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Thursday, July 30, 2015

Universal Outrage

I've been told more than once that we are only given as much as we can manage in life, so if you have a life full of challenges, you must be strong because you're surviving.
I'm not so sure that applies to anyone anymore.
We've all had more than our fill of ugly.

One day after the remarkable lion, Cecil was found murdered and mutilated I started seeing posts wondering...

"Why aren’t we as universally outraged over Sandra Bland’s death as we are over Cecil the lion?"

I don't think this headline meant to imply that if you posted things about Cecil but you didn't post anything about Sandra you are an asshole; and I don't think it meant that if you shared information or thoughts about Sandra Bland and didn't comment on anything about Cecil the lion you are unaffected by it.

It isn't that #blacklivesmatter means black lives matter more - it is simply that black lives matter as much- and if it needs to be said, and it absolutely does-we are failing. Badly. And right now judging by headlines -as a collective humanity, we suck.

I think that shocking information is shot into our faces like clay pigeons out of a cannon and we are just trying to make some fucking sense of the mess we are surrounded by in our seemingly normal day to day lives.
Both of these souls, Sandra Bland's & Cecil the lion's were mercilessly slaughtered right off of this earth, right in front of all of us; and while we argue about which death is worse or more hurtful or more important or more senseless, our computer screens will refresh and we'll be force-fed our next heartbreaking headline to try to make sense of.

A number of years ago I saw a bumper sticker that read, "If you're not outraged, you aren't paying attention."
At the time, it was probably in reference to the Canadian government. I'm pretty sure it was specifically referring to Stephen Harper's "You won't recognize Canada when I'm done with it" threat. Since then, I have become increasingly more outraged -by a growing number of issues.
Sometimes I encounter people who aren't aware of the things going on right around them, and I think- You lucky naive fucks. I bet you still sleep at night all the way through until morning, don't you? Because I have learned from personal experience that the more I am aware of, the more it feels like I am fighting a losing battle.
But we all can't be aware of everything that needs our attention...

For example, I can't believe that there are is a single Canadian who hasn't heard of Idle No More. But I meet them almost daily, and they aren't idiots. They are good, intelligent people- they just haven't heard of this important movement -that is in my opinion, the only way back to the Canada I thought I was already living in.
So I tell these people who don't know, that in December 2012, the chief of the Attawapiskat First Nation, named Theresa Spence, requested a meeting with Stephen Harper to discuss the lack of humanity for indigenous people of Canada- and he ignored her. In an attempt to garner his attention, she was forced to hunger strike because these issues she needed to discuss with him were of the utmost of importance. Still Stephen Harper ignored her-and so she stayed in a teepee in Ottawa for weeks and weeks over Christmas. Still he arrogantly chose to publicly turn his back on her. On us.
In another attempt to gain the attention of this country's "elected leader" First Nations youth walked 1600KMs to Ottawa to meet with him - Stephen Harper chose to have a meeting with Panda Bears instead.
Four educated women who knew these meetings were integral - not only to all indigenous people of Turtle Island, but to ALL Canadians- decided to do something about it. They soon found out that everybody and anybody paying attention felt the same way- and Idle No More was born.

Day in and day out we are, all of us, inundated with bad news, horrific images and violent videos that weren't filmed on a Hollywood set for entertainment. On the contrary. Irresponsible corporations waging war on nature with bursted oil pipes no one wants, over-flowing tailings ponds experts warned them about, the destruction of once protected lakes - the list goes on and on...

Before the internet -especially before Facebook-most of us probably hadn't seen a dead body. If we had it was a rare occurrence. Something to get over or to talk about discretely in hushed tones and be really and legitimately shocked by.
Before Facebook, if you wanted to see these things, you had to actually search for these graphic images. Even the nightly news didn't used to show blood and gore. But lately- these grotesque moments are captured on cell phones are loaded up within seconds of the wretched event.
And then they just simply appear on our feeds and timelines between hilarious videos of cats named Maru sliding into boxes that are too small for him and celebrity gossip. Instagram captures of dead Palestinian children with their faces blown off- cute kitten- selfies of people proudly posing over dead exotic animals- funny dog- and videos of police all over North America beating and choking and killing black people, indigenous people, or people who merely exercise their right to protest these unconscionable actions that are carried out by so called authority.
We are inundated by these severe and horrific images that are casually woven between self-help memes and Some-e Cards.

But just where does that leave us?

We are locked into a fast paced progressive time that we seem incredibly unprepared to manage.
The threat of global collapse is upon us with climate crisis and still here in North America, we binge watch Netflix and post selfies like everything's just fine, or at the very least going to be okay.
Nothing much stops us all at once and makes us look. Remember 9/11/2001? Everybody stopped that day.
That shock ripple lasted more than a day-but now we've got shock down to a few hours or even only moments of consideration.
How in hell do we start checking off the mounting bullet points on our ToDo list of social responsibilities when it just seems to be getting longer and longer? How much more can we all take before we are permanently damaged by Post Traumatic Shock of our every day lives?

We're all aching for compassion to be the knee jerk reaction to tough situations again.
Yes, again. Because not so long ago, we were all -mostly all- compassionate and kind. We aimed to be happy and loving people to each other. We were working toward an end to wars, we were working to abolish racism and sexism. We wanted equality.
We all simply wanted peace in our little lives.
There was Martin Luther King. There was hope. There was Gandhi. There was hope. There was Band-Aid. There was hope.

-We need to get that hope back.

I attended a meditation seminar a few years ago and when it was over I raised my hand and asked the question, "I understand that meditating makes us mentally stronger and more peaceful - but what do I do with my anger towards Stephen Harper? Am I supposed to just sit here and meditate while he destroys everything I love about this country and everything we depend on for the actual survival of our species??"
His answer was "Yes."
So-obviously- I was confused and needed clarification and I say, "By sitting here and meditating I am doing more damage to Harper's government than by going out and protesting?"
Again he said, "Yes. Because by making yourself a stronger and more peaceful person you are fighting him. But you can do both, too..."
It's the old, "put the oxygen mask on yourself first or you can't help anyone else" equation.

By sitting in silence and finding the goodness and peace within myself I can find it more easily everywhere else in the world. But  that doesn't mean i have the right to ignore the atrocities.  You have to first admit there is a problem, so bearing witness is integral to healing.

I trip over the line of being informed and being outraged every damn day, but if I make sure I am being the best person I can be, I am winning. I am kicking Stephen Harper right in his evil, greedy, self-serving ass. He can't make me block it out. He can't make me give up. He can't make me look the other way. He makes me fight harder for goodness. He makes me want you to see it too.

We all need to stop the judgements like who cares more about a lion or a black person because we are capable of caring very deeply about both. Comparisons don't need to be made.

We need to be responsible with our own selves, and then it's inevitable that we will be once again compassionate toward each another. We can admit without shame that we worship and respect our mother earth together, the way it's meant to be.

If we focus our intentions on our personal place in the world with real integrity and compassion we can all care about all of it. Our hearts will smash open and become bigger & brighter and our minds & intentions will become clearer. We can do better.

-We are doing better.

So, I am going to still
-witness the ugly so that I can know that the authorities in Zimbabwe will manage the poachers and protection of exotic animals. They aren't in it alone, I care.
I am still going to witness it, but
-let the Americans deal with the police state and demand that police operate within the confines of morality and real actual justice. They aren't in it alone, I care.
I am still going to
-share the disturbing images from Gaza and continue share them until the ugly stories become beautiful stories of Peace. They aren't in it alone, I care.
And here from my little spot in this world
-I am going to do everything in my own personal power to help reclaim our country from the psychotic maniac Stephen Harper.
Because if any one of these things was in it's proper place, in compassionate and peaceful order-the others would naturally follow.

-I'm counting on it.

I'm starting with me.

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