There should be a lot of naval gazing happening in the western world lately. A lot.
Truth spoken, there should be naval gazing done world wide, every single day of our lives, but in recent weeks, there's more need than ever, I think, to look inwardly. To reflect on what we've learned as a society, as human beings, as contributors to daily active lifestyles, as parents, wives, sons, daughters and husbands.
We know certain truths at different stages of our lives, but nothing is ringing more poignantly for me this last few weeks than this one "how would I do things differently if given the chance?"
Truth is there's plenty I'd do differently, and most definitely plenty I am pleased with the way I did it the first go round. And this is one of the reasons I'm particularly reflective this week. If you look at the global stage and then you do an activity like the one offered up by the To Write Love on Her Arms people, you learn that there is a real place in this world for every single one of the people who inhabit her. And if that's true, then really, why are we all so militantly determined to change them? If everyone has a purpose, surely none of those possible purposes is harm toward others. Surely none of that purpose can be to hate, deride, denigrate, convert, bully, be victim, be coward, be unsure. None of that purpose can be second guessing, and hesitation...because...what if today were your last day? Have you lived your purpose? Have you done right by your purpose? Have you had the opportunity to understand what that purpose has been? Has it even mattered what that purpose was?
I don't think I have most of these answers. I think the purpose of lifetimes are the sole deliverance of these answers in piece meal. But that said, surely, if we agree with this admittedly naive sounding diatribe, in no way shape or form does it condone tyrannical power tripping, extremist conversion and hate crimes. It doesn't condone disrespect for a single living being anywhere...which is also admittedly quite Buddhist...so why do we see it?
Well, a devout Christian would argue that it's evil, satan, adam and eve and that damned apple of course. Any child would tell you it's because "he started it" pointing awkwardly to open space - or was that an extremist muslim, jihadist, or some other form of terrorist? Would it be a stretch to say that drug lords and human traffickers in Africa and elsewhere are all doing it cuz they think it's right, or because somehow they've learned they are better off trafficking than being trafficked? Or that a rapist, molestor or murderer is doing it for kicks or to silence beasts within that feel less than, victimized, and who need to feel some sense of individual power over something else? The goal of this isn't to patronize, insult or even empathize with the bad people in our world. I couldn't...but I can ask why and expect a fairly reasonable explanation.
So much in this world aims at devolving us, breaking us down...making us implode upon ourselves. There's no rational explanation and no religious one I'm much interested in hearing frankly. As far as faith goes, I don't think it gets a pass from reality full stop. There has to be a grounding in what's practical and relevant to the world we live in, or let me tell you, I don't buy it.
So while we reflect on where we were 12 years ago when terrorist occupied planes flew into buildings, fields, and military compounds and we're listening/watching world leaders stand up and talk loudly about whether or not to open up yet another can of whoop ass in a country and a blood bath no one else has any business being in, while we ignore atrocities that are happening in countless other jurisdictions, well, I need to ask myself the kinds of questions you find on the To Write Love on Her Arms site just to feel a little less insane and victimized.
I have to wonder if we all actually did this for even 5 minutes as a global population, could we have a peaceful 5 minutes across the globe...and maybe even a minute more while we took a deep breath to appreciate ourselves after reading it back through? Does so much of our hatred for others, and our need to change them stem from an inability to recognize our own victories? Does it stem 100% from a lack of self esteem? I'm guessing at least that a lot of it does.
So why I can't be replaced?
I am the only one who could be Maggie's Mommy.
I am the only one who knows how vitally important that bunny is.
I am the only one who can translate my husband's thoughts.
I am the only one who makes him laugh with his belly.
I am the only one my mom calls Best Friend.
I am the only one who thinks like me.
I am the only one who speaks like me.
I am the person who has held on to hope after 40 years of proof that hope can be futile.
I am the only me there is.
I have so much more to see and do and experience. I would like to see a world in tact. I would like to experience happy people, and while I would never expect utopia, I would hope to see a world where it's safe for my daughter to travel to any country without crippling fear. I would like the world to naval gaze for 5 minutes like I just did, and see if that actually changes even one small part of the world.
Here's to hope.