We Know Not What We Do, I Hope

Hello, dear readers and happy Monday! I know, I know, Mondays aren’t happy. Mondays are for being tired, and grouchy, and remembering all the things you don’t like about your life. Mondays are for wanting to crawl back into bed.

But, let’s try something different. Let’s think of Mondays as a chance at a fresh start, every single week. Each Monday is our own personal reset button. Let’s take this opportunity to do it differently. Let’s make the changes we want to see in ourselves and the world, okay?

“No man chooses evil because it is evil; he only mistakes it for happiness, the good he seeks.”

— Mary Wollstonecraft

I’ve been having a really hard time coping with the state of the people and politics here in the United State since the election. There are many of you, and many people I know in real life, who would tell me it’s long past time to get over it, but every morning I watch the news, I scroll my feeds and timelines, and I get progressively more afraid, more cynical, and more depressed.

It feels like there are so many people who want to hurt the poor, the lost, and the vulnerable. They want to hurt our environment. They want to hurt people who look and live differently from they way they look and live. They want to line their pockets and laugh while the world burns. I am convinced, but what I can’t understand is why.

I hear two voices shouting out at me through opinion pieces and blogs. One says not to listen to them, not to give them one moment’s consideration. They are the enemy and they must be guarded against at all costs. The other says to understand them. See the world their way. They are afraid, they are ignorant, listen and reassure them. They only need time and love to come around.

My heart likes the sound of the latter, but my anger tells me I am stupid and pushes the former course.

I’m highly suspicious of any calls to understand, and appeal to, people who refuse to understand or appeal to the needs of those less fortunate than them.

What I mean is, if you are angry because full equality under the law and fair and respectful treatment for immigrants, Muslims, women, and the LGBTQ+ community has become an important issue in American politics, I think the last thing we should be doing is giving you more time to explain why people who have suffered and fought for so long should slow down, take a back seat, and give you the floor. Sorry, I’m not sorry.

I am weary of anyone who says you can’t eat, you can’t feel warm, secure, and safe because they need more. There are real consequences for people when you won’t let go of your ego or a small amount of your money. When people say they need something, they need it. End of story.

But as weary as I am, as much as I don’t want to spend my time understanding and coddling, there is part of me that longs to understand and the only thing that makes sense is that people just don’t know any better. They can’t help themselves. They really think they are doing what is right.

We have so much privilege we have become so blind to it. We spend more time protecting our luxuries than we do protecting human life and dignity. We are all guilty of it. Some more than others, but every day more and more sees the light. There is hope, I hope.

I recognize that may be a lie I am telling myself too. Maybe part of me just wants to, has to, believe that the world isn’t that cruel. People can’t be evil for evil sake. Even if the universe doesn’t care and there is no rhyme or reason to any of this, we have to have reasons right? We have to, deep down, want to do what’s best, for love, for our families, for our country and our sense of right and wrong. Right?

So, this week, I’m exploring what lies are worth telling myself. What leaps of faith are worth taking. What aspects of human nature are not worth looking too closely at.

My instincts tell me none. My instincts tell me wherever humans are involved things are always complicated, and there are never easy answers. There is always a spectrum and it is rare we fall to one side or the other fully. People aren’t all bad, but they aren’t all good either. People’s intentions must follow the same patterns I suppose.

So, this week I guess I am exploring what that means to me and in these times, where we are so divided, so angry, and so willing to turn a blind eye or let loose our rage, we should all explore what that means for us, about us. How do we find common ground? How do we listen and teach? How do we change hearts? How do we do it without losing our own sense of right and wrong?

This week, ask yourself what are the value the value of rose-colored glasses and leaps of faith in humanity? Contemplate the motivations behind why we treat each other the way they do. Look within yourself and question how it makes you feel when another person says they need things that you cannot understand. In what ways do people who live differently from you make you afraid?

I want to know what evil lives in me and why I think it will lead to happiness. I want to know that about all people. I want to know how to fix it.

“In spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.”

— Anne Frank

***

If you like this post check out my weekly-ish newsletter for interesting reads + my own existential musings on life, love, and inevitable human suffering, or buy me a cup of coffee perhaps? 

Featured image via Unsplash

Advertisements

Straighten Up Your Heart

Good morning friends! Welcome to another work week. Every week I make an effort to change my view of the most hated day of the week. Instead of seeing it as a a sad end to relaxing weekends and resenting the forced return to work I do my best to see the day as a new beginning. I do my best to set the tone for the rest of the week. I try not to complain or waste the day wishing it were over.

Despite my attempts to change my view of Mondays I still find that I wake up in the worst mood every time it comes around. I am tired and I do not want to go to work so my mind naturally gets pissed off about everything. The worst part is I sometimes end up taking it out on the people around me.

Without thinking I blame others for my every frustration and become a bit of an asshole, grumbling and complaining and bringing everyone down. My poor girlfriend gets the worst of it. She tries hard to help me in the mornings and in my bad mood I blame her for anything that goes wrong. Then I get to work and my coworkers hear it. Nothing they do is right and everything they say angers and offends me.

I know this is no way to treat people but it’s been a hard habit to break because I’m hardly aware of it until it’s too late. I want to do better though.

“Every day People straighten up the hair, why not the heart?”

Ernesto “Che” Guevara

Every morning we prepare our outward appearance for the day. We clean our bodies and faces. We comb our hair and put on make up. We shave and spray on cologne or perfume. We do everything we can to make our outsides presentable to the world but we do nothing to prepare our hearts for the day. Why not?

What if every morning you took time to fix up your heart so that you could treat people with respect? You could stop to remind yourself that other people are entitled to the same basic needs you yourself crave. Other people deserve compassion and understanding. Other people deserve to be heard and made to feel like they matter in this world. You would want that for yourself, why would you think others didn’t want it too?

If more people woke up in the morning and reminded themselves of the Golden Rule I bet this world would be a much nicer place to live in. If nothing else Mondays might start off on a much happier note and you would have the satisfaction of knowing you might have made another’s day better by making an effort not to use them as an outlet for your own frustrations and treating them with a little respect.

If we all left our homes with love for our fellow human beings instead of wanting to shut them all out we could enjoy a commute with less rage and a work place with less hostility. We could stand in line at the coffee shop and not feel hatred for those in front of us. We could forgive our coworkers for being late or unprepared. We could have empathy and caring in more aspects of our lives. We could stop holding on to anger and grudges for perceived slights that may have not been intended.

So, every morning, while you get dressed, while you curl your hair, while you brush your teeth, think to yourself how you would want to be treated and resolve to treat others that way. While you eat your breakfast, while you drink your coffee, and as you lock up your house, allow yourself to feel love for the other 7 billion people in world. Straighten up your heart while you get your mind and outward appearance ready for the day and help make Monday’s better for everyone.

Your Love is a Gift // Acrostic

Years have passed since that beautiful day
“Open your gift”, to me she did say
Underneath her breast, her ribs torn apart
Revealing a live and still beating heart

Large, and red, a sticky, bloody mess
Over time is what her gift became I confess
Vexed I once was, with it’s chambers and veins
Each beat, all the while, causing her pain

I wished to return this nasty, used up organ but
She could not see that it’s become quite the burden

All her sniveling and pleas could not change me!

“Go on then, go!” she screamed at my back
“I’ll get this back in!” her voice then did crack
For many years more she struggled to return
The gift she gave me but that I never did earn

Featured image: Dissection of the heart performed by medicine students of Monterrey Tech. In the photo, the entrance of the big atria can be observed by Kenshinb (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons