(This post is more personal than usual; it may not be your cup of tea. Fair warning.)
The world has been chipping away at me this week, more than usual, it feels like. I “listened” via Twitter as Donald Trump held a rally in my former home state and used xenophobia and fear-mongering to whip up the crowd–and they complied, because that message has such strength right now. He then won all five states that had primaries on Tuesday, which includes my former state and the one I live in now. The UK voted against a proposal to allow in unaccompanied Syrian refugee children. People are boycotting Target over bathrooms. There are lots of problems with public bathrooms, but transgender usage isn’t one of them. My husband having to bring our daughter into a men’s room when they’re out together–that stinks. The way the women’s room always has a longer line–also a problem. (I’ve snuck into the men’s bathroom before.) But let’s focus on a made-up problem that has its root in hatred and fear. And then, the Baltimore Police Department shot a 13-year-old boy with a BB gun who was running away from two plainclothes police who got out of an unmarked car, and then they took his mother in for questioning after she saw her baby bloodied on the street, threw her into a cell for “belligerence,” and wouldn’t let her go to the hospital for hours, and then issued remarks that managed to blame both the boy and his mother for the whole thing. My heart.
I want, sometimes, to shut it all off, not let it in, focus on my own little life, but I can’t. Why? Because love. I made this quiltlet rather quickly, with the idea of mimicking black-out poetry. If I did it again, I’d make the cut-outs smaller. I may return to this idea in the future. Last night I needed to get it down, though. I’m not a religious person. I was raised Catholic but I don’t believe in organized religion (for myself; for others, I believe in freedom to worship as they want and hope they allow others the same freedom) or God or an afterlife. I believe in the here and now, in doing the best we can not for some promised reward later on but because we are part of a common humanity, linked, whether we like it or not (or admit it or not) to every other living thing on this planet, including people who live differently. I am not a Buddhist, but that’s what I relate to most. One of the most useful meditations–and I generally meditate while running because I am terrible at sitting still meditation but running clears my mind in a wonderful way–is loving-kindness meditation. You start with sending loving feelings towards yourself, then work outward, beginning with people you find it easy to love and ending with someone you’re having problems with.
Let me tell you, the practice of loving someone who is causing you pain, whether intentionally or not, is so valuable. Sometimes life drops that situation in your lap and you don’t even have to go looking for it. We humans can get caught up in the idea of “winning” (if you have more than one child you’ve witnessed this a hundred times a day; my two youngest are struggling with it right now). What is accomplished, though? Letting go of that idea of getting the best of someone is freeing. I am disheartened and dismayed and overwhelmed by all the hatred floating around this country right now. It is worth reminding myself, always, to start from a place of love and common humanity, even if it seems like so many people are spitting on that idea.
So what is the why of anything in this life? Love. Because love. Carry on with love. xo