I totally didn't want to write a post about this.
But when I wake in the morning, ready to write...and can't think of anything else? I'll take it as a sign.
Yesterday, I opened up a political discussion on my Facebook page. I have my opinions and will certainly be voting, but I did this more to elicit conversation and to expand my own knowledge. The question I asked was,
"If you have made the choice to do so, why are you voting for Romney? (Note: I asked why are you voting for Romney, not why are you voting against Obama.)"
And the responses have been enlightening. Everyone but my husband has followed the rules of at least staying kind (and yeah, he's making his own dinner tonight), but there is definitely an underlying tension to almost every comment.
And while the issues, the words used are definitely swirling in my head, that isn't what is interesting me most.
What I find most fascinating right now is the tension with me.
(Leaving my political leanings out of this for now, because they certainly aren't the point) I find myself almost angered...no, fully angered, by some of the comments that are left (the viewpoints - not the comments nor the commenters themselves). And my initial instinct is to fight, to challenge, to WIN! These views are wrong, they are harmful, they are ignorant....
I feel burning in my chest, my breath shortens, and my mind starts racing with counterpoints and eloquent-but-harshly-worded responses.
Luckily, I am aware of this burning and of those thoughts. And the part of me that is aware is just shaking her head.
As within me, So in the world.
One Facebook post. Maybe 15 comments - ALL of them stated without hateful language. And I'm tense and pissed off.
If I can't even control my own fearful and angered reactions in this situation, how and why should I expect anyone else, including my elected leader (with all of the bureaucracy and thousands of conflicting opinions coming from all sides), to react any differently?
I can hear all of the responses now: Because that is what they are paid to do, because they are acting on behalf of the greater good, because...frankly, I'm right and they are wrong so of course I'm allowed to be angry.
Shouldn't ALL of our work be to act on behalf of the greater good? (And if you are one who wants to use the "I'm right" argument, I'm afraid I will just offer you a kind smile for now and ask if we can postpone our discussion.)
And yes, the "greater good" is in and of itself a vague term. What I would like to see is conversation focused on that...what is the greater good?
You know what? I'm going down the spiral. I'm getting myself caught up in the conversation of what others can (or should) do...
And I'm leaving this here instead of deleting it so you can see just how easy it is to run away from ourselves.
THAT'S where the focus needs to be if we want anything to change.
Right. Within. You.
Even as I write this, the comments on the post are getting heated up. We ALL have our stomachs in knots and our rebuttals on the tips of our tongues.
And if we want to live in a world where right and wrong is constantly challenged, where an idea can elevate to a war within days, where we remain fully grounded in our animal instincts to fight and defend, then I suppose no more work needs to be done.
But I don't want to live in that world.
So I'll keep using things, such as the political debates, that ignite the fires within me to practice. I'll keep watching my own reactions and the consequences of those reactions. I will practice adjusting those reactions to create more peace within so that I can see more peace around me.
You may say I'm a dreamer. But I'm not the only one.
Take a deep breath with me....