I think we're all clued in on what's been happening these days (especially the recent shootings and riots...basically everywhere now) and...it's pretty bad. Isn't it? And there's nothing left to say really in situations like this where the violence is just getting worse with each passing year. It kind of makes one pause and take a step back to figure out where all this is coming from.
First of all, my condolences to those who have sustained losses in ANY of the recent (or not-so-recent) violence that's been happening these days. I have family in Chicago where some of the recent violence has taken place. One family member was in the middle of it and heard bullets whizzing by his ear. Thankfully he escaped physically unscathed. (Psychologically...well, that's a whole other thing altogether.)
I get what it's like being depressed. I understand isolation, loneliness, and a feeling of disconnection from fellow human beings. Especially in our "New Covid-19 World." I get all that.
What I DON'T get is carrying out harm towards others when feeling this way or when being in disagreement...or when trying to make a point about something. To hurt others -- including destroying hard-working peoples' businesses -- is really inappropriate when it comes to trying to make "a point" or to get negative attention.
As time goes on I'm noticing that people are feeling more frustrated, more disconnected, more angry, more helpless...and more out of control. This has been going on for a very long time in this country (and in other places as well). I believe this is why people are doing these things. I may be wrong, but that's just my general assessment. The more off-balance we are becoming as a world, the more these things will not only continue to happen but will happen with greater frequency while more and more people's lives are taken in each incident as these crack-pots get more "creative" in how they can take even more people in one fell swoop.
Pretty soon, people won't leave the house anymore. And the terrorists (including those who are in our own country) will have won. (Yes, these riots are terrorist attacks... Anyone who inflicts pain, death, and fear upon people is a terrorist.)
So, what's the solution to all of this? Is there even a solution?
I don't know. A couple of years ago when I was in Europe, I saw a boatload of Syrian refugees in the middle of the ocean, drove down the very street in Nice, France where the "refrigerator truck terrorist" killed all those people and, a week after departing from Barcelona, saw that there was a terrorist attack there...in the exact same area where we were in Barcelona. (I recognized the art that was painted on the walkway there.) One may think: "Well, that was in Europe."
Now one can and should think: Now it's here, in the United States at any given time and at any given place. (Think about what's going on right now with the riots. Think Vegas, think The Pulse in Orlando, think Sandy Hook...think waaaayyyyy back to 9-11 in case you forgot so, yes, it's HERE too! And it's always been here...and likely always will be until the end of time!)
So...what do you do then? Sit around living in fear? Get depressed? Feel even more hopeless as a nation and as a globe than you did maybe only last week?
Nah. That's definitely not the answer. It can't be. And neither can living safely behind closed doors be the answer either (because who even knows how safe that is anymore).
The answer, I believe, is to keep YOU and YOUR LIFE as balanced as possible. Stay focused and aware of your surroundings. Trust your intuition or your "gut." But don't live in a closet because of fear. Definitely DON'T do that! (Because once you stop living your life out of fear then you die in that moment anyway.)
The question THEN becomes, "How do you stay focused while completely balanced and [gasp] even HAPPY in the midst of all this?" I suppose the true answer differs greatly from one person to the next. For me, I've found that I have to have a deep sense of purpose in what I'm doing, mainly in doing FOR OTHERS and not really for myself. I suggest the same for you. Find some purpose, even if it's just being there for your family and friends. It doesn't have to be this huge sense of purpose to be relevant. Seriously, you don't.
When I was doing my last retreat in Hawaii this past March, I noticed that there was a common theme among many of my students which, before, I would condemn. (I don't anymore.) And that is this: "I just want to make money doing anything so long as I can spend more time with my family while being able to afford to travel and do the things I want to do." While before I thought this was kind of shallow, I later realized that this is exactly what everybody is aiming for. And, perhaps, if EVERYBODY was able to work less (having much less stress) working for themselves (having a sense of CONTROL over their lives) and be able to spend more time with their friends and families traveling and doing what they want (having a better sense of CONNECTION), perhaps everybody would be more BALANCED and more "zen." And zen people don't go out shooting people. They just don't.
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In the meantime, stay happy and healthy, my friend. Life is too short to be sad all the time.
See you at the top!
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