There is so much about life these days that is stressful. We could talk about the pace in which people are moving and the lack of boundaries between work and personal lives. We could go on and on about the financial pressures that people are feeling and the pressure to keep up with the Jones. But it may be the political climate these days, especially with the looming election, that has a lot of people’s anxiety in overdrive.
Where I live in Boston, it can be difficult to have views that aren’t a part of the norm and feel safe enough to share them without being accosted for being abhorrent. This level of agitation with opposing view points (political or not at all) comes up at times within my therapy practice as many young people struggle to tolerate conflict and the emotions that arise from such.
All of this has brought something up to the surface for me .
What is up with the intolerance coming from people who are preaching tolerance??
It has become glaringly obvious that we have become such an emotionally reactive society that people have a hard time tolerating when things aren’t the way they think they should be. Anger has become the justified go to emotion for many. In my therapy practice, I have shared with some people that while their emotions are valid, they are the ones walking around in that inflamed state. I ask “so how does that feel? How’s that working for you?” You may be justified but that doesn’t change the fact that you are the one suffering and struggling on a daily basis.
I have been around a lot of discussions lately that are bringing this into clearer light. At the same time this song came on my Spotify. With tears streaming down my face I was confronted with what is at the heart of my irritation with the anger of the world.
Mary J. Blidge always has of giving voice to the depths of emotion that is often not spoken about. This song and it appears this movie, appear to be speaking to issues of racism in America but I would say the sentiment can be shared about any issue that is a hot button one these days.
”Lfie is a teacher. Time is a healer. And I’m a believer. Like a river wild.”
The song begins and chills run up and down my body. Tears begin to form in my eyes.
“Ego’s a killer, greed is a monster, and love is stronger, stronger than them all.”
Oh and there I go…lost it again.
As I sit here having tea with you I reflect on my own emotions. What is it about this song that brings tears up inside me?
And then it comes to me. From deep inside. It’s the pain that I feel inside from all the challenges and losses that have come over my life so far. It’s the lessons that I have learned and those that are left to learn. It’s the deeper, more sensitive part that feels things so intensely due to my spidey senses being triggered.
“White flag in hand. I don’t want to fight. No lines in the sand. I am on your side.”
”Invisible. No color lines. It’s time we put our, put our, put our differences aside.”
The last handful of years has been riddled with losses. Losses that took a while to integrate: and yet still, at times, come up for clearing. As with the passage of time and the ways life shapes us, we grow older with the wisdom that it brings. A lesson that I learned four years ago with the passing of a dear friend was this:
Life is about Love.
This lesson was learned again a year later when my grandmother passed. And yet again a year after that when I was by my aunt’s side as she buried her wife.
Pain is subjective. There is no comparison between your pain and mine. I don’t mention mine to gain sympathy; I am a strong woman who believes in working through her pain to get to the other side. I have sat with many people in pain over the years and those that come out the other side are the ones that are able to sit with their own pain and allow it to move through them rather than holding onto it for dear life.
We don’t have to compare our wounds to know that we are all wounded in our own ways. It is how we relate to those wounds that matters most. This song, sung by an African American woman speaks to the peace that comes when you are able to let all defenses down and sit in the middle of your pain and others and realize that the lines are more blurred when we see things in gray.
“Love is the answer. Hate is a cancer. Hope of forgiveness. It waters the soul.”
“Our blood is red. We;re not so different. ‘Cause underneath our skin we are identical.”
Inside I am saying ohhhhhh yeah Mary J. Sing it as I look down at my new Chuck Taylors with a smile.
We are are far more similar than we are different. We all have had experiences that have colored our lives. Some people have experienced a type of pain that others haven’t but rarely does anyone escape this life without suffering. If we could pause, feel the breath within us, we might be able to slow our reactions to realize that the pain of the other is our own.
In my career spanning over 20 years, I have sat with Many people who have exhibited homophobia, racism and sexism All of which were struggling deeply with anger, fear and their own injustices. Hurt people hurt people. Their pain is just as deep as the pain of others that they are trying to denigrate. In fact, in some instances, I have felt like their pain lasts longer because they are unable to indemnify with it. Ignorance or avoidance of their own pain, causes them to be stuck in a well of rage that never leads to happiness. As i said to one person who was spewing hatred about “the Muslims,” “The Muslims are out there working, taking care of their children and living their life and you are here in my office yelling about them. What’s wrong with you>”. To which he laughed and said :you’re right.”
I believe that that moment only went as well as it because we had created a bond in which he was not being judged for his racism but instead was being encouraged to bring it up to the surface for discussion. The lighthearted banter we had about it was a part of the discussion that allowed for authenticity as well confrontation in a healthy way.
I mention this not to put myself on any pedestal. I don’t get it right all the time. But I do feel like in order to heal we need to come from a place of love. We need to realize that everyone has a right to be who they are and that it is only in that place of not tolerance but instead acceptance of difference that we can come together to heal.
”White flag in hand. I’m not gonna fight. No lines in the sand. I’m on your side.”
”Invisible. No color life. It’s time we put our, put our differences aside.”
Love is the answer to any and all questions. It;s not easy to get there sometimes but it is the answer. Losing my grandmother was painful but if there is anything that the relaitonship I had with her and with my grandfather taught me it’s that life is about love. They lived a good life together and my grandmother lived for 18 long years after his passing. Inspiring. That’s love.
The pain we feel from life teaches us about resilience and the strength of the human spirit. We need to embrace the lessons as a part of life and not try to avoid or suppress them. We also need to help each other embrace our own woundedness so we may find support through acceptance.
As we move forward through 2020, may we take moments in time to remember that the love is the answer to all questions.
Love is the answer.
Cheers to embracing love and all that life has to offer!