Sometimes we are so blinded by the bigger picture that we fail to notice it's made up of small pieces of exquisite and painful artistic moments that pass for our collective lives. And there's nothing like a death in the family to bring everything to a flash of blinding and humbling clarity.
For me, my mother's death and the circumstances around it painted a very clear picture of the world we live in. We are one large dysfunctional family who desperately need to change our relationship to each other and the planet if we are to survive as anything but wounded automatons. Within each of our own families are the families that occupy this planet. Within each of us and our respective villages lives both the cause and the cure. We have to open our eyes and our hearts and set aside the divisions or it's the end of us as a species worth anything but a scornful footnote in the passage of time.
Think carefully on this because it means our survival. Think of the last decade, the Bush/Cheney/Rove years, the divisions, the taking of sides, the losses, the rage, the despair, and apply it not only to my family but to your own, and then apply it to the planet.
Look and see how expertly our fears and hurts and disappointments were and continue to be manipulated by those who can see what we no longer even recognize in ourselves anymore--that we are being led to the slaughter by those who care nothing about us other than the material sum of our parts. We are used by the politicians, the churches, the greedy until there's nothing left inside us that is our own anymore. We belong to them and they use us and then toss us aside because there's a continual replacement for us when we no longer suit their needs.
They are able to do this because dysfunctional is the new normal when it comes to families. How many of us have family members who don't speak to each other over something that happened years ago, something that I doubt most people can remember in complete details anymore if asked to explain it to someone else. All that remains is the gaping chest wound of misunderstanding, of division, of taking sides, of the us and them that divides us all.
How many of us have people in our lives from broken relationships that fester in pain, that isolate us and them from the heartbreak of loss? How many shattered friendships do we have that can never be repaired? How much of our lives are taken up by avoiding people instead of welcoming them? How much hate grows inside us like an evil little seed waiting to destroy everything in us that can love?
When we are like this, we are weak instead of strong. The users come along and find easy pickings. All they have to do is put on a TV show that gives us images of those we fear and then play upon that fear. Why, in the 21st century, do we still allow manipulative and evil entities like Fox News and its hateful talking heads, the Rush Limbaughs pushing drug-fueled hatred, the politicians who are beholden to corporations instead of people, to define us?
Can anyone on this planet who swallows that crap on a daily basis explain to me in anything but slogans why they hate someone? Or is everything now a talking point written by someone else, reduced to a sound bite with no substance, with no purpose but to divide us from one another?
How far back in time does someone have to go before the immigrant becomes the invader? When these hatemongers talk about taking our country back, who do we take it back from? The Native Americans we stole it from, the Mexicans who were disenfranchised from it because white people wanted it without having to pay anything for it? The Canadians whose boundaries crisscrossed our own so often we can barely tell each other apart?
Where are the papers of those who invaded this country and filled it with hateful white people? Under what justification did those same people enslave other people based on the color of their skin and think of it as anything but the most evil of actions another human being can perpetuate on another?
When did religion become an excuse to hate, to divide, to conquer? Do these haters even bother to read the Bible and its message sof love, tolerance, and acceptance? When did unholy intermediaries with hateful agendas become humanity's direct link to spirituality and connectedness with nature and each other? And why in this supposedly advanced civilization do we still allow the same people who believed the earth was flat to define who we love and marry? What the fuck is wrong with us that so many swallow this crap so easily?
I think the answers to all these questions lie within our own families, our own relationships, our own discarded and destroyed friendships. We are the small pictures within the large picture and we need to take a very close look at it before any hope of a better world for those that come after us, dies with us. Will our decade be the one that destroys hope for the entire planet because we were so obsessed with our own wounds that we failed to see how deeply others were wounded too?
I'm asking people to start within themselves and heal at least a small piece as a precious beginning to a new world. My own family never had a chance because war took their humanity before it had a chance to grow into something strong enough to fight against the divisions. But that doesn't mean I can't heal at least a small wound in myself that is there because of their wounds.
Maybe by doing so I can forgive those who hurt me so they won't continue to hurt me by taking up permanent residence in my heart. I understand all too well my parents were victims of things beyond their control but that doesn't mean I have to follow on that path. I have options they never had and if I let those options go to waste, then what was the point of their hurt, for nothing exists just to exist. Something gives it birth, something feeds it to make it live, something makes it grow strong and powerful.
I've said over and over again that working for peace is not for the weak. It takes strength to move forward when others view it as wasted idealism. It takes courage to look war in the face and say I will defeat you. It takes setting aside the divisions and working together to stand up to power and say we are stronger than you. It takes finding the place inside yourself that wants peace and making it strong enough to defeat hate.
That place is there inside us all. We must find it. We must ignore the noise machine of hate and work together for a better world, one where corporations don't destroy our planet in their greed to satisfy our own greed. We must simplify what we believe and how we live. We must reach out to each other and stop putting up walls, stop blaming others for things that are our own fault. We must grow up and be accountable for our own actions and quit using Bibles and religions and dead friendships as excuses to be complete and total jerks. We must embrace our humanity or we will lose it forever.