It’s hot, too hot for late September in northern Vermont. I am irritated and tired. I don’t particularly like summer weather in July, let alone when it’s almost October. The irritated part of myself is dumbfounded by the craziness of the country we live in and the multitude of ways we are distracted by the things that don’t really matter.
Social media is going crazy with meme’s of the flag; from people sharing their frustration over people not respecting it, and just as many people declaring the right to freedom of speech and protest. I am not here to choose a side. In fact, I choose not to take a side as I feel the whole thing is distracting from the death and destruction that has befallen thousands of people affected by the recent hurricanes and earthquakes.
I understand people are passionate about freedom and the flag. On a personal level, I stand with the flag. My father was a Marine wounded in battle, who spent most of his life carrying the scars of his service. That being said I respect the fact that we live in a country which grants us the freedom to honor the flag or not, depending on our personal values. That freedom is what men like my father fought for.
This blog is not about the flag, it is not about protest, it is about paying attention. We are living in a time of great change, and we are all being triggered. The change I speak of is happening on multiple levels. It is an energetic change, in which the human species is evolving, becoming more empathic. It is a change on an environmental level, in which our planet and its people are suffering the consequences of the abuse we have placed upon it. It is a change brought about by overpopulation and the fear of not enough and it is the change created by global socialization and electronics.
We are in many ways overstimulated. Like a child diagnosed with attention deficit, we are unable to stay focused on anything for long enough to understand it. We are jumping emotionally and analytically from subject to subject, tragedy to tragedy, afront to afront without actually taking time to sit with our thoughts. Where last week we were pulling together for our family, friends, and countrymen who were facing the onslaught of natural disaster, this week we are up in arms with our opinions around an athlete and his behaviors. Really? Is he so important that his actions deserve our attention in the same way that hundreds of people losing their homes and livelihood does? Are we really that fickle that our thoughts are turned by something that should be featured on the front page of a tabloid?
Now don’t get me wrong. I understand he is doing something he feels is important, just as those of you who oppose his actions, and those of you who applaud his actions feel your opinions are noteworthy. But let us take just a minute to think how this hatred, and separation into factions is taking its toll on our nation. We are self-destructing and in many ways, it’s due to social media.
Social media can be a thing of goodness, connecting us to our family & friends through pictures and stories. It can even be a source of education if we take the time to check the facts and make sure it’s not made up bullshit. But it can also be a virus, one that slips into our thoughts filling us with feelings of insult and injustice. It can separate us into categories that we wouldn’t even know we existed in 10 years ago. I grew up with an understanding that there were certain things you didn’t talk about in casual conversation with those who were really not much more than acquaintances…because let’s face it, that’s what Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram friends are. Hell most of us have friends on Facebook that we wouldn’t even stop to chat with if we saw them in the grocery store. But here we are shooting off about whatever comes across our social media feed to whoever will hear us, and we are doing so with passion.
I am not asking you to agree with me, and I am hoping you will read this blog article with the love I am intending it to be laden with. I am not trying to insult anyone, I am simply asking “Would you go into your local grocery store, pub, or library and speak out as in the same manner as you do on social media?”
We need to realize we are all being triggered. We are being triggered because we are scared. Deep down inside there is a fear that comes from the discontent of our nation and climate change. I am not asking people to turn a blind eye, I am not asking people to stand by when injustices are happening. I am simply saying we need to take a moment, sit back and ask ourselves if we would so vehemently proclaim our opinions if we were standing on the local street corner, mini mart, or school function. We need to remember what it means to be decent and kind to one another.
This triggering I speak of is multi-faceted. As I said in the beginning of this blog it is partly due to the fact that we are becoming more empathic. That means as a species we are developing another sense, a sense that allows us to feel the emotions of others. This can be overwhelming, and can easily feel like an out of control game of pinball, with emotions flying all over the place. Without understanding what it means to be empathic or how to control it, we are bringing in emotions from everyone we come in contact with, and as we do we mix them all together and shoot them back at the world to be mixed in with others emotions. You can see how this can quickly become a mind-fuck. The thing is, this emotional craziness is not limited to sharing physical space with others. It can be picked up over the internet, through social media. We can feel the emotion people put behind their Facebook status and Tweets. We can feel it and we are responding to it.
When I was a girl I went to family counseling at the VA hospital when my father checked himself in to deal with his alcoholism. In the meeting, the counselor told me and my sisters that in an alcoholic family the children statistically fell into particular personality types, as a way of coping with the addiction. As he spoke I recognized myself in one of the descriptions, and my two sisters in other personality types he spoke of. This set off a revolution in my head. I did not want to be a statistic. In fact, I refused to be a statistic. The information I was given challenged me to change how I was living, as I did not want to live my life following a pattern created for me out of destruction. I feel the same way about social media and the effect it has on our behavior. I refuse to become someone who sits in the safety of my living room preaching hate! I refuse to allow myself to forget my humanity and social conscience. I may not always agree with my neighbors, but I do not need to fight with them over every last thing that pisses me off. Frankly, I just don’t want to live my life with that much negativity in it.
If people spent half as much time doing something kind, as they do bitching about what they don’t like in the world we would find a lot more peace in our lives.
I am not asking people to stand down in regards to things that they are passionate about. I am simply saying we need to think before we post on social media, imagine that the audience you are speaking to is standing in front of you, all of them…your whole audience. Some opinions and conversations are best spoken to our trusted friends, and family, not our acquaintances and neighbors.
I will continue to send energy to the people of our nation and the world. I pray for peace, tolerance, and understanding. I am proud to be an American, even if I am not proud of all of the actions happening in our nation at this time. I am also proud to be a kind person, one who chooses tolerance and love over intolerance and hate.