I Really Hate the Fighting.

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Sounds so strange doesn’t it? To feel so strongly about negativity so much that it creates “hate” in my heart.

I wear a kyanite pendant. It’s a beautiful teal-blue crystal that suspends from a thread of gold wire from a leather necklace. My niece gave it to me for Christmas last year. It rests on my chest, just at my sternum.

The kyanite is supposed to repel negativity. It’s supposed to help me speak my truth. It’s supposed to balance my 5th chakra, the throat chakra which is concerned with matters of veracity and voice. I have worn it since it was given to me. Almost six months now. I don’t know if it’s working because I still yell at soccer games and I still argue with my kids. I still have opinions and I still feel hungover after expressing them.

I don’t know what to do anymore. I feel a profound sense of unease about the world and I think it’s because everyone is fighting. Myself included, I guess.

I just want people to get along.

But see things my way.

Isn’t that funny?

But that’s not how life works.

Speaking of life and all its zigs and zags and the fact that change is the only constant… A yoga student gave me a bracelet about 2 weeks ago, it’s a lovely Alex + Ani wire bangle with a big charm and then these three little guys which also dangle. The entire bracelet is made of recycled metals and infused with positive energy. The charm on it is called “The Path of Life.”

Emblematic of life’s zenith and nadir moments, the PATH OF LIFE is representative of an infinite number of possibilities and expressions of love. Illustrating life’s twists, turns, and unexpected winds, wear the PATH OF LIFE Charm to proudly celebrate your own willingness to travel towards life’s fruitful moments.

She touched my heart when she gave me the gift. She is a beautiful soul and has so much to look forward to in her ongoing years and the fact that she’s entrusted me with her wellbeing has been the most humbling gift of all. I get that women my age-ish want to take better care of themselves and become more calm in this crazy world, but the fact that this kid keeps coming back… it’s so affirming.

She’s one of those pre turn-of-the-century babies. She is like a daughter or a niece to me. If I didn’t adore and love her so much I wouldn’t care as much as I do for her. I hear the bangle more than I see it and its elegant ampersands and infinity symbols remind me to chill. The charm scrapes across my keyboard as I type, or skitters across the counter as I clean, or dances across the placemats as I reach for the salt at my table, or clink-clinks as I put up my hair, go into downward dog and generally exist. Today when I was in the hot tub, I watched it swish like a fishtail as I glided my hand beneath the surface where it’s warm, noise is muted, the world is softer and floating is assured.

I think of her and her world — mine is 47, hers is so much newer, although she is an old soul and she is here to teach me. The charm on the bracelet couldn’t be more timely. It is reminding me to be willing to travel toward “fruitful moments.” In this context, fruitful means:

productiveconstructiveusefulof useworthwhilehelpfulbeneficialvaluablerewardingprofitableadvantageousgainfulsuccessfuleffectiveeffectualwell spentANTONYMS  futile.

“Well spent.” Yes. That’s a wonderful goal. So I will do my best. I also want to be more like Tom:

this isn't my art. i can't remember whose it is. but i can't claim it. i just want to be more like Tom.

this isn’t my art. i can’t remember whose it is. but i can’t claim it. i just want to be more like Tom.

The world is changing around us.

This student is more like Tom. She is pretty fearless. She has a very open mind about things, sometimes she is strident in her expression. I am open-minded also, but I have learned to be less strident — only recently though, and as long as I’m not on a soccer sideline. On soccer sidelines I’m more like Tom.

I think about that: “open mind.” Because I’m open minded, I’m almost obsessed these days with the concept of “two sides to a very thin coin” and that the “line between my opinion and your opinion” is very thin. Because somewhere, despite the openness, there has to be a limit or a finite end to the open-mindedness… right? Because that’s the mortal aspect of being open-minded, we can’t concern ourselves with everything because then we’ll be overwhelmed, but if we care about nothing, then we’re alone.

I am learning.

Thinness of the coin. Faintness. Vapor. Mirrors. Carl Jung reminds us (paraphrasing): What we don’t dig about others gives us an insight into ourselves… I used to think that meant I had to change. But I don’t think that’s what Jung is saying. He’s just saying, “pay attention” from which I derive: that person is your mirror. If you don’t like her shoes, what makes you so perfect?

I think of America. This gorgeous and screwed-up place. It looks so calm and beautiful from way out in space. We have mountains. We have shorelines. We have forests. We have rivers. We have deserts. We have open skies and crowded cities. We have so much — just in the way of geography, that surely the country, just within its natural boundaries, is big enough for us all.

Our collective birthday is coming up. We are very young, this nation, and we’ve really screwed up along the way, but we’ve also done some amazing things despite our relative age. This will be our 239th (I had to use the calculator) birthday.

We are a nation born of controversy and rebellion and fight.

Maybe this is just who we are –as a nation, as a collective national ego– and I’m the one who’s wrong.

All I know is that it doesn’t feel right to fight so much, and that if I were to live my life as intuitively conscious as possible, I would slow down, cool my jets and try to listen to what my body / energy / stress is telling me and stop trying to win.

So I’m creating a list of things I’m going to try to do consciously for the next year. And maybe just one of them I can do with consistency.

