(adapted from my journal 5/22/20)
Life is weird these "Covid Days" (that's how I am currently referring to this season we are in) . Tensions are high, opinions strong, and respect for our fellow humans feels far away. I recognize that social media and news media are driving forces, but we are humans, with advanced ability to think for ourselves and choose our actions and reactions. Let me tell you what it feels like to me, it feels like there's is no more middle, these are extremes, but we are living in some wildly extreme times.
It feels like...Either you believe in wearing a mask or you do not. You think Covid-19 will ultimately kill you, or you believe you will be strong enough to fight it or even not get it at all. You think Trump is a complete incompetent idiot, or you think he is the American savior. You think everything boils down to a war about race and inequality or you believe some rogue news source is trying to get you to make it one. You believe everything CNN says or you are a conspiracy theorist. You believe every human should be vaccinated as quickly as possible or you believe the vaccine will be more deadly than Covid itself. You stand 6 ft away, follow arrows on floors, and discriminate against those who don't or you go about your business as though nothing has happened with no concern for how others are thinking, feeling, or worrying. You are either throwing shade or you are slinging shit, but either way you want your voice heard, your opinion known, and you don't care who it hurts or upsets.
It's an ugly time and it's disheartening. Maybe this is why the sweet stories that do arise, where the human spirit is shown to shine, all I can do is cry. I cry a lot more these Covid days.
I think of myself more as a middle grounder, and have been this way long before Covid was ever a thing. Instead of saying OR, I would prefer YES, AND. I am more comfortable with MAYBE AND ALSO. Very little is concrete, very little is true in all space and time; what we have are people who have had a variety of upbringings, experiences, educations, and influences that inform the belief system they choose to subscribe to, the lense they are looking through, but it doesn't mean it is true in all reality, it means it is true for them. This difference in our truths is where we are getting all sort of mixed up. It doesn't have to be left or right, them or us, right or wrong, black or white, you vs. me. What about AND?
When we have differing viewpoints or differing belief systems, the opportunity is huge for respectful and mindful discussions to take place. It isn't the time for self importance, narcissism, and close mindedness. It is the time for listening with an open heart and responding YES, AND.
Imagine that instead of thinking of what your next words are while your friend is still talking (or typing), instead of speaking over them before their sentence has finished, instead of name calling (audibly or in your mind), what if you listened to all the words and just to the best of your ability tried not to judge or assume, just listen. Then, what if the response was "I hear your point (yes) and what about ... (insert your different but equally valid point of view).
I heard someone once say you can't change someones mind my yelling at them and/or calling them names. I agree, yes, and why would you want to change anyone else? (long pause for reflection).
When we engage in discussions of thoughts and ideas in a respectful and loving way with an open heart to learn about and from the other person and they of you, what comes out of that discussion is changed people. Each person with a little bit different perspective and an expanded view that widens our middle and stretches our lens.
Our discussions shouldn't be with just the people that think like us, but also with the ones who we currently disagree with. When we share our hearts in safe spaces with someone and our experiences and opinions are valued and they do the same, we come out looking a little more like each other. We take our new information and the details of someone else's story and begin to integrate it with our own and from that we form new thoughts and ideas and they are closer to meeting in the middle than they were before.
I believe that one universal truth that stands through the test of time and space is that we are all connected. Whatever you call it; energy, source, universe, God, it is there. In yoga we refer to it as the light in you and me and in all beings.
Throwing shade on our brothers and slinging shit on our sisters has just made our lights dimmer and dimmer and I think right now it is so dim we are forgetting it is even there. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."
What the world needs now, in these Covid days is compassion, tolerance, curiosity, empathy, and respect so we can draw closer to the middle and to each other. But most of all what we need is LIGHT AND LOVE!