Offense Taken

The news is addictive. Observing the reactivity to the current president and his machinations are prime addiction material – there’s always something going on – something about which to Take Offense.

I come from a family where drama flows in the bloodstream.  I think most families have in their DNA some form of drama – with tendrils in various arenas:  politics, religion, money, philosophy, Chevrolet vs Ford, Cool Whip vs Redi-Whip – fill in the blank.

When talking with my family, one can usually anticipate a dramatic encounter. Regardless of topic, a position of having Taken Offense will already be present prior to engaging in a discussion with someone believed to hold a differing position. The ‘conversation’ will be one-sided and decided.

This, in actuality, is an adversarial exchange – a masquerade of true relationship.  But there IS drama – energizing, never-ending drama.

For me, aging provides some ability to pause when new information comes in as my processing is slower.  Blessedly, with that slow-down, it takes a while to get spooled up for the drama, and frequently the moment passes for an extreme reaction.

The New York Time’s Daily Podcast for 8-22-17 was an intriguing look into the drama of a former White Nationalist’s family relationship.  But there was something more interesting in the interview that has tendrils in the drama our Nation is currently experiencing, and that the therapist in me found astonishing:

The White Nationalist Party’s reaction to the election of Barak Obama was the mirror image to the Liberal’s unfolding reaction to the election of Donald Trump.

In fact, if you are able to blot out the references to party and candidate names, you might be hard pressed to identify which group’s reactions you were overhearing.

Would you concede that fellow Americans are family as we consider the current divisive situations?  If so, then as a divided family, we again confront the multitudinous arenas in which we disagree.  To be successful in resolving any issues, we must be willing to abandon the energy of and our addiction to the drama.  We must demonstrate less reactivity, outrage, and disgust – in short, we must not Take Offense.

What we must consider is how to demonstrate responsiveness with listening, processing, asking and thinking – which is a quieter, more measured, less offensive, albeit a riskier posture. Riskier, because here is no guarantee such an exchange can happen.  ALL must participate in a posture that encourages exchange of views and promotes some semblance of humility, which is where learning about each other can take place.  This is where and how relationship happens.  And it is within relationship that we have the ability to resolve our differences.

The drama is not helpful.

If those of us on ANY side continue to engage in accusing, blaming, bludgeoning, shaming and hating – which manifests in the immediate reaction of having Taken Offense – we will not, and cannot, hear the depth of the other’s pain, nor can we share our own pain: we will have both already decided that the other is wrong.

While that makes for good and juicy drama, it destroys not only the possibility of relationship but also any hope for change.

 

 

 

 

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Looking for the Rock

“Where have you been hiding the rock under which you have been hiding your light?”

asked the Goddess.

“I am not a writer, Goddess.”  I stated, never even looking up from my seat on the deck to see where she was this time.

Her response was to breathe gently on the windchimes.

“What in the world could I say that hasn’t been said or that someone couldn’t say better or that would have any impact at all on the world as it is.”

This time, she landed in her Chickadee form on the birdbath, took a drink, looked at me, and flew off to the pine tree.

“I don’t like arguing with you – you won’t argue.” I chided, looking back down at my knitting.

That was Sunday.  This morning, as I did my little walk around the apartment complex, she called her nonsense from the trees in her Cardinal voice:  “cheer, cheer cheer”.

I ignored her pompom waving.

A bit later when at my computer, I chanced upon a draft from 2016 hiding in my e-mail.  A piece I’d written in response to a dream I’d had.  I read it – it is actually pretty good (even if I say so myself).

Am I supposed to write?  I’ve tried many times to write on a regular basis – failing miserably to be consistent and faithful.  A podcast I listened to last weekend reiterated the phrase – if you want to be a writer, ya gotta write. (I think that was the Goddess, too. She is nothing if not persistent – and ubiquitous.)

I do have the desire to write – I enjoy the process when I do it, I just don’t do it.  I guess writing is just another thing about which I fear failure and need approbation – I hate the idea that I need somebody to tell me I’m good enough – because that’s what this is all about:  I am still looking for approval from the outside.

(The Goddess is lurking somewhere around here as I write this – with her reminder that “seeking outside approval is a waste of time” and echoing Yoda’s “Do, or do not: there is no try”.)

Ok, Goddess. I’ll write,  If (and I mean IF) I write, it’s only practice.  Til I retire.  When I don’t knit (that’s you’re fault, too). And it’s only for me and you.  For now.

(Guess who just cued the sun to pop out from behind the clouds.)

Where DID I hide that rock?

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Images without photographs

Stuff I saw this week:

~A man with only one leg shoving his sidewalk – he hopped between scooping shovels-full of snow: scoop-hop/scoop-hop.

~Two people wrapped in blankets running down NE Washington Avenue toward the bus stop – it was below 0. The blankets flew behind them like ragged superhero capes.

~A late model Buick, amid the traffic of shiny BMWs and Cadillacs, headed for the State Capitol with this sign posted in the rear window:
“In 1933 Hitler abolished unions”

I’m sharing in text because I was not able to snap pictures – but these images remain with me, perhaps a commentary on life in Madison, Wisconsin. I’m not sure what I think about all these images; I just know that they touched me in some way and I feel compelled to share them.

Posted in spirituality, The Washington Advevnture in Madison, What I Saw, Writing | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment