Finding North Again. 2016.

compass

Many of us are walking around lost. Like we’ve been in the woods our whole lives, and the one thing guiding us all, has shattered.

We want to do something. We want to create action. We want to change things. But that’s difficult when the ground below us has disintegrated. For every action there is an opposite yet equal reaction. This is why many of us are left feeling depressed, sad, numb. That equal reaction has nowhere to go. Instead it gets lost in this now bewildered web of consciousness, with no outlet.

We can look at this election, and say, “I don’t how that happened.” Or we can take stock in what we value and in doing so, may get our answer.

It’s a common morning tradition in our country and in most of the world, people wake up, and rush off to work to support their families. The rush to work is the main event. Everything revolves around that. getting to work. Eventually, this ritual meant to better the family, is the very thing that is causing it to malfunction.

You might hear a father say to his son:

“Sorry, I don’t have time for that, I have to do this other thing.”

Then both will shrug it off as an inevitability.

Your child calls out …needing you in the most primitive way … but someone needs to pay for HBO and put food on the table.

That word *need*. It’s changed in the last hundred years. Need once meant “for survival”. Today it means “sandblasting my ego”.

We force each other to sit down for dinner and act like we’re doing each other a favor. Conversation for the sake of saying we conversed.

Are we really what we say we are? Or in this technological world are we just walking power point presentations?  I can’t say what I really feel, so instead enjoy this list of bullet points I have chosen to represent who I want you to believe I am.

Trump voters had that right. Racists should be able to speak their mind. I want to know a racist. I want to sit down with him and have him tell me why he can’t stand *black*.

Because:     UNDERSTANDING.

We need to crave understanding, instead of fearing truth.

When you silence anyone you are wiping the truth under the doormat. While you pretend that truth doesn’t exist, it’s shaping the world around you. But, alas, instead of acknowledging it…we stay inside and google the creation of our own existence.

I’ve been told many times I come off a little sharp and it’s simply because I have an intense curiosity.

I love hearing people’s stories. Even if that story is how someone failed at something miserably. I have a need to understand. So I question them. But my questioning comes off as judgement. My fascination puts people in a glass exhibit. Vulnerable, perhaps.

I remember a project in fourth grade. We were meant to write things about our classmates on “why they were special.”

In this class there was one girl who was predominantly overweight. I sat near her and would talk to her a lot. Sometimes, however, I took the conversation a little too far and would ask questions like:

“How did you get to the weight you’re at?”

For me, it wasn’t coming from a place of judgement. It was simply my inner voice wondering the logistics  “how did you do this to yourself?” “How much more are you eating than me?” “Do you just never move?”  I wanted to understand.

As I think about it, perhaps it was a form of judging. I never needed to understand why someone was skinny. So why did I need to understand why someone was fat?

Anyway, when the day came for the class to write about me … this student couldn’t, because I had made her feel so bad.

I never learned my lesson here and I don’t want to.  I don’t want a country where we say, “black people aren’t uneducated.” I want a country where we say, “black populations are suffering from terrible schools, now lets fix the problem.”

I don’t want a country where city governments are bickering over which silhouette can use a restroom, while these same cities hold a population that is forced to illegally urinate on the concrete.

I hear complaints from people everyday in the form of “my package came late.” or “this bill is too expensive” or “I hate this color.” But rarely do I hear complaints in the form of, “my best friend Nancy can’t pay her medical bills and I want to help her…what do I do?” “Ryan is slipping in his Psychology class, I should tutor him.” “I think Susan is slipping into depression we should let her know were there for her. ”

Donald Trump didn’t just come out of nowhere. We say he’s not what we want in America but our daily choices seem to say otherwise.

We don’t want our government run like a business, yet we seem to pursue our lives in that very fashion.

The minute a baby comes into the world the race is on to force some manufactured development. Only so that baby can one day get a good paying job. A job the baby will never really want.

So perhaps our compass has always been broken. We just never noticed because while it was spinning out of control, we were running around in circles.

We’ve been rocks skipping across a pond, telling ourselves the ground is firm.

They say the first step in solving a problem is acknowledging you have one. Maybe Trump is here to help us do just that.

The connections we have to each other have become so dull it’s no wonder the man with the boldest statements was heard the loudest.

In Time Square, a couple of months ago,  a man was arrested for gleefully shouting on top of the TKTS booth while completely nude. Some called this man crazy. Others found him refreshing:

“finally some life in the well oiled city.”

This I believe is exactly  how many people feel about Trump:

“A little bit of life in a well oiled political machine. ”

We have lot of work to do in the next four years. Our country, and moreso our planet is in need of solid ground.

Building this new foundation is going to take increased compassion and a desire to understand.  Instead of these personal islands we’ve been retreating to, we need to realize the value in building and nurturing connections to each other.

A bridge is just as important as what it connects, and we need to remember to take care of it.

Perhaps it’s okay we can’t find North.  All the direction we need is in the lives we see before us. Because we need to realize, and soon, that it’s not ourselves, but each other that matters the most.

 


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