Division. It’s everywhere around us. Just take a look around. If you can’t see it immediately, strike up a conversation with someone and sure enough, you’ll hear a story of “they did this and that is wrong….” or, “I think she/he should have been….” something along these lines. WE ALL DO IT! I’m definitely not above this. Our world is divided in many ways by 2 opposing ideas which usually comes down to; Us vs.Them or Them vs.Us.
Now after reading my few examples, you probably have had a few situations in your own life, pop up in your head! Or it could be on the WORLD level with politics or injustices of some kind. There appears to always be two forces in every situation. By now, you see the division that is all around you. But maybe you could consider this,
What happens when you think about being UNITED with that person or group of people?
It changes the landscape. It begs the question how can we ever be united with our enemies? Yes, enemies. We’ve made enemies with each other. In your mind, you’ve created a war with a number of people. Anyone at any time becomes an enemy when you declare that you are right and they are wrong. Even those you have never met become your enemies under these strict rules. Simply because you do not see eye to eye on things. Can you be united with that person or people? When you ask that question, thinking about the situation, what happens? Maybe it’s too early to see them in this way.
You may say, I HATE ANYONE WHO for DOING THIS or THAT. But if you release them from that one thing they did or who they voted for or what they said that one time, WHO do they become for you?
Do you see them differently? Can you see them in a new light?
How can we get there? It takes compassion, an open mind, forgiveness of yourself and them, self-awareness, and a HUGE willingness to change YOUR point of view, even if at first it’s just for one moment. Because in that one moment you actually saw things through the eyes of LOVE. Little by little you will see things less on the divided sides and more on the united front.
You might ask: Why should I do this? Well, you don’t have to do anything, of course. That is the normal status of the whole world, right? But if you are looking for real change, which if you are here reading this article chances are, you are. Well then, change comes ONLY when we allow it into our hearts. Problems and solutions can only rise up from a compassionate heart.
If every day you go into your work thinking, “They are all against me.” Then the evidence will prove that. But if you think another way: “They love everything I do!” Well, over time or maybe in an instant you will see evidence of that and you might just have a better experience at work. Okay, I know what you are thinking, ugh this is positive Polly thinking stuff and it is NOT reality Susan! I agree. You can’t just jump into this space without truly wanting change nor should you do it if it feels inauthentic. But if every day you are looking for a fight then FIGHT you are gonna get!! But here’s the thing, change first starts when you are being 100% responsible for your life. I learned that from Tony Robbins. When you do take responsibility, you own everything in it. Everything. It starts with what you generate in your head. Your Thoughts.
A lot of people don’t want to do this. They want to stay in the victim of circumstances phase. The RIGHT vs. WRONG perspective. It’s comfortable and easier to make it all about other people and events. If you let go of this mentality then you become FREE of circumstances. You are able to play with any opposition as a golden opportunity to learn and grow. It was meant to be there for you to learn something. Or maybe it is there to direct you away from something, and towards a new way, a different opportunity, or a new business partner or to make you feel ready for what is coming next! When you are in this playful place, even taking the wrong bus to work becomes an interesting adventure or an opportunity with a surprise in store just for you. Life then becomes a more enjoyable, more of what you want and less like you’ve been handed a bad set of cards. In this way, you become UNITED to everything and everyone because you aren’t rooted in a held belief which ultimately is creating separation from others.
A huge teacher of this way is Jesus of Nazareth. I risk using him in this article because I know it will create division in those who read just his name. So much has been attached to his name that we can hardly say it without people drawing some lines. But I’m doing it because he was one of the greatest teachers on this subject. It is my opinion that shouldn’t be tangled up in religious ideologies or political alliances. He will be present here just like Tony Robbins is. The lesson, loosely translated by me, to treat everyone you meet and know as a brother or sister.* When you do it becomes harder to strike them down with words of hate and division. They are your family. And we always love our family without question even when we don’t understand them. This is a way to step into compassion and begin to free us from being divided. “I don’t agree with Susan now but I can see what she is trying to say. I will give that some thought.” Eventually, this will bring peace and joy to everyone. This is how we can find our way back to union. But it does take practice!
*1 Peter 3:8 Live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
By Martin Niemöller (1892–1984)
*source information below.
This weekend, I watched my Facebook feed blow up with the news of the Muslim Ban being signed in and that protests were in progress at JFK airport to help free unsuspecting Muslim travellers. They were banned from entry to the US because they were from a land on the new President’s order. WHAT! I’m an American living on the other side of the world, looking in horror that this has happened. My heart was comforted and tears fell when I saw those people at the gates of JFK chanting and representing who we really are! These citizens took action. They were so willing to do the right thing and stand up for those people locked inside the airport. That is LOVE! That is UNITY. It takes bravery because whenever you put your voice and actions together in a place where there are police, you might be asking for more than you bargained for! Look at The Standing Rock’s peaceful protest. Tear gas, raging dogs, and jail time the whole thing to protect a greedy corporation’s investment.
It got me thinking about my voice and my actions. Where have they been all these years? I subsequently let them die with my hope of a better place that was about equality and fairness to all. I, too, had become complacent. It happened when living in DC for 7 years with an administration that I absolutely did not agree with. I learned then my voice was not “appreciated” when it came to his policies. I realized year after year that this was happening and I couldn’t do much but vote for change. I was there when a plane flew over our heads to come crashing down on to the Pentagon. Colleagues and friends who worked nearby in potential harm’s way. Years following the Executive decision would come to go to war. I worked for a company that very much profited from the Iraqi war, in other words, the hunt for weapons of mass destruction. Still, not agreeing, nor speaking or writing any politician to stop the madness, I remained silent. I realized, we were now a country who fully handed over our good sense of thinking to FEAR. It was always there but now we had something to point to in justification, 9-11, Osama bin Laden. And most of us wanted to feel safe. So… complacency won.
Here we are in a time that seems like right out of all those lovely popular dystopia books; Divergent, Hunger Games, and I see a lot of people talking about the ever popular, 1984 by George Orwell. But I see the people coming together in beautiful ways to put an end to these awful heinous attempts to block out freedoms that many fought wars for and protested for, years before I was born. I realize now, it is time to say what I think and be brave. It is time to stop thinking that it is too late, that I am not important or not enough to stand UP for the rights, morals and values I believe in. If not me, then WHO? And what happens if NO ONE does anything. What then?
This is what the quote above speaks to so beautifully. I saw someone quote Martin Niemöller in the comments of a LIVE feed on the JFK Airport protest. A powerful quote that is a great wake-up call to remind us, that we are them. Incidentally, I am an immigrant in another country.
When power is put in the wrong hands, WE ALL ARE VULNERABLE! May we no longer be silent and may all our voices be heard.
January 27 was the International day of remembrance of the Holocaust. May we never forget.
*United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Accessed on [January 29, 2017], https://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10007392