Woke up this morning with some old fear tapes running but they felt very current indeed. Dialoguing with fear seems to be my new hobby, and coming into contact with some deeper stuff somewhat unexpectedly has pushed this dialogue to the forefront of my mind. When I feel fear, I freeze. My central nervous system tells me to stop dead in my tracks until the threat has passed or at least been downgraded. There's a lot of talk about fearlessness, but when human lives are brought into the picture, it shifts both the context and nature of the dialogue. It becomes more pressing, more urgent and calls for braver, more immediate answers. I mention human lives because I've been thinking about racism, homophobia and sexism. I've also been thinking about intersectionality and how I can respond if any of these things get thrown in my face. I most certainly benefit from white privilege, but I do not want to accept its existence blindly when black, brown, gay, trans and female lives are threatened daily if not every minute by these forms of hate.
I do my best not to think about the president and his followers because there isn't a whole lot I can do about them or their deeds and actions. What I can do though, apart from voting and letting my voice be heard in conversations and yes, even good ol' social media arguments, is to focus on the why. Why are these people spouting such anti-human life sentiment? Why does this level of hate and bigotry exist? I feel helpless when I ponder the depth and gravity of these things, but what brings me back is focusing on each person, one at a time. Hate like that is produced by profound fear. White supremacy is founded upon and fueled by fear. I think about my white friends and family who have a really hard time talking about racism and privilege and how we can all help turn the page to a brighter, more equal and inclusive future. I had (and still have) a really hard time regulating my emotions when these topics come up, but I know that the problem at hand is way more important than my emotional fluctuations in that moment. Yes, of course I matter to me, but education and growing pains can be super f-ing hard and really uncomfortable, and that's ok.
So going back to that fear/hate thing - I find that when I focus on the question, 'what is this person afraid of', it allows a deeper opportunity for both compassion and communication. Anyone who is operating from their limbic brain that frequently has likely experienced pain far worse than I'll ever see (thank god.) The limbic brain is the center of the fight/flight reaction in the body, and it is a non-verbal space. When something happens that triggers fear, the limbic brain kicks in and starts to call the shots unless we create a different reflex response to that stimuli. Just by taking a breath, it gives us the chance to move out of the limbic brain and into the frontal lobe, the center of logic and reasoning. Even just asking the question, "is my life threatened right now?" can be an invaluable tool in de-escalating threats. I realize this may be easier for some to ask than others, but it is highly effective in relaxing the nervous system and moving out of reaction into a space of response.
I'll continue to walk with this question for a while, and I hope that one day I gain a whole toolbox of skills and awareness to help me and many others dialogue with this complex issue. There are no easy answers, but I feel that when we are willing to step up to the plate in full control of ourselves in order to have hard and necessary conversations, real and lasting change can happen.
Today's prayer prompt is very perfectly this: Transforming Pain
All that exists is Divine love and grace.
These Universal forces of love and grace are all around me and within me.
These forces can neutralize and release pain, conflict and the belief in separation. I am of this Universe and of this love and grace, which means that I too can release and neutralize all that limits my true perception.
Today I acknowledge the presence of these forces and know that when I accept the reality of love and grace that surrounds me, I also accept that my fear is transformed into faith and my pain into peace.
I give my heartfelt thanks to the Universe for supporting me with unwavering love and profound grace. I am so grateful, and the love I feel in my heart and my body grows and heals all pain as I step into gratitude.
So be it.