  • Find something admirable about someone I don’t like.
  • Be grateful for my health — I don’t mean just say, “thanks, lungs, you rock.” But to think about what my lungs do, and to let consciously them work and actively hear the sound of my own breath. Put my hand on my heart and feel it beat for ten whole beats. Place my hands on my eyes and thank them for working… ears for hearing…
  • Slow down around anxious people and just let them be.
  • Stop.
  • Listen.
  • Spend a half an hour outside each day, even if it’s raining or horrid out.
  • Make dinner from a cookbook once a week and don’t be chafed if the kids won’t eat it.
  • Appreciate my mother’s memory. The older I get and the more challenging my most important job (mom) gets, I really need to give her past some slack. She is gone from me now, but of late, I get a lot of her struggles. She may have done some irrational stuff, but she was a product of her environment too. I think of her a lot, and that’s impossible to control. She just pops in … like her crazy phone call timing — she would call at The Very Time I Couldn’t Possibly Be More Busy: 5:50-6:30 — and I need to let her pop in. I would love to hear her voice (in a non -terrifying and -creepy way).

I watched The Road again last night. I am going to read it again shortly (as soon as I finish my encore consumption of Atonement, which will be tonight). My husband wanted to see it — he never got to see the last 10 minutes, and I was only happy to oblige. The story is about catastrophe and survival and inhuman conflicts we simply don’t want to ever experience. 

I heard a stream of refrains in my head from the past month in America, “Leave me alone.” “This world is crazy.” “People need to shut up.” “People need to leave each other alone.” “Don’t touch the colors in my Crunchberries.” “Mind your own business.” “We are all doomed.” “Why is there so much anger?”

As I watched “The Road” I saw and felt the desolation depicted in every single frame of that film, and recalled it internally in each syllable of McCarthy’s mastery, “The child is my warrant and he is the word of God. And if he isn’t, then God never spoke” that I started to get a little nervous. 

I started to remember what it’s like to be driving on a road for several hours when no one else is there.

I started to remember what it felt like to be in a mall with no one else around.

I started to remember how it feels to get what you wish for.

I started to worry about anger and its cousin, fear. If left unattended, they can create wars. And  war, as depicted in Atonement, is a horrible thing that NO ONE in my generation, save for the brave service men and service women who have served in war, can possibly comprehend. We think the wreckage after terror attacks is bad… We have no clue. War is what anger, fear, intolerance, hate, greed and ignorance create. 

I have realized that I think America seems to have a case of “no one kicks my brother but me,” because when 9/11 happened, skin color, creed, lifestyle, gender, education, affinity for country music (snort), didn’t matter. We were banded together. It’s not that I want another tragedy, but I don’t like that it takes horror to get us to figure out what’s important. Peace is important. 
Sure, hate the fighting, it’s a waste of energy though. Instead, love the people. Let them sing —

My nation ’tis of thee…

Sweet land of Liberty

Of thee I sing

Land where my fathers died

Land of the pilgrims’ pride

From ev’ry mountainside

Let freedom ring!

I wanted to include further verses because I love the song, but I went to wikipedia for the rest of it and discovered verses added for George Washington’s birthday, and then one for abolition and then I just gave up, because … fighting.

I look at my headline (because it’s right there to keep me on track no matter how often I deviate).

like a mirror of a mirror...

like a mirror of a mirror…

And I’m okay with it. I really do hate the fighting. It gives me a queasy feeling in my stomach. It makes me feel parched and unsteady. It reminds me of how confused I would feel when discord would happen in my childhood and I just wanted it to stop.

And the fighting will go on, because people are afraid. And I guess I will fight too, because I don’t like the fighting. I fear what happens when people don’t fight for their rights. We have anything but democracy.

This is the greatest country in the world. I love everything about it. It’s not going to hell — I don’t believe in hell. Hell is already here: in the fighting. Hell is a manmade construct. Just like shame, and guilt, and control… it’s so much easier without the fighting.

Just everyone be cool.

Learn from your friends, and from the people you disagree with: they are your best teachers. Look beyond the headlines, even mine, to learn more. The best thing I can say about the sadness of the murders in Charleston is that I’ve learned so much more about U.S. history and the history of slavery, not just America’s. The maltreatment of other humans is really upsetting to me, and it’s still going on in human sex trafficking. I would like to think that if there’s one thing we can all get behind, its the effort to end exploitation, kidnapping, drugging, theft, and murders of children and adults around the world. But I am out of gas at the moment; that’s a fight for another day.  

I also recognize that I’ve been too focused on the dialogues of late and despite my discussions (authentic) that I’m cool with all the hyperbole, I am sensing now that I’ve personalized a lot of what I’ve read and heard and witnessed and that some of it really scares me — I am fearful of people and their irrationality about topics which really don’t affect them in a truly carbon-based, one-breath-at-a-time way. I don’t think I’m alone in this. It is extremely delicate ground when Americans feel their personal liberties are being trampled and it provokes more thinking and more imagining to me of that very thin two-sided coin and I think that’s why I’m writing so much these days; I am unsettled.

So I think I’m going into hiding for the next week and I’ll read a lot and watch videos about teaching yoga and how to be more centered in an off-kilter world, and I’ll send harmony out to the world because I think people are afraid of instability. We need to give ourselves permission to have off days, and to be unbalanced at times, because no one is 100% sure of anything unless they lived it, and even then there will be fearful people who refuse to believe it.

And speaking of balancing: above all, be OK with yourself when your opinion changes. That’s growth. That’s a good thing.

Love to all.

Thank you.

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