Tag Archives: race

From the ground up (A #1000speak post)

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It’s all over the news these days. It is hard to avoid it. Police brutality! Police shoot civilian! On and on it goes. It starts to get depressing. It is so easy to only see one side of the story, as media often only shows one side.  Even media that tries its best to be unbiased. Are any of us truly unbiased? When the only stories you are being fed are sensationalist and horrible, it starts to taint your view. If you are not looking at the picture as a whole, it is not easy to see why police are acting the way they are. It seems random and unconnected. Folks, it’s time we all started looking at the bigger picture.

When I worked in probation, I saw it progressing. The blatant disregard for law enforcement. It hasn’t gotten any better from what I have seen. In fact it has gotten worse. Both civilians and police over reacting because of past events. ” I wasn’t really resisting!” When you think about it as only your actions it doesn’t seem like resistance.  When you look at it from the perspective of the police who not only have to keep their safety your safety and the safety of anyone in the immediate area in mind at all times. Someone pulling their arm away can seem like a bigger threat.A small resistance can be where it all falls apart. They can’t possibly know that you never intended to escalate it to anything more than that. They are human. They are subject to adrenaline rushes just like anyone else. No? They should control it better? Really? If a person fails to rescue a child being crushed by a car because the adrenaline rush is not enough to lift the car, would we blame them? Would we say they should have been able to control it and lift the car. No one would ever say that. If you really step back and look at it, both situations are one where safety is threatened. They really are not that different of situation. The problem is not them. The problem is not us. It is all of us. It is both sides. Both sides need to reach out. Compassion can be that bridge.

Race seems to play into it sure, but that can end with us. It takes both sides reaching out. If you look back over time there have been many races all over the world that have had clashes with police, for all kinds of reasons. It is not just an American problem. It is global. GLOBAL people. That should be getting our attention. It is practically shouting for change. We can be that change. It won’t happen over night I know that. Right now it is all about planting seeds of compassion. Compassion is capable of building that bridge between them and us. Because really there is no them and us there is only we. We, the human race. There is a lot that needs to change. Compassion is the first step in those changes, I promise. Trickle down effects work. We know they do. We have seen it. Its time to use the same process to go up. Start with compassion from the bottom and it will reach the top. It will. Compassion can go up that chain of command and before we know it change will be happening.

We need to start now, at home with our kids. We need to be setting the example and looking for the good. We need to be scouring the internet for good stories and sharing those twice as much as the negative stories.  We need to be teaching our children to find the positive. We need to get the message through to media that we are tired of only negative stories. We are emotionally burdened by the repetitive horror stories of what the human race is capable of. We need to not shelter our kids from the horror but show them that there can be balance. THEY can be the balance. They can make the difference.  We need to lead them by example. We need to be working towards the changes just as hard as we are teaching them. We need to not only tell them there are two sides to every story but show them. Find the other side of the story. Give them all the facts. Demand that media do the same. From what I have already seen from the up and coming generation they are going to blow us away. They are holding tight to compassion and spreading it. Call it a renewal of the hippies if you want, but peace, love and happiness are not horrible goals.

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How open is your mind?

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I struggled with what to write about today. So I am going out on a ledge here and just writing what tumbled through my head as we took a walk today.

I recently attended a workshop that is aimed at helping our church select a new minister.

   So my thoughts today have been about how open is my mind really? I really thought I had a pretty open mind. But really leaving what you were raised with and embracing a totally different thought process is hard work. I doubt I will ever really be done working on that.  I am constantly having to stop and think and explore is this really how I feel.

           Some things I don’t struggle with. Somethings I fully embrace and leave behind the restrictions of the past. I fully embrace gay/lesbians getting married , having kids, being “gasp” normal people. I fully embrace people of all color and race and try to keep family members thoughts separate from my own. To look at each person as their own person not based on skin color. That while I would not consider myself atheist I would also not classify myself as a christian. The way we have been raised makes a difference. The whispers that run through our mind.  That’s what I struggle with the most. When will those whispers fully go away?

            The trick has been to know  when the whispers are your thoughts and when it is spoon-fed rhetoric that you were brought up on.Taking time to stop and examine each part of our lives, not just religious part, and accept and own how we feel.It took me years to really know how I felt about gays and lesbians. It was a hard subject to talk about because it was not talked about in any kind of positive light growing up. Neither was mental illness or poor people or black people or middle eastern people or other  religions.

              So openly talking about my own mental illnesses and looking at it and talking about it in a positive light. That has really stretched my boundaries and really opened my mind. Living with and adjusting to living with multiple invisible illnesses and being open to talking to others about that. The boundaries were again pushed.When our boundaries are pushed we are often uncomfortable. I know when I am uncomfortable I either get very grumpy or retreat into myself or both.

             Now when something makes me uncomfortable I tend to stop, think about why its making me uncomfortable. In the past my response was always to run. Run as fast and as far as I could from it. Deny it was happening. Deny that I felt that way. Now when something makes me uncomfortable ,that instinct to run is still there but also a curiosity. Do I know everything I need to know about that subject? Can I expand my knowledge of it? I have often found that finding unbiased information about whatever is making me uncomfortable is a great way to analyze how I really feel.How I feel….not how my parents feel….not how my closest friends feel…..how I feel.

I have found that where I thought I was open minded I am not so much. Where I thought I was narrow minded I am more open. Some of it surprises me. Some of it not so much.

So my end thought in all of this is that I plan on stretching my boundaries a bit more regularly than I have been. That as a parent I feel this is my responsibility to my daughter. Just as important as feeding and clothing her, so is enriching my mind and really embracing what I believe in with knowledge. That maybe if she sees me doing this and being open about how it makes me feel, it will help her to do the same. That she won’t think that when you are an adult you stop growing, stop learning.  So that maybe she won’t have those whispers to distinguish between her thoughts and other thoughts. So that maybe her first instinct is not to judge.