Maintaining flexibility in heart and spirit can help heal our own wounds and allow us to meet upon the bridge that unites us instead of divides us
So, how flexible are you? And no, I’m not talking about yoga poses…I’m talking about your heart and your ability to share it.
I don’t know about you…but I’ve been pulling all of my tricks out of the box lately in order to navigate this seemingly ongoing assault to my senses. Life has felt a little hard like swimming upstream against the current while dodging branches and debris. I aim for the shores of neutrality, a rock I can rest upon — some stability, solid ground and quiet.
Neutrality doesn’t mean unopinionated by any stretch. I couldn’t do that even if I tried (wink). No for me, ‘neutrality’ is a space where I can sit, exhale, reassess, regroup. It is not a place for kneejerk reactions and mudslinging. It is a place where I declare:
I don’t have to hold your resentments
I don’t have to be as angry as you
I don’t have to hate anyone
I don’t have to pick a team
I don’t have to blame anyone
I don’t have to believe what you believe
I can simply be…me
And if you come sit aside me, I invite you to be…you. I’m holding that space for both of us.
But that’s not what the world is telling us right now. Each side screams, follow us or you’re not my friend. And as ridiculous as that may seem, I’ve actually seen several declarations of this on social media. We have lost the bandwidth for discussion.
Yes please, bring your opinions and your feelings to the table…but can you leave a place for mine?
And while you may think this is all about politics, it’s not. You could basically fill in any conflict you are experiencing, perhaps with a friend, a partner, a colleague, a neighbor. It’s about the need to be right. It’s what we do…we rally people to garner support. It helps us feel better about our choices when we are not alone. And yet, we alone have to live with the ramifications of those choices.
I fear that as we get closer and closer to the U.S. Presidential election, we are getting further and further away from each other — from being able to share thoughts, opinions and beliefs — to come up with really good solutions to complex issues. And you could replace the election with myriad topics; Black Lives Matter, women’s rights, pandemics, vaccines, education, healthcare, economy…the list is endless.
Think about how this is playing out in your own life, or house, family, office, community, social media feed. Are you finding yourself retreating to your own Private Idaho, keeping your opinions to yourself because it’s just easier to not go there? Are you trying to illicit support and/or only hang with those who share your same sway? No judgment if you are. I get it. This shit’s exhausting!
And then of course there is the fear of backlash — when we speak our truth, we make ourselves vulnerable to the reactions of others. I’ve been on the receiving end of that myself. Sometimes those reactions are ugly, unkind and insensitive. Ouch. So why bother?
It made me realize how we are losing our beautiful elasticity to expand our minds, hearts and souls on this journey through the human experience.
We are missing out on the opportunity to commune and converse. We are shutting down, becoming rigid with our opinions like children stomping our feet screaming, my way! And we’ve got to stop it.
God knows I don’t have the answers, but forgive me for saying neither do you. What if we met upon the bridge of US?
Back to politics for a moment, my own family is divided. So what do we do? We don’t talk about it when we get together because it always dissolves into snarky mud-slinging remarks about party lines. Seriously?! And mind you, even my Best Self gets side-stepped and I can go at it with the best of them. Self-righteousness is not our friend and certainly isn’t doing us any favors.
However, I’m committed to showing up better. I want to find a new way of navigating the discomfort of the world. I want to connect with others who don’t think as I do…because I want to understand their why. Or at least be willing to listen and learn. Instead of sarcasm and quick comebacks, what if we all tried a new way. What if we committed to becoming bridges — bridges between the great divide of humanity, particularly at this moment of great isolation?
What if we took a deep breath and instead asked someone, Could you tell me more about why that is important to you? I really want to understand that.
And in the best case scenario, that would lead to their asking you the same. Just imagine that! Regardless, it’s a baby step in the right direction and it plants a seed for something else to take root. It simply feels better to our nervous systems.
I know politics are important. And despite not wanting to get our hands dirty — politicians make decisions about the things that are important to us like the environment, our health and the dignity of our countries. As Best Selfer (and former U.S. Presidential candidate), Congressman Tim Ryan told us a while back, we need to get off our yoga mats and into the conversation. This is our conversation, the legacy and story that we are going to leave. Let’s not leave it to someone else to write.
But when we can’t have the tough conversations, the uncomfortable ones that ruffle our feathers…well, we feed the great divide. Clearly, we don’t need any more pollution; physically or spiritually.
Elasticity is our ability to bring our empathy, compassion and souls into all that we do and encounter.
It is a navigational tool. It allows us to open ourselves — to learn, have aha moments, discover and love deeply. Not every day positions us to be a superhero. Some days are for hiding beneath the covers, nurturing ourselves. Some days are for daydreaming, others for creating. But some are certainly for taking a stand for the things that really matter to us — the kind of things we want to be remembered for. And wisdom is knowing what day it is!
How can we take a step in the direction of being more flexible and receptive to showing up for the kind of conversations we want to author? It takes two to tango and two to have a conversation…let’s try to meet each other in a new story. We’ll meet up with our Best Selves upon that bridge.
When given the choice being right or being kind, choose kind.~ Dr. Wayne Dyer
Are you feeling division in your relationships and world bubbling up, stressing you out and shutting you down? Please share with us in the comments below how you are navigating these tricky waters. Let us know what’s coming up for you.