Who Has the Power?

Silence is a response, deafening. It fells the tree in the forest. It may be centuries before anyone even notices, as no one heard the fall.

When white supremacists march in the streets but no one waves a flag in response, who has the power? Certainly not the ones carrying AK-47s. They only have a parade permit.

It is not that hate isn’t powerful–it is–its appetite is insatiable. We need not feed it. Hate is ego run amok–fear.

I don’t know about you but I cannot remember the last time my ego stopped chattering, which is not to say it always gets its way but it does far too often.

Silence is the power of emptiness. Without an audience, what good is the bully pulpit? Silence is the one state the ego cannot abide.

It is a coat of many colors—always a choice—perhaps best saved for last because silence knows no equal. It is deafening in its inattention and cannot be defeated. It is its own narrative, invincible and not inactive.

Silence carries with it a sobering responsibility—facing change as it happens—not as we would have it revealed.  I find this really hard, at times impossible.

Life turns on a dime, one side or the other. Whether heads or tails, each iteration is new, no matter how the label.  Sometimes, we look longingly–with hope- and other times we rue the side. To what purpose, either one?

Change does not ask for or require permission. Trees fall in a forest or don’t. Some I hear and others not. I don’t have a say. What I have is life.

I want to live in a world where all lives matter but that is not this planet and never has been. I don’t want white supremacists and Neo-Nazis marching in the streets anywhere but they are and do. Fear is for mobs.

Change is the stuff of centuries. I remind myself of that–now–on a daily basis.  I did not always, a mistake. Mostly, I have viewed change through the lens of history.

For me, context matters. It is how I accept that life is impermanent, that change is its own master. That means I accept all that I am—my shortcomings wrapped in my privilege—my history of being human.  I am responsible for me–all of me.

I do my best to take that context into every day, remembering that my past is not my present. There is nothing in my past that I can undo. That tree has fallen.

The hardest is to wear the armor of compassion always–first for myself so what I offer to the world is genuine. Compassion shatters ego—silencing it with action–a life-giving light.

No darkness can withstand compassion. It is its own narrative. The open heart is not the cloak of sycophancy or the “good soul” who never takes an uncomfortable step.

Do not underestimate the shield of compassion. It is a narrative like no other, a response to the hollow fear of white supremacy. Compassion is life for all always.  No exceptions, no distinguishing characteristics.

Unwittingly, the white supremacists have revealed us. They have ripped us open—ego usually does—but it is a boomerang, I suspect.  No ego ever listens much less hears.

It is not the change we want or some expected–this upheaval–but it has been centuries in the making. It is our narrative of we the people. This republic still stands, although divided.

We are far from coming to grips with all that we are—that is a long moment—change has more to reveal, I suspect, much more. That means accepting responsibility. Change always does.

It turns at will, this life that upends us at the most inconvenient times. I cannot think of a time when change was convenient—it is its own master.

Acceptance that we are here to experience life is to let go of the fallacy of control. To cling is completely illogical. We are a long way from that kind of acceptance but I think we are learning not every forest is felled by fear.

Silence is a Response

Life is loud, the constant chatter of a unified life. The more we connect with each other, the more we learn about ourselves. Yet, there are moments when a silent response may benefit us most.

We live with the daily fallout of nonsense that has been increasing over the last two decades but in the last two years, the social and political climate of the planet has completely changed. Hot spots are everywhere. Frankly, we do not know what to do so we text what we do not know.

In this immediate world, an emoticon or single parentheses with a colon is acceptable but the larger fallacy in all this chatter is oranges become apples and then later, as needed, apples turn into oranges. There isn’t a logical fallacy that is out-of-bounds.

I offer this: silence is a sound response preferable to the chatter of logical fallacies. There is nothing new in the virtue of silence but as we reach across, up, down and around the globe, we are connecting with all we can be, and the possibilities are endless.

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How we connect with one another in the ether seeps into our physical relationships, particularly those conversations of the heavy heart, the ones that thud: conversations we no longer want to have much less start; conversations that reveal a truth we never saw until we realize it was there always. Revelation and resonance are pure, often painful.

In a recent blog post, Sabrina Reber tells us: “Understand that when we resonate ‘strongly’ with the pain and suffering in others, it is a reflection of our own inner pain that has not been healed. STRONG REACTIONS to anything outside ourselves are always a reflection of our own inner turmoil.”

Other people are mirrors for us, even when we look away–keep the chatter on them–as we tweet or text a response to relieve our own discomfort.

“When you find yourself having a strong reaction to an external issue ~ STOP. Turn it around and say ~ ‘this is my stuff.’ This is your place of POWER ~ because you are accepting responsibility for yourself/your emotions/your feelings/your vibration ~ and only then will you be able to tap into the underlying truth of the issue so you can create change” (Reber).

A response is a thoughtful decision including whether or not to respond. There is so much chatter in the outer world  but if we listen silently and allow our egos to chatter, judge or interpret inside our heads, then we’ll know whether or not to respond but even better, we will know what to respond.

Silence is a straightforward action, and the fact that silence is a possibility for each one of us in every moment at a cost we determine is the very power we seek in chatter.

Truly, “it is time for us to stop expecting someone outside of ourselves to make the changes on this planet we so desire to see. Our power for change revolves around the SELF……one person at a time” (Reber).

Rhythm of ROW80 Sunday Scheduling:

This week, we examine conflict in the Idea and Conflict workshop with Bob Mayer.  As he says, it will be a challenge. This past week, I struggled with the kernel idea of my novel, which is clearer but not quite there. The kernel idea exercises require the writer to peel back layer after layer of story. It’s quite rigorous, and I have spent about five hours a day with variations on the exercise. In the process, I am writing a lot of back story.

Beyond my workshop writing, I am generating at least 1,000 words per day  for blog posts as well as some creative nonfiction. In this regard, I have exceeded my original word count of writing 250 words per day in this first round of ROW80.