Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Check Your Personal Equality Climate

“The humanity of all Americans is diminished when any group is denied rights granted to others.” ~Julian Bond (Founder of Southern Poverty Law Center, and Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee)

_______________________________________________________
So many of us live in fear. I'm not saying that we go around hiding or shaking in our boots (though some might). What I am saying is that many of us operate out of fear, rather than love, and it shows in the way we treat people -- even in our silence. 

If we operated from love, I wouldn't be writing this, and the world would look a whole lot different!  For one, the conversations about race and gender inequality wouldn't exist because neither subject would carry weight. We would treat family like... well, family! We wouldn't see power-hungry bosses and co-workers stepping on others to gain ground or intimidate. We wouldn't see power struggles in relationships, nor abuses of various kinds. Bullying would be unknown. We wouldn't have the need to prove our superiority over another.

The current climate has brought out all kinds of fear; you can hear it in conversations and it thumps around in daily life. This is nothing new, but I suggest that the energy in our spaces right now has forced this nastiness upward and forward from the mires. Sometimes fear looks like hate; sometimes it looks like anger; sometimes it looks like sadness, or many other related negative emotions and actions. What it doesn't look like is love for all, including love for self. Cooperation, collaboration, and affinity are abundantly missing in all walks of life.

Some of us are fearful of losing something if we contribute to others -- the "what" that we fear is boundless. It could be money, footing, stature, reputation, family, friends, love... you name it! Unfortunately, when motives are fear-driven they come out in ways that we have several labels for, i.e., hate, bigotry, violence, misogyny, rudeness, bitterness, racism, homophobia, etc. I cannot imagine that there is one among us who never falls into the fear trap.  I know I fall, and it is not pretty!

Though there are clearly many ways love and fear is each expressed, for the sake of this post, I am particularly speaking about making room for others to be on the same ground. I am talking about the absolute truth of helping, giving, allowing others to be and have the exact same allowances and how we do not lose a single thing in the process.  Many who are "on top" view equal rights as a pie, and feel that if they give another the exact same space that they are in, that they lose a piece of their ground or a slice of their pie.  But this is only true when we are speaking about an actual pie! (But even then I will argue that sharing is awesome, and you'll still receive a wonderful intangible in return!) 

Self-reflection time:  Where in your life do you take issue with another having what you already have, be it property, pay, rights, housing, health... anything?  Where in life do you hear yourself complaining about another that has requested the same fairness in life that you receive?  If at this point the voice in your head just said, "I'm not prejudiced, but...," or "I'm not a bigot, but...," or "I believe in equal rights, but...," or "I'm not a racist, but...," or "I'm always nice, but...."  Man, your "but" just told all about what's really going on. Did you hear it? It was REALLY FAST so you might have missed it.  Our "buts" will show our butts every time!

If at THIS point you have now gone into the discussion about "deserving," and who deserves or doesn't deserve something, you're deflecting.  Yes, you really are. This looking at self in the mirror thing doesn't always feel good (at first), but it's a practice we all need to be in.  Your view of life is not the same as another's, and it is no less or more accurate either. It is no less or more important. Your view and experience of life is not THEE view or experience, rather merely one in a myriad of views and experiences. 

Questions to ask yourself:
  1. Where are you not listening to someone's struggle, or discounting their account of life?
  2. When do you diminish others and their experiences based on their occupation, neighborhood, family, gender, skin color, religion, history, etc? 
    • And the bigger question: WHY are you doing that?
  3. Why are we afraid to accept that life plays out differently for others, especially someone who has lived a completely different life?
  4. Why do we have such a hard time admitting that we either just don't understand, or that we just don't give someone from a different culture or walk of life the consideration they really deserve?
  5. Why is it we want others to give us a break and understand where we are coming from, but we don't give that regard to someone whose shoes we've never stepped into and have had very little or no affiliation?
  6. Why does someone else deserve less than we expect to receive when we want to be heard and understood?
Is it really any wonder why we see anger from marginalized groups? 
"When I uplift even one to equal standing, I lose nothing and gain it all -- not only for myself, but for all of us. Likewise, the converse is true.  Remember that one can and will cause a collective.
It is impossible to give more than I have, and completely possible to gain more than I dreamed when I pursue love-multiplied as my only agenda."

The way I see it, we have two choices - LOVE and FEAR. Super simple! Now if you choose love, it does not mean that you have to agree, or even understand, but it does mean that you are giving others space to be who they are and to express how life is for them in a way that you can't possibly understand. Again, you lose NOTHING. Who knows, you could even learn something and find out how ridiculous and unknowing you may have been before (which I strongly suspect is the reason so many of us refuse this opportunity)! Or you could realize how to be part of a solution, and/or how you might have been part of the problem.

