I swear to god, every time I have tried to write this, I walk away or fall asleep, but not necessarily in that order. And not because I don't care, either. On the contrary, it is perhaps because I have cared too much. And not in that faux humble look-at-me-I-care-about-what's-going-on-in-the-world way. More in the round-3-of-oh-god-I-need-my-therapist-to-help-me-process-my-entire-life-and-the-last-two-to-four-lifetimes way.
Given that my last post was uploaded four weeks ago on the day that George Floyd was murdered and the world then erupted in unbridled, justified, and overdue outrage at alllll the systems in place that have been fuckery for so very many people, I'm realizing that it takes me about a month to even begin processing anything global (i.e., my reflection on the first four weeks of quarantine life, and... that's the only example, but because I work efficiently, it takes, like, two things to make a theme a theme.)
Quarantine life, I have enjoyed. "Stay at home" is one of the more exciting phrases I've heard in my almost-36 years. What a blissful first month of solitude and solo dance parties! This last month, not so much. It's been exhausting, sitting in the audience of my mind, watching many, many sets of polarities volley their points rapidly back and forth, each polarity born from yet another injustice, whether very recent or decades/centuries old, unmasked in all of its naked ugliness for all to see, ingest, ignore, do something with - dealer's choice.
The weight of all that is unknown or forgotten can be impossibly heavy to bear.
I don't know how people continue going about their normal lives sometimes. Necessity, I suppose. Ignorance, more happily. I'm not gonna lie (just kidding I lie all the time, but not right now) - I was (am?) struggling. I struggled with those polarities. I want to do something, and then part of me is like, "Oh, just take a nap and leave it alone."
I'm obviously not leaving it alone, but I do wish I were taking more naps. I can't remember the last time I was so self-conscious about my words. But that makes sense. It seems like the general vibe has been that everybody else is "wrong," which then makes everybody "right" in their judgment of others' wrongness. I don't find being on either end appealing. Very weird and oful times, except it's really just an exacerbation and a microscopic view of all our wretched human qualities.
In the last month, regarding ideas of injustice, inequality, race, relationships, biases, fucking everything, I've felt both very close and so separated, hopeful and hopeless, angry and understanding, accepting and in denial, activated and lazy, awake and asleep, figuratively speaking, that last one. I'm finding that there's a BUT to everything. I’m trying to find the thing that is without a BUT.
Like I said, it's heavy shit, man.
I don't wish to go deeper into all the stuff that's already out there, because times is triggering and everything can be interpreted as offensive to somebody and one of my main sources of personal and paralyzing unrest, for better or worse, is receiving criticism. I don't think it's necessary to expound on my opinion that 1) the problem at its core is separateness, 2) the most distracting mode of egging on separation is semantics, and 3) the salve is connection. I know anger can serve a purpose, but what feels best to me when shit gets mad and frustrating is to first pause, breathe, and then get curious.
Every time I find myself not feeling the least bit curious, I know I’m in trouble, or at least swiftly on the way there. Because for me, the opposite of curiosity is judgment. And the one thought I keep coming back to that I haven't wavered on is this:
I wish I could treat everyone in the universe the same way I regard my clients. I don’t argue, I don’t yell and cry and get overly emotional and force my opinions on them and feel desperate or frustrated if they don’t agree with what I’m saying. I approach them and our differences with genuine curiosity. I am not attached to our similarities or our differences, but I acknowledge their existence and use the acknowledgment of both to enhance the connection between us. I meet them where they are, whether they're in a place of peace or war or hate or love, or anything in between. I can listen without judgment, without thinking of a response, a one-up, a refutation. And in that space, there is freedom and safety for feelings to flow and shift, for conversation to happen.
I'm not sure why I haven't yet found the unabridged bridge from zen-ass therapist me to neurotic non-therapist me, but it's something I'm happy to work towards and be kind to myself about along the way. I think that I can only deal with the polarity in the world to the extent that I can face the polarities that exist within myself.
I'm also realizing that ultimately, it is the need for connection that can make us desperate. And in that desperation, we act out. We grasp and we force. And then the thing we're grasping for somehow morphs into something completely unrecognizable from the thing we needed in the first place. We become unwitting magicians, and the greatest illusion is that of separateness. We're also amnesiacs, ten-second Toms, which is why the cycle continues and we find ourselves, again, here.
In conclusz, I am "doing things" while releasing my need for answers and solutions to age-old questions of why shitty things exist, and I think that in surrendering the need without surrendering the doing, the answers and solutions materialize, as they always do, and often not in the ways we expect them to.
And I still don't know what the thing without a BUT is, but the truest and easiest for me to swallow is this:
Hate feels like "I." Love feels like "we."
“Sooner or later all the people of the world will have to discover a way to live together in peace.… If this is to be achieved, man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression, and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.” - MLKjr