They say that if you don’t learn from your mistakes you’re doomed to repeat them. Similarly, if you fail to heed messages from the universe, they will continue to show up until you take notice. If there is a repeating pattern in your life, it’s time to pay attention. And by pay attention I mean self reflect. Think about it–if you keep having your heart broken by selfish jerks, there is a reason you’re attracting and developing relationships with these kinds of people. If your kid continuously gets into trouble at school, even after changing teachers and switching schools multiple times, there is something that your kid is doing to draw this response. Seems obvious, right? Well the truth is, most people prefer to defer responsibility. They blame everyone else for their pain and suffering. Similarly, they externalize the pain and suffering of the world. Which means that problematic patterns will persist and the universe will continue to deliver wake up call after wake up call.
As I write this, most of us are still reeling from the news of the Las Vegas massacre. The deadliest mass shooting in modern US history. Do you think we will learn this time? Could it be that we are not heeding a very crucial message? Many of us are fed up and angry. We feel frustrated and powerless. But we ARE NOT POWERLESS. I firmly believe that we need to reconsider how we define power and approach our society’s ills from an entirely different perspective.
As gun sales skyrocket after this tragedy, as people fight over what’s wrong and how we need to handle things, as we cry and pray and throw our hands up in desperation, one thing is certain–we are repeating the same fucked up pattern. We are externalizing the problem and operating out of FEAR.
Of course, the events in Vegas are only one incident among many. Gun control is only one divisive political issue. The United States is only one nation struggling to understand itself. The challenges we face occur within the broader context of humanity.
The problems we encounter are not new, although the way we experience them may be different. If we want anything to change, we have to alter our approach. I encourage each one of us to self reflect. We ALL have to dive deep into our own hearts and minds, to connect with our souls, and to recognize what is happening to us on a personal level. This is the only way we will ever truly come together to shift our collective experience.
So how do we do this?
- Stop laying blame. We will never agree on who is ultimately at fault for tragic events, the wounds of humanity, or even our own relationship conflicts. It serves no one to perpetually point fingers. We don’t have to agree with another’s perspective, but we also don’t have to waste our energy on constantly trying to find someone to blame. We’re all at fault on some level.
- Stop arguing. Really. Just stop. How often does it actually get someone to agree with you? Conversely, how often does it add fuel to the fire? We all live here on planet Earth. Shut up already. Which is not to say stop debating. Stop yelling, coercing, fighting–arguing.
- Listen to understand. Inevitably, divergent points of view will be expressed. Instead of listening to argue your point of view, try listening to understand the other perspective. You may not agree with what someone has to say, but at least try to HEAR what is being shared without automatically dismissing it as wrong or invalid.
- Consider how you feel. Anger and anxiety usually overlay fear and sadness. Explore the many emotions going on within you. What lies beneath the surface? Where do you feel fear? Where does it reside in your body? What else do you feel? How is it showing up in your mood or behavior?
- Process your emotions. They’re there for a reason and they’re trying to tell you something. You can’t think clearly until you work through the intensity of your feelings. Go for a run. Meditate. Kick the shit out of a punching bag. Write. Play basketball. Make art or music– do whatever you need to do to swim around in your feelings for a bit so you can really move through them (avoid drugs and alcohol, which only suppress or misdirect the emotions you need to work through).
- Take responsibility. First, for the more immediate and personal influences in your life. Did you argue with your spouse? How can you take responsibility for your part in that? Was there a screw up at work? How can you take responsibility for your part in that? This doesn’t mean you must feel that you are wrong–it simply calls you to consider that how you experience something has everything to do with how you relate to it. On a larger scale–are you backing your opinion up with action? How can you do more to create a world you wish to live in? How might you be contributing to the suffering of others? We ALL can do better. Own it.
- Show love. Any act of affection matters, no matter how small. Whether you’re petting a puppy or helping a community member, you’re making a positive impact and balancing negative energy with something more positive. Most importantly, love yourself. If you truly do, it is far easier to love others.
All of these suggestions are easier said than done. But I believe that most individuals are strong enough to meet the challenge. I believe that strengthening the whole of humanity requires strengthening its parts. I believe that in order to come together, we must first get right with ourselves. So if you feel powerless or distraught during frightening or intense times, please remember that your power is awakened when you nurture and support YOU. Let that care move out to your family, your loved ones, your community, etc.
We would all benefit from turning off our devices for a while and gathering in community to share experiences, offer wisdom, and simply celebrate being together. Avoid getting sucked into divisive and inflammatory media propaganda. Avoid engaging in hateful dialogue on social media. Stop externalizing problems and laying blame. Instead, connect with your spirit, offer yourself compassion, open your heart to others, and contribute to this world in a positive and loving way. That’s what I plan to do anyway.
Does this resonate with you? Do you think I’m a naive dreamer? Do you have other suggestions for changing society? Do you think humanity even needs to change? I’d love to hear from you! Please comment and let me know what YOU have to say.
With Love & Compassion,
Adina Arden Cooper
I'm a lover, a guide, a supportive companion. A storyteller, an artist, an ally and an advocate. I help individuals thrive and communities come together through counseling, coaching, and community building. I believe that shared humanity is a powerful strength and that our stories connect us in beautiful and sacred ways. As I stumble, skip, or soar my way through this life, I invite you to join me on the journey. Likewise, I'm honored to travel with you. In witnessing one another, we find meaning.