On Conflict, Community, and Not Throwing the Baby out with the Bathwater
Life is a dance with others.
I am compelled to write this to express my gratitude and also my sincere thoughts on the importance of not throwing the baby out with the bathwater. I think it’s very desirable to strive to be so strong and grounded in our own spark that we can actually deal with other people from the heart regardless of whether they agree or disagree with us, as long as they are sincere. And when conflict arises in the community, it is on all of us to guide it toward healing, as opposed to compartmentalization and resulting weakness.
I sing gratitude from my heart to all the good spirits who are guiding us to be grounded in love, to strive for clarity and courage, who help us learn the ropes in the kindest way, who help us heal after doing stupid things and to forgive others for doing same, who breathe strength into us when we need to be strong, who bring the memory of love to the forefront of our very being, who remind us that we have the power to make the change.
I sing gratitude to the indescribable beauty his world, to the wisdom and generosity of nature that has so many useful and pleasant things for us, to the power and kindness of our Mother, who is beautiful all through the whiteness of the poisoned skies, all through the noxious smell of the toxic landfills, all though the nanoparticles of hubris, and all through the invasiveness of cell towers. Beauty is something that can certainly be unseen by those interested in exploring blindness—but it can’t be desecrated. We don’t have the power to desecrate the sacred. And all this ugliness will fall off, with the help from nature—who is stronger than all the crazy villains of the world—and our courage to do things with love will carry our spirits through.
I sing gratitude to the mystery of life that cannot be expressed with words, to the love that shines through everything like a powerful reminder of where we came from to heal this word and enjoy each other to the fullest.
I am grateful to every drop of love in my heart and in my community.
I am thinking about all those times when I didn’t know why things had to be so difficult, why the people I depended on had to be so stubborn in their dedication to the ghosts, why I was alone in my quest for joy, why the obvious benefits of harmony weren’t so obvious to so many, why I had to scream into unreceptive ears, why why why.
I kind of get it.
I am still waiting for a couple of people to see my soul after a long time of not seeing it and to help me walk my destiny because I am not made of steel. I am waiting for it with great excitement. I crave sweetness, and I am ready for it. I have no interest in sadness whatsoever.
But I am not afraid, either. Life is a dance, and I am enjoying it quite a bit.
This morning, I was compelled to write about conflict. I am writing this, with hope, because there is conflict in our community that needs all of us to focus not on logistics or the talking points but on healing and respectful communication where we are at (thank you Steven Newcomb for this phrase). No one is a villain, and we can all use a hand sometimes when emotions run amok. The conflict does not involve me but I want it to go away and give place to healing. Because at a time like this, we really don’t need to be divided into fifteen small camps based on personal conflicts and differences in talking points.
I believe that as a community, it is our job to understand the root cause of the problem (sometimes it’s really about built up frustrations and nothing else), to help the ones overtaken by emotion feel loved and see clearly, and to breathe healing into them and into ourselves. Or try, at least. People and relationships can be messy but now is not the time for ripping ourselves apart. There is no guarantee in this because there is never a guarantee but it’s a fact that all of us have at some point been overtaken with either fear or frustration or some kind of unresolved emotion, and blessed are the ones who had a loving community to help them through the mess. There is no talking point on this planet that is worth foregoing the very thing that we are fighting for, respect for the spirit.
We are in challenging times, it’s easy to get jumpy, and yet it’s in our best interest to stay strong and to use our power toward intelligent and honest healing. With sincerity.
People are complex. Disagreements are a part of our journey. Conflict can be therapeutic if resolved sincerely, from the heart, with the desire to work things out toward healing. In fact, it can be beautiful if done from the heart. And yes, it can be hard as hell but there are no good alternatives to doing the work of healing. The alternatives are a nosedive. Welcome to planet Earth.
What I have discovered for myself is that there is great danger in getting too attached to own talking points, and that the real healing happens in relationships. As in, we all have a sacred thing to do, we believe what we believe, we defend our sacred, we carry our message, all this is beautiful and meaningful. But our message exists to heal the world and our community, and that requires dealing with the world and the community as is, including those who disagree with us, in sincerity.
The trick is to be so grounded in own heart that dealing with disagreements does not feel dangerous, and we can do it with love. After all, the bigger picture is a mystery to all of us.
If it feels overwhelming, it is a real feeling, yes it sucks, but the world is still exactly what it is and it is not going to heal itself if we don't deal with our relationships from the heart of hearts. It just means we need to pray for growing more strength. I am saying it not as a theoretician, I have done every stupid thing on the book, and.... you know. I grieved my own stupid actions, I prayed and prayed for knowing what to do, and what I am saying here is a result of many failures to act wise, and learning from that (hopefully, because trying to walk in wisdom is something that is hard work that is continuous).
We are here. It's messy. There is no instructions manual. Just the real world, real people, no perfection, a selection of messes to deal with, hope, passion, and a prayer for healing and for being guided to do things wisely.
May our hearts guide us.
This talk by Sobonfu Some whose work I love (as I’m sure you’ve noticed since I quote her all the time) and to whom I am grateful for her beautiful wisdom, has a very good bit about conflict. I also highly recommend her book, as well as this video below.
Additionally, this article by Turtle Lodge’s Dave Courchene is also great, I often come back to it.