Saturday, 5 November 2016

Shhhhhhhhh (A perspective: be a quiet advocate for change)

The approach I am working on in my life, both on and off screen is to be a quiet advocate for change. I've learned that you don't (always) need to be ranting and raving to evoke change. Is silence always the answer? Hell no. Sometimes we need to speak up and shout out. Do we ALWAYS need to speak up and shout out? Let me ask you this- does yelling get you far with loved ones? Not really. One of my new favourite quotes is: "and I say to my heart, rave on" by Mary Oliver. I love this because our hearts can and do rave on...everyday.

And our words WILL rave on, like it or not. And both our hearts and words have tremendous power to evoke change... but one approach I find, which works, is raving from the heart- ESPECIALLY when you are at home (irony- home is where we tend to decompress but where we spend the most time on social media and social media is not very relaxing these days). Raving from the heart is quiet. It is calm. It is powerful. When you are passionate and upset, what works? Using social media as a venue to dump your anger and venting for the sake of venting? This whole election has got me so exhausted. I don't even have American friends on my feed so even if I did want to sway a vote, I'm not sure I even have a single Trump supporter in my feed (scratch that, I don't- my friends are too smart) so why would I rave about him unless I was in the States, at a poll, in a picket line or joining some political forum in real life where I could actually cast or sway a vote? I get it, some people love politics and it is their thing. I hate politics and I don't even understand them and I was one of those non-voters for years. Didn't think my vote for the green party would matter. Have I been a registered voter for the past multiple Canadian elections? Of course...I'm a grown ass adult now and I'm just as passionate about our First Nations communities and my country as the next person with half a heart/brain. But I hate to break it to you friends, and I really try not to sound condescending when I say this, but we aren't voting in this election and Trump is already winning by getting you so upset and you are advocating for HIM when you dump his bs onto the next unsuspecting friend/victim. The police at standing rock are also winning when you post pictures of their bruised and swollen victims. Did that victim consent to their image being spewed all over social media? Is feeling shocked and defeated the message they want out in the world? I bet you not. I bet you they would like the time and choice to decide how they are represented in defending themselves and the earth. They need time to heal and then get back up and fight the good fight. You are doing those victims a disservice by posting that image of them at war.  They are peaceful warriors so give them their peace and respect them. They deserve your utmost respect. Be humbled they have taken a rubber bullet in the face for your water, don't exploit them further. Let them do it for themselves and let them decide if it is okay to share. That is why I have only posted about the buffalo tribe descending into the protest. It is peaceful and powerful and we need to see and hear more about their buffalo medicine and their traditions, beliefs and culture. We do not need more anger and more war. Now that is winning.

Do I want to be made upset when I am looking to chill on my phone- no. Do I want to see abused animals on my feed, no. Do I take it out on my passionate friends who have the right to say and post whatever the hell they want? No. Is it their fault I am so sensitive? Nope. What do I do? I adjust my settings and hide disturbing images and choose not to engage in discussions that I disagree with and I turn off notifications for threads I am done with. It works. I tried to quit facebook because of this election and it didn't work- I love social media and it is my outlet too and I will use it however I please. But we each have our own right and responsibility to exist and create safe spaces...and the term "safe space" isn't fluff. People throw around the word 'trigger' now as a joke and there is a real backlash toward people being too pc. Newsflash- people become sensitive and defensive for a reason. We live in a trauma infested society. Most people's lives are touched by trauma in some way and there are very few safe places to talk about it and I promise you from personal experience, facebook is not the place. A therapist's office is! Your home should be. Your best friends home is. Your community is! Get out there and be the change you want to see in the world and heal yourself. Safe spaces are literally everywhere EXCEPT for the internet.

I am a communicator in every sense of the word (hence the blog). Always have been, always will be. I have boxes full of writing from my childhood and anyone who knows me well would agree that I communicate best through type and the written word. If you ask anyone who REALLY knows me (my partner and best friends) will tell you that I am an advocate for children. I do it in my work, most days. Do I use social media as a platform to advocate for children's rights? Yes. But I choose to do it in a positive and enlightening way. Do I post pictures of starving or abused children- is too upsetting for me even though I also agree that our starving and abused children need us and I don't need those disturbing reminders- I already know. When I was little I watched those commercials and I cried. I wore beaded bracelets and named the beads after each child killed in an act of terror. I prayed for them when I heard about war on the radio and I cried watching talk shows when they talked about missing and murdered children. I wrote in to newspapers when I was 14 to tell cars to stop to let me take my sister to school because I feared for her and her friends lives. But I was a scared child. Being exposed to all that did not really make me stronger it just set me back. I lost more nights of sleep and more brain cells to stress than I would like to count and that was even before the internet.

I am an empath (empathy overload) and your words and your images effect us. I have been known to care too much, burn out too quick, take it home with me, and blow out my own candle. And so this is why I write to you, fellow warrior and fellow empath- because we are the most powerful people around and we tend to be the quietest. We make our change through meditation, prayer, ritual, education and self-regulation, self-care and self-love. We know how to calm down. We have done the work (we have been doing it for years, maybe lifetimes). We hate to be told to calm down, but for me... I need it.

I try not to get defensive when those words come my way (from the right person and ya...that applies to my man and my best friend and that is about it) because we all need that. Someone calmer, someone wiser, someone in the right frame of mind to tell us "shhhhhhhhh. Shhhhhh! It is okay. You are okay. Everything is ok. You are going to be fine. Hush now." Sound familiar? It should. It is how we were calmed from the very beginning from our wise, all knowing mothers/fathers/grandparents and caregivers. As an early childhood educator I have found very few techniques that actually calm the raving child and "shhhhhhh" is the single most effective tool I've got when a child is beside themselves upset. It works. Give it a try. Calm those beautiful babies and children in your life...but most importantly, calm your beautiful self. You are doing the world a service. Never underestimate the power of your calm.

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