Community//

Yes, And.

How this one word can pull us out of our ideological bunkers and shift a national conversation about guns.

Social media is unbearable right now. At least for me.

My heart is so heavy. My emotions are intense. A quick scroll turns into an hour-long journey into the darkest parts of humanity.

The stories of #metoo.

Especially those in the athletic arena. Exposing wounds that never completely healed. Shedding light on the power of my inner wisdom – that knowingness I silenced.

The school shootings.

I’m so deeply affected. As a mother. As an educator. As a former classroom teacher. As a human. My soul feels crushed.

The noise in my news feed is deafening. The anger is palpable. The fear, paralyzing. And, all of it feels so much bigger than me.

Do I dare share my truth? Do I dare engage in dialogue?

Last week I shared a post written by my mentor, Brene Brown, on Speaking Truth to Bullshit. And, I’ve been trying to honor her words by asking myself: What ‘rules’ am I subscribing to? Why? How can I add value? What’s really under all of this? What’s mine to own? What can I do?

And I wonder, can we really speak truth to bullshit on social media?

I’m not sure – but I’m going to try. Because, it’s one of those things that is worth trying even if I fail.

Tonight, I came across these words by a fellow educator:

“In my freshman composition classes, I tell my students to use their words only for the highest good