In our Anger…

In these days of chaos and fear it’s easy to be consumed with anger.

But what if?

What if we focused our anger less on the outrage of the day, and more on the systemic inequality within a system which claims justice for all? What if accepted the truth that our society values some lives more than others, and that the presumption of innocence is not a right afforded to everyone? What if we understood that we must first accept the truth of where we are, but we can hope to move forward?

What if voting matched polling on issues of the underserved, human rights and collective healthcare for all?  What if love and concern for others motivated us more than our fears? What if our actions in real life matched our beliefs?

What if  one day we realized that we are the government? That what is happening in this country is our responsibility and that history will hold each of us accountable for what we did and did not do in this moment? When we ask, “why won’t they do something?”, do we realize that the “they” is us? There is no one else.

What if we didn’t care where we served, as long as we served? What if we didn’t care who got the credit, as long as it got done? What if each of us, consistently, loved one another, as we loved ourselves?

What if we realized that the best way to prevent these events is to produce a climate of accountability, beforehand? What if we realized that the best way to save lives is to love life in all its wonderful aspects? What if we realized that the best way to move forward is to have faith, enough to let go?

What if we weren’t afraid? What if we lived each day like it was our last? What if we lived each day like it was our first?

Anger is not a sin, but its fruit can be, if we allow it. The divine gift of free will, allows us to choose which path we will travel, be it the path to life or the path to death. For even from the abyss, this grace we’ve been afforded allows us choose life, even in our anger.

Job’s Plea

Hold me down,
Hold me down,
when I’m not around.
When I’m caught up and bound, hold me down.
When hope is unwound, hold me down.
When love can’t be found, hold me down.
Hold me down,
Hold me down,
when I can’t conceive the dawn, hold me down
When darkness pursues me like a hound, hold me down.
When I’m far from sacred ground, hold me down.
Hold me down when my screams do not make a sound.
Hold me down,
Hold me down,
When I’m six feet down…
 

Struggling with Demons

Struggling with demons

We often see the challenges in our lives, more specifically the demons we struggle against in our lives as some external force or situation. Meaning that we perceive that some sort of external remedy exists which can be a balm for our affliction. Ergo, often if we are depressed we think that changing our situation will bring happiness or perhaps we are led to look for happiness in others. Many look for some new love interest because of the excitement it brings, when in fact doing so is like using duct tape to repair structural damage in your home. And truth be told, the cost of most “temporary fixes” is a far higher than we first believed. But our demons, if we allow them, will always drive us to self medicate. Some turn to drugs, some to unwise relationships or other outlets. But some turn to sharing, and doing so via the pen. Working through our actualization, IMO is not something to take out on those around me. It’s simply not fair. And let’s be clear, I don’t like pain any more than anyone else. And battling one’s own demons is painful. But I’d rather suffer through, than to cause harm to any innocent. I know that often over the last 30 years our culture has taught us that we need to do what makes us happy, to pursue our own truth. But I for one really question that. Every action in the universe has a cost. A price must be paid for every decision we act upon. It may not be us paying the fare, but someone will. Be it our children, spouse, significant other, coworkers, family and friends. To allow a dysfunction within me to wreak havoc in the world around me is not what I want my life to be about. Granted, even still, being the flawed human that I am, my issues transcend my waking reality and seep out into the world around me. But for the purposes of this commentary, I’m stating that I strive every day, regardless of how I might be feeling on the inside, to be a blessing to others. And in turning my focus so, I slowly choke the life out of my own demons.

My book “Sacrifices” speaks to the sacrifices many of our ancestors have made on our behalf. Respect and Blessings to the ancestors.

Consider.

Consider two truths…
 
First, the most dangerous thing in the world is a closed mind. Secondly, though we crave certainty, we know it is an illusion, for there is no certainty in the flesh, never was, never will be. These two facts are the bookends of fear.
 
We close our minds when we crave certainty, but it is a fool’s quest. Better to learn how to press on despite our fears. For if we give into fear and close our own minds, be become the very terror we fear.
 
In my faith tradition, we call overcoming this fear, “walking by faith”. For if I never face my fears, am never uncomfortable, then surely there is a question of whether I am truly exercising my faith, and whether the “truth” does indeed live within me.

Why It Matters

If I could somehow share the knowing deep inside of me, that you might see, even for a moment, the true weight of things, not a word would I need to share. But since I cannot, I must ask that you take a minute to consider these things.

While I am not foolish enough to place total faith in any man or woman, I have all the faith in the world in the message within me. The one passed down through the ages, across races, social economic statuses and across the waters. For I have a hope inside of me that transcends every barrier, even life. So while I am not attesting to the effectiveness of one party’s policies versus the next, I can testify that policies of division ring hollow against the policies of inclusiveness and unity. In the past both parties have spent time on the wrong side of this thing we call social evolution, this flattening of the old paradigm of privileges of birth, into a new one of equal opportunities regardless of one’s station when born.

However, reactionary forces, both at home and abroad, would have us believe that salvation lies in reclaiming old ways, but even a cursory review of history exposes the fallacy in such thinking. From tribes, to monarchies, to oligarchies, to republics, to democracies to something we have never seen before, society has and will evolve. And those societies that did not evolve no longer exist. Much like we as a species have survived and moved to the top of the food chain through evolution and adaptation, so too must we as a people. We must trust in the ageless underlying principles regarding the equality of peoples, even above the dictates of any text trapped in time. Any document, be it the Bible, the Constitution or whatever, at best serve as the beginning, not the end of understanding.

And if these thoughts do not move you to action, please consider that in today’s societies, you often have not, because you ask not. Our elected officials are very aware of which communities turn out to vote and those which do not. An active, engaged citizenry often runs contrary to their quest to remain employed and to retain of the benefits therein. Communities that don’t vote, don’t count as much, literally. So, before you curse the name of politicians everywhere, please ask yourself what would you do, if you had a job which paid you, even if you only showed up to work every other November?

Lastly, for those of us who best respond to anger and fear, have you ever considered what pollsters mean by the term “likely voters”? Well, in plain English, it means that when they approximate the likely outcome of an election, pollsters discount the contribution of minorities, poor people and young voters. Pollsters do this because historical data strongly suggests that you won’t bother to go vote. So, if it doesn’t bother you that they count you as 1/2 or 2/3 of a person, then by all means, please stay home and don’t vote. If you avoid going to the ballot box often enough, maybe someday you won’t have to worry about people like me bugging you to exercise your right to vote.

Peace,

Alan Jones

P.S. Please Register to vote and confirm your polling location.