Friday, October 07, 2005

What makes us peaceful?

Today might be a good day to consider those things that allow us to be more peaceful inside. Is it meditation? It's unlikely to be running around but rather something that allows us to be still inside.

Some people might find that stillness in hiking in the mountains, camping or sitting with a good book and a cup of hot cocoa. I do like my moments of meditation, where I sit with stillness, there are other ways of finding peace.

I look forward to the snows this winter because I find skiing peaceful. I downhill ski on weekdays at one of our local ski areas. There aren't so many people tearing down the mountain faster, pushing you on. It's a good day to enjoy the scenery and get into what skiing feels like for my body. I can be one with the hill in the way I can't on a busy weekend.

What do you enjoy that makes you one with something greater than yourself? Take a moment this weekend to see what it is and make a plan to get out and do it.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Being a Bitch

The more I blog about creating peace, the bitchier I am. There's an irony there that doesn't make sense to me.

Part of the reason I am that way is because as I start writing about these things, I think if I let that go, then what sort of precendent am I setting? Do I feel better ignoring that wrong? So I speak up. I try not to be nasty, though insurance companies get to me, but I definitely stand up for myself.

A woman on mailing list about a hobby was sending out a bunch of rather divisive, and to my mind, hate filled emails about what happened in New Orleans. I sent back a note that said I didn't appreciate getting such hate filled email and that I didn't think our mailing list was an appropriate place for this sort of discussion. She emailed back that it wasn't hate filled as the man who wrote the original content was a reverend. I snapped back that Pat Robertson was supposed to be a man of "God" as well but that didn't stop him from calling for the assassination of the President of Venuzuela. Please stop sending the email.

She has not responded. I felt badly about that, as if I had acted badly, though I am really just trying to stand up for stuff. I have come to the conclusion that I am tired of not saying something about things that aren't working, that aren't fair and are hateful. I have decided that if it's in my community and under my nose, letting such actions go will only allow such actions to go on in the wider community. If I do my best to say this isn't okay in my local area, then perhaps on a wider scale it will become less and less acceptable.

It's a bit outside myself but in the long run I am no longer swalling hate and then hatred at my powerlessness for not standing up and doing something.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Energy and Illness

I'm an acupuncturist and we work with the body's energy. In acupuncture theory, the emotional energy has an effect on the body. For instance, if one has a headache, the day might seem more stressful. Alternatively, a very stressful day can bring on a headache. It doesn't matter which comes first. Have a headache usually means we have a harder time dealing with stress.

I have been talking about the way people toss around hateful words in this blog. I've mentioned the speaking respectfully before. I wonder how all those people who are speaking so hatefully feel? I'm not asking on an emotional level, though that would be a fair question, but I wonder about on a physical level.

Do they have chronic physical pain? Do they suffer from high blood pressure or liver disease? How do they feel when they sit down? What is it like to be so angry all the time?

Remember that being angry all the time and holding onto that anger does impact your health. Remember to take some time to slow down and nuture yourself. No matter what has gone on, each of us has a duty to ourselves to take care of ourselves and our body so that we can function optimally. That way when someone speaks hatefully to us, it's a bit easier (though perhaps rarely easy for some of us) to avoid speaking hatefully back.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Words of Hate Part II

After driving away, I began thinking about those words of hate that made me so angry. This person had a right to their views. Why did I object to them so much? Am I so insistent that my views are the only ones that are correct that I believe he should see the world like I do?

I realized that there was a way, a wonderful way this person could have expressed a view that would have been positive. Why didn’t they stencil the words, “Conservatism is” on the window and then surround it with things like “loyal, faithful, defending the United States.” This person could have added any words they wanted. It was after all their opinion of conservatism. Assuming that their hatred of liberalism (see previous post) meant that they liked conservatism, this seems like a reasonable answer.

My reaction to the hate filled words about liberalism was to be angry and to hate. I had to work with those feelings to let them go. My reaction to the words about conservatism, might be to laugh or to disagree but it’s not about hating that person. In fact, I might think, “Gee I’d like to know those folks. They sound like good folks.” I’d walk away with respect, knowing that there were values in that line of thinking that I could respect even if I didn’t share the ideology.

The person with the truck is only doing what so often happens in the media about the liberals and conservatives now. One side is committed to calling the other names and to putting them down and shaming them. Do not think that if you are on the other side of that name calling that anything you can do will ever change their low opinion of you. They will remember that one time you believed other than what they did and that makes them superior.

If we could switch our tone to one that sings the praises of our stance from the heavens, then maybe people would feel welcomed in joining us. They know that they can come and go as they see fit, but that we are a good group to know and to support. I use generic terms because I believe that both sides need to think about this.

Let’s stop promoting hatred of “the other” and start promoting the love of “the us”.

Words of Hate Part I

I don't usually do things in several parts but a small event in my life this weekend has caused me to do some thinking. It seems to do justice to the conclusions to which I have come, requires that I make more than one entry on this subject.

The event in question wasn’t anything big. I was coming out of a local restaurant after brunch and saw a truck. It was a large truck with large wheels. The only thing that made it stand out amongst other trucks of it’s kind was the fact that on the back window the driver had someone stencil the words “Liberalism is” and then had a host of words around them. Around this centered commentary were a bunch of words. They included: ignorant, bigot, racist, socialist, fascist, spiritually bankrupt.

I don’t begin to remember all the words listed, nor do I understand all the commentary. For instance, for the life of me I cannot comprehend socialist and fascist describing the same group of people.

I do remember being angry

As I got into the car, I turned to my companion and said, “At this moment, I know what it feels like to be an African American in the United States in the 1960s.” I can only imagine the outrage of seeing things like that written about your race, your family, your culture over and over again. I realize that one moment of my life gives me no real kinship to a group of people who have experienced subtle hatred throughout their lives, but at that moment, I understood the pain of a single incident and it did occur to me how damaging all those so called “innocent” comments could be in a way, as a white woman, I had never experienced before.

I do identify myself as a liberal. I think liberalism is a good thing. It means we are working on changing things. We are striving for other ideas. We are working towards equality for everyone. I’m not insulted by the socialist comment. I like to think I’m a socialist. I am insulted that they think I’m a racist. The person with the truck hasn’t even met me. How dare he throw around such words?

The fascist thing perplexes me. If liberals are fascist, does that make conservatives communist? See I just can’t wrap my mind around it. Bigot. That’s another strong word that I take exception to. However, if it means I am prejudiced against people who write horrible things on their vehicles about liberals, then perhaps I am. Ignorant? I wanted to go head to head with that person and show him my degree wall and ask about his. You see, I say “his” because I’ve made an assumption about this truck. She may actually be educated but bigot that I am, I suspect it’s an uneducated male.

At any rate, these words made me angry. I realized that I was angry because although this person doesn’t know me and probably never will, he was passing judgment upon me. I could never join his group. As far as he was concerned, I needed to be punished and shamed because I dared to believe differently than he did.

After being angry and wanting to spray paint obscenities all over his truck (and you thought I was a calm and peaceful, didn’t you?), it made me sad that there are so many people who are so fearful that they won’t even open the door to anyone different. They proclaim their hatred from their cars and trucks, like a door slammed that says keep out and go away. They proclaim fear and try and spread that fear and hate. It’s a sad place to be, don’t you think?

As I rest this, I have to wonder, who is that person who proclaims those words with such hatred even when he’s not around. Does he know the hatred he is sowing? Does he know that he is causing pain?