Start today coming from your heart, and retrain your ears and mind to open up to those you have disregarded and discarded in the past based solely on things you can't or refuse to relate to. Search your conscience for where you have turned it off in order to be okay with your discounting of others. Acknowledge the humanity in all, and the fact that we really all yearn for the same essentials. Listen to someone you might not have before, and not to gain anything for yourself, but just out of love. It's a win-win. You have nothing to lose, and everything to gain, and you'll start gaining faster if you listen more than you speak!


Love,
Debora

P.S.  Let me know if you've been brave enough to start giving people space to be who they are, and what you're learning.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Remember Your Super Powers, Warriors!

CHEERS to those with invisible and chronic illnesses. Wishing all of you WARRIORS a blessed new year! May 2018 bring us all a rejuvenated and renewed strength.

I want to remind you that we all have super powers, though some may choose to see us as weak. We are anything BUT that! Do not let those apathetic ones steal your energy or happiness, your last “spoon,” or an ounce of your wellness. While we may feel low and even unproductive at times, it takes courage and inner strength to get up and face each day. It takes a wise warrior to rise up to a day filled with unknowns, and also to know when it’s time to rest and turn inward. It takes resolve to do our darnedest to walk through the fire of a flare each day, and being so good at “acting well” that we fool many around us. Those are our warrior super powers! We are not weak; those that judge us are weak in spirit and mind. 

Relish the good days, and even the down days. There is much to celebrate still; don’t let “it” consume your joy. Know that we are a strong community, and you are not alone in your struggle. 






Tuesday, October 3, 2017

When "Just Love" Is Just Words Instead of a Verb

💗

There's a lot of requests to "just love" in the past couple days.

This is popular when there is a tragedy, whether it's a large scale disaster, or something that just hits local or home. Notice the word "just" is put in front of the word "love" to indicate that it really is a simple thing, that it really needs to happen, and that it will really make all the difference.


I don't think it's surprising that this request comes in droves when a major tragedy occurs.  Not at all.  Nor do I think it is somehow wrong or inappropriate. We are touched and moved in various ways by these occurrences, and so it seems natural o reach out in this way.

But why aren't we doing this every day regardless of circumstances? Why aren't we doing less talking and more listening in the first place -- and in all places and for all people? Why do we wait until a terrible thing that showed us what a lack of love and conscience looks like, to remember to "just love?" 

What does your "just love" look like? What does it mean?  Are certain individuals or groups left out? You see, if our "just love" is meant to invoke a loving change or a change for more love, then it begins with you, me, the person stating it -- not "them," or over there somewhere. If your "just love" is meant as a plea or a reminder for people to change their hearts and minds, this must also apply to you. Otherwise it is an empty plea. 

"Just love" doesn't mean that you have to start agreeing with everybody. What it looks like (if you actually want change) is the willingness to hear people that may think or act or look differently than you. It's real easy and a cop-out from your statement to "just love" the same people that you just loved the day before the tragedy. There is absolutely no change in that. So when the dust settles from the current tragedy, guess what we have! We have the same thing we had before the tragedy -- the very thing that we said we didn't want to see any more of.


Is your "just love" just words, or is it a jump into action?

Do you have a plan to include those you left out before? I think that most of us know that one of the best ways we can show love and respect for another is to give them our attention and consideration. When we minimize, ignore, or ridicule another person's experience based off of the simple, and simple-minded, fact that it is different from our own, that is absolutely not "just love." It is, at its least, thoughtless. At its most, it shows up as tragedy in various forms and depths.

 

So the next time you broadcast "just love" as a mend, please make sure it's not "just words." Love is, after all, a verb, too.

💗



Friday, September 29, 2017

Intersectional Feminism - a Lesson for ALL

When one is uplifted, so are we all.  Equality does not mean that someone loses something in order for someone else to gain equal footing.  Equality shouldn't be feared, yet it is. Fear of losing something is what drives a lot of people to refuse to respect and hear about another person's experience/s that is different from their own.  So I'll say it again: When one is uplifted, so are we all. 



Saturday, December 10, 2016

"You get what you pay for."


When you pay in barbs and insults, your love and kindness account becomes overdrawn. What you have purchased is distrust. Regardless of your claims, your investments eventually become clear. Your return is negative, and your currency will fluctuate, then fall. Your credit is rated poor. Communication ends. Doors that were once held open just for you, may be closed and even locked. You may find yourself on the outside looking in at what was once yours. This is what happens when you don't guard the treasures you already have. You chose your currency, and this is your return on investment.

How many times will you rebuild,
only to watch your investments repeatedly
fail in the same way?


Each failure was an option to learn and grow and do better. Repeating the same proven failed strategies shows a belief that there is more comfort in the struggle than in the light.