I spent all day in bed. When I went to sleep last night I was flirting with a sore throat, or perhaps it was flirting with me. In either case, I acknowledged it, dosed myself with what I had in my home remedy arsenal, and tried to settle in for a good night’s sleep. That didn’t really pan out. My sleep was sub par, and when I finally awoke to start my day I accepted the fact that my throat was in fact quite a bit worse than when i lay down to sleep– and that what I needed to do, beyond anything else, was take care of myself. I cancelled my clients and classes– took my taxes to the post office, and settled back into bed.
My day was simple and beautiful– I slept, wrote, read, spent some time with a beautiful man, ate some soup. All good. Then I went online to post my poem for the day. Boston. Bombing. Crap.
You see, I don’t pay attention to the news. This is part of who I am in the world. Some people might say it’s irresponsible. For me, this is the only way I am able to function. If I were to take in all of the events, or even half, that happen in the world on a daily basis, I would implode. I am a very sensitive being. The way that I am able to exist as a functional member of society, and affect the greatest good is by maintaining a safe and manageable bubble around myself and my loved ones. This bubble is perfectly insulating and extends as far as I allow it. What I’m realizing, as I begin this next phase in my life– acknowledging and using my voice– is that my bubble is necessarily getting a lot bigger.
Here are the facts: the world is full of tragedy. There are people starving and dying and killing and suffering beyond our wildest imaginations. All the time. Every moment of every day. This is the truth– and yet, we exist, in our facebook worlds, laughing out loud, and liking and commenting and creating our own social narrative for our “friends” day in and day out. And then tragedy strikes on OUR OWN SOIL, In the United States of America. And it is no more or less tragic than all of the other tragedy that is constantly cycling all over the globe–but it stops us in our tracks. It hits us close to home. We can imagine ourselves within the tragedy, our loved ones– we can trace a connection to the event– no matter how distant, and it hooks us in. Enter fear. Hello terror.
It is exactly that fear and terror that the person or persons responsible for terrorism wish to exploit. I cannot allow myself to go down the rabbit hole of terror– nor will I allow fear or terror to govern any part of my existence as a being on this planet. The way that I move through my life is simple– I find the lessons and the blessings within everything. Certainly nobody is doubting their blessings this evening in the wake of the tragedy that happened today in Boston. But, I just don’t believe that tragedy is a necessity to connecting to our larger humanity.
And I don’t say this because I feel that an outpouring of support isn’t perfectly right and good to the people who have been affected. I say it because an outpouring of support is necessary everywhere, all the time– tragedy or no. We are human beings, all of us, together. All the time. We are all moving through these lives of ours, some of us more consciously than others, but all of us bound by our humanity. Always. Our lives are full of beauty and blessings– constantly abounding. It should not take tragedy to remind us of that.
Fear is not the place for us to unite from– love is. And we can do that every moment of every day, in small and simple ways. We can remind ourselves of that connection that exists between each and every one of us on the globe– beginning with those people right inside your own bubble. The woman sitting next to you on the bus, the guy waiting to make a left-hand turn in front of you, the kids running across the street without a care… We can acknowledge that connection in the tiniest of ways– maybe just by changing a thought, really seeing a person– or allowing a smile to surface. We must remind ourselves that we know and understand each other– regardless of whether we have any actual shared experience.
We must remember that this journey of ours is only solitary if we choose to define it that way. And I for one am looking for as many partners as possible in my army of love. You just let me know if you’re interested– because there is serious power in numbers. The doors are wide open to anyone and everyone. No previous experience necessary– just a willingness to open and operate from your heart.
11 thoughts on “bound by our humanity”
Beautiful, and so true.
Thanks for reading, Lisa.
Just yesterday, right after the bombing, I was riding bikes with a woman, a total stranger. The subject of North Korea came up and I told her “well I know about it, but I don’t dwell on it much because if I did I would not be able to function. There’s just not much effect I can have on that situation” With Boston, I was originally terrified, relieved when my friends reported being safe, and then the anger hit. But I’m going to refuse to let my energy go towards anger and send it instead towards love. That’s the only way forward.
yes, yes, yes. Exactly. It is the only way forward– and there is SO much power in love– and it’s insanely untapped. We human beings have a phenomenally greater capacity than we acknowledge. I’m counting you in the army, Shetha.
Thank you, Mandy. The post with the words from Mr. Rogers, was strangely one of the most hopeful thing that I heard yesterday.
Nothing strange about that Leslie. Fred Rogers is (was) one of the most enlightened human beings around. If anyone understood the true power of love– it was him.
3.58. That’s how many people, on average, died in traffic accidents in the State of Pennsylvania in 2012. I know it’s not about the numbers – if your loved one died, the world has dramatically shifted. But in the clear-eyed analysis of facts, more people die on the road every day in Pennsylvania than died at the Boston Marathon. OK, OK, none of the three people who died at the Boston Marathon were doing ANYTHING that should have caused them to be killed, and potentially MANY of the people in PA who died in traffic accidents were. Nevertheless, why the power?
Because we give it to the terrorist. We allow him to have that power. We can’t do a damned thing about getting blown up as we cross the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Well, guess what? We can’t do a damned thing about the moron whose text message is more important than watching the changing traffic light, either. When he T-bones us as we’re going east through a light that’s been green for 15 seconds as he’s heading south through a light that’s been red for 18 seconds, we’re just as screwed as the lady whose boyfriend was waiting to propose to her at the finish line yesterday.
What’s the lesson? LET GO. You don’t have control, and you never will. I’m sitting here in South Korea, taking care of the second brigade worth of equipment that the Americans will use against Kim Jong Un if he (or one of his minions) decides that suicide is a good idea. Is my equipment a target? Yup. Do I sit around worrying about it? What’s the point? I keep working – I keep doing the very best to make sure that this equipment is ready, ’cause some of it won’t get blown up, and I (or someone) will be able to hand it out.
Let go. You’re not in control. Your time will come. Until it does, LOVE the best you can and LIVE the best you can. There’s nothing else you can control. Whitman said that you will contribute a verse. Make it a good one, and contribute it RIGHT NOW!
O Me! O Life!
by Walt Whitman
O Me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring;
Of the endless trains of the faithless—of cities fill’d with the foolish;
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light—of the objects mean—of the struggle ever renew’d;
Of the poor results of all—of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me;
Of the empty and useless years of the rest—with the rest me intertwined;
The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?
That you are here—that life exists, and identity;
That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.
Beautifully stated Gar, thank you. You have a way with words, my brother– like no other. Maybe you should start blogging? I’d read it.
Mandy, thanks. Unfortunately, I any skill I have with words is currently invested in writing for the Army right now. Not a lot of extra time for blogging, I’m afraid.
Lots of love to you and the kids, too!
I love this post. We take care of ourselves so we can connect to each other. Fear can hobble us greatly.
Yes, fear is so potent and incredibly hobbling. i’ve encountered a lot of tragedy of late– and one of the most striking things within it has been the amazing outpouring of love from people. If we can manage to remember our humanity without the catalyst of tragedy– we can offer each other and the world SO much. thank you for reading and for your comment!