Yesterday was a tense day for me. As I waited for friends in Las Vegas to check in, I struggled to find the patience to deal with yet another worker who hates his employer and is using the workers compensation (“WC”) to supplement the retirement he hasn’t saved sufficiently for. I found myself arguing with a judge who planned to substitute for a doctor’s testimony his own desire to treat WC as private health insurance and force my client to pay for the employee’s years of poor health choices. In comparison to what more than hundreds of concert-goers were dealing with, this all seemed stupid and self-absorbed.
When I finally heard from the last of my friends, I was drained, but relieved, of course. It was the end of another 12.5-hour workday and time to go for a swim to stretch out the tension in my back and calm my mind. In the pool, no one can see your tears. There, I can release it all and free my mind to focus on the next actions, which still seem overwhelming, if not futile, this morning. I suspect it might be that way for you, too. Hopefully, this will help. As difficult as it may be, we must be the peace we want to see. Feel what you need to feel. Allow yourself the time you need to grieve. Make these Seven Choices as you can:
- Forgive yourself for having conflicts, including about gun laws, blame, and your priorities for the day. We all experience conflict. It is a natural part of living, and at its best, conflict creates the space for us to grow a bit bigger and brighter. We have that option, even under the worst of circumstances.
- Acknowledge yourself for taking any action to resolve this or any other conflict. It is not easy to confront our fears and vulnerabilities, yet here you are, searching for answers and ready for action. Do not judge whether your action is big enough or good enough. Any action is more likely to shift the current circumstances than no action at all, and you can trust yourself to take wise ones when your intention is pure and other-focused.
- Forgive the world for having and creating conflicts. I am having a difficult time with this one, too. I do not understand the hunger for violence and war. I can’t comprehend the need for massive losses of life due to shootings, war, disease, or natural disasters. Sometimes, I wish we could all live long, happy lives and die quietly in our sleep at an old age, but rather than waste my energy cursing the world as it is, I will try to work with it. It might be naive, or even misguided, but I will trust that there is some kind of divine order to this madness, and I will look for ways I can contribute to what I want the world to be.
- Free the emotions. Ignore all of the messaging that tells you some feelings are more appropriate than others. Between my tears and nausea yesterday, I dropped a lot of “f*** bombs” (in a safe environment with my best friend, who also needed to vent her fears, frustrations, and sadness). Occasional tears still leak out of the corners of my eyes, as I write this post. It’s a very natural and human response, and I promise you that you will feel freer if you allow them than if you try to ignore them. Find a private or safe place and ease them out. Take as long as you need.
- Clear your mind. Our minds will connect current events with ones that seem like them. In some ways, those connections will be accurate. In others, we will see causation where there is only correlation. We will try to simplify calculations and declare guaranteed formulas for avoiding what we don’t want or creating what we do. It’s probably not as simple as you think. Keep setting aside every thought that comes from the past, and see what new ideas come into focus.
- Assume you know nothing about anything. Now is the time to be curious. There is likely something we are missing that we haven’t been able to resolve conflicts like these. I know you want to help, and I do, too. But let’s look at the circumstances anew and see what we might have been overlooking. The solutions might not come from experts in any particular specialty. They may come from average people like us who know how to love, listen, forgive, guide, empower, and lead.
- Listen with your third ear. For those of you who are new to my work, your “third ear” is in your heart. Look in the center of the English word for corazon, simjang, cuore, coeur, inima, Herz, etc. H-EAR-T. Listen with compassion and the intent to understand, not for whether someone agrees with you, is right, or is wrong. The only thing we know for certain is that each of us is human, and right now, we each need love, strength, and wisdom. Let’s seek it together.
Feel free to share your thoughts, fears, and ideas (respectfully) below. We are here to support each other and might find what we need in this space, if we keep it safe. xo