On Living in an Angry World
I told Dan as we were driving home at lunch to check on the dogs that I felt a frenetic energy in the air, and he said that he felt it, too. The atmosphere seems to buzz with it. I have always been very sensitive to things like that, very much an emotional sponge. I’ve noticed just on my short commute to work and in observing people out in the community that so many folks are tense and angry. Rude drivers, impatient people in lines….just a general lack of consideration for others that makes me very sad. For some reason it all seems more intense than usual.
It is difficult for me to be around angry and tense people, as it really impacts me emotionally. I have felt down for a few days, not my normal cheery self, and that’s a sure sign that I am taking in too much of that negative energy. I’ve even experienced it in my peaceful home, seeing the angry talking heads on the evening news- something I usually avoid like the plague. I’m not trying to pretend that the realities of the world don’t exist, but it seems that newscasters and politicians like to slant everything to incite drama. Even the Weather Channel can’t just give the facts of the weather anymore- they have to sell it, using fear to keep people glued to their televisions.
I decided today that enough was enough- I’m going to make my own ‘news’ and save the negativity for those who seem to want it. As soon as I made that decision, the energy started to calm around me. The news was actually really good today; I had fun lessons with my clarinet students, I saw some beautiful flowers springing up after this dreary winter, and a friend sent me a video message that made me laugh and feel loved. I read some wonderful posts from my friends in the Creative Group at Bedlam Farm that were filled with the real stuff of life; celebration, beauty, and, yes, even sadness and challenge…but not presented in a way that was sensationalized- just life happening. Bad things are going to happen, difficult times will come, but I don’t think we always have to jump on the bandwagon to take sides and be angry when they do. There is a real sense of freedom when you choose not to let others define who you are or how you feel.
I have never understood the need to hold on to anger and division. I have experienced it in my own family, with those who have very strong political and religious leanings that leave no room for the ideas of others. Those things are such personal issues to me- I would never want someone to feel that they had to believe exactly the way I do or else. Where has civilized discourse gone? Compromise? Why can’t we work toward the idea of balance for the good of the whole instead of all of these angry groups who believe their way is the only way. I don’t believe there is only one way, as each person has to find their own path…and there are many paths to take that lead to good things. I love the idea that Buddha put forth, “Do good, be good”. That’s all we need. Try your best to be a good person and do good in the world- and whatever works for you to achieve that is fine with me. For so many, that is heresy- you must be right, you must be left, you must be this religion or that religion. You are either for us or against us…such a sad way to approach a world filled with gloriously wonderful diversity.
It is easy to get drawn into the three-ringed circus of hostility, but I refuse to take the bait. Sanity in all of this will come one person at a time. One person showing kindness in the face of anger, one person helping someone in need, one person standing up for the rights of those who cannot speak, like the animals. It may be Pollyanna-ish of me to think that way, but that’s okay. I believe in the power of one person trying to do something good- amazing things can happen with that one spark. I may be old(er) and gray(er) before I see the results of any of my efforts, but it will be worth the wait. Right now, I’m headed home to catch the news- I hear that Dan is working on our kitchen renovation, I have no doubt that the dogs have gotten into some sort of mischief that will make me laugh, and I can’t wait to see what the view looks like this evening. There is always something beautiful to light your heart up if you are open to see it. Now that’s news you can use.