and more violent.
It takes a touch of genius –
and a lot of courage –
to move in the opposite direction.
About courage, American poet and essayist Rita Dove wrote:
Courage has nothing to do with
our determination to be great.
It has to do with what we decide in that moment
when we are called upon to be more.
In today’s “Great Breaking Open,” we are all called to stand tall in what we believe and in who we know ourselves to be deep in our heart of truth. If we dare to let ourselves touch it, there is a place within us where we can experience a visceral pull towards the matrix of creation and connection that binds us all together. The human spirit thrives when we acknowledge, respect, and work with the interconnectedness of everything.
Do we dare to view the world through that lens? Do we dare to let that awareness guide us in our perceptions, choices, decisions, and actions? Do we dare to dedicate 100% of our creative vision, energy, and focus to creating a world that works for all, even when the public sentiment is more focused on attacking and fighting against whoever we have named as the enemy?
“Fighting against” reinforces conflict and separation. It pits us against one another in us-versus-them battles where all that seems to matter is that our side comes out on top. Yet at what cost? In the end, the battles only break down the human spirit and strengthen or empower dysfunction. We lose ourselves in the battle itself, leaving little or no energy for what we actually do stand for.
The old adage says: What you resist persists. One of the core principles of the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, New Mexico, says it more elegantly:
The best criticism of the bad is the practice of the better.
Oppositional energy only creates more of the same.
So what if in our public discourse we stopped resisting, criticizing, and demeaning what we don’t want and the people who represent a different viewpoint? What if, instead, we created a clear vision and strategy for what we do want, and dedicated all of our focus and energy to bringing that vision to life. We can choose to lift ourselves up, to lift up the dignity and respect of the human spirit, and take our next steps in creating a world where all can thrive. What might be possible then?
Of course, as with all societal transformation, a shift in collective behavior begins with individual choices and actions. Yours and mine. It will take all of us together. And we must call out our leaders to do the same thing.
We don’t have to know how to solve everything. However, until we breathe into our hearts and get in touch with the interconnectedness of all, we will continue creating win-lose battles. Our first step is to put our focus on the care of the whole – the care of the whole of society, the whole of the planet, and the health and well being of each and every individual. Then we can pay attention – listen, sense, and feel – to find each next step. Signals will appear to show us the way. And step by step, we will make progress in creating a world that works.
I leave you with words of Nido Qubein, author, speaker, and president of High Point University in North Carolina:
Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go;
they merely determine where you start.
Start from a place of vision and forward action. Walk towards the creation of something greater than where we are now. Focus on what wants to be created for the good of the whole. Be persistent. And use your energy wisely.
~ ~ ~
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