Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Religion of SELF

Another tragedy. Another why.

As I perused social media last night, I saw many different reactions to yet another terrorist attack in the UK.
There was heartbreak, anger, questions of why and there was blame.

Blame went in several directions. Blame is always many layered. It can never be laid at the feet of one person or idea.

I had already seen ugliness earlier in the day. It did not end up in murder, but it threatened to. A very intelligent person I follow shared the bevy of hate mail he'd received while away. Much of the hate included threats of harm to him and his family.
I was sickened by all of it. And I observed: violence begins in the heart.

Several people shared that religion is the problem. I am going to both agree and disagree, and I hope my reasoning will serve the greater good.

To lay blame of violence at the feet of religion is easy. It is true, religion has caused massive violence throughout history. But religion is also responsible for so much good in the world. How can it produce both violence and good?

I believe how we walk in this world is a layer of the problem. It was unnerving yesterday for me to see so many people so opposed to someone else's ideology, that they threatened harm. These people were not attacking based on religion. They attacked because they were "right" and he was "wrong". They shared all the violence in the heart with their words. Not in the name of religion. I posit, they share in the name of self.

I think our religion has become self. We worship our rightness. We worship our needs and wants and what we think we deserve.
 I think some people of faith ferret that out. People of all different faith systems use their faith to chisel away at the self that would consume anything or anyone in its path and allow their selves to be molded in such a way that produces love and beauty for the whole world. I believe that people of no faith, atheists and agnostics can and do the same.

And then there is the religion, of all faiths and no faith that would be right at all costs. The religion of extremism. The religion of violence toward all who disagree.

There are so many ways to react to these times that devastate and are devastating.
I do not think there is one right way to react.
I would encourage all of us though, to lay a portion of blame at our own feet. When we acknowledge our own selfish acts of aggression, we can step outside of them.
In so doing, we can become stronger. We can become a united front against the real violence that does threaten everyone. We can create a hopeful future for our children and stand united in love.

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

What the peony spoke to me

I've been struggling a lot lately. And, small comfort, I see I am not alone. All the lovely blogs I read are sharing stories of the comparison game. At first I didn't think I struggle with that. I don't look at other people's lives or belongings and think I should have them. I have particular things I have always wanted from the time I was a young child, and those things have nothing to do with what other people have. Outside of that, am quite content.

Then I realized, I do compare in a much more insidious way. More than just wishing I had someone's car or house, I wish for people to see what I am capable of. And I compare that with others. And I know I am capable. And I get disappointed in how things play out.

I also know I am an oddball. I love my oddballness. But, my inability to be inauthentic sometimes leaves me outside the crowd. Sometimes I just have to zig when everyone else is zagging.

Yesterday morning, I was feeling the weight of this. I went outside to water my plants and listen to the birds and be silent.

It was the peony that spoke.

They're not supposed to grow here in my zone. I tried and failed years ago to grow peonies, and nearly gave up. But I'm trying again. I bought a plant in bloom last year. By my calculations, if it didn't come back, it was just like buying a bouquet of fresh flowers. I watched it seemingly die over winter. All the leaves fell off, leaving brown sticks. Dead. I was sure of it. But, it was tucked away in a place I could ignore, and so I did. Then, out of the blue, beneath those dead sticks, for they were dead, tendrils of green pushed through the soil. Oh hello lovely. I stopped ignoring the plant. I visit almost daily. When it's pouring down rain, I look out the window and will it to grow. I've been speaking to it, and yesterday, with one of its blooms just on the edge of bursting out of its tight bud, it spoke to me:

Hold tight. We'll bloom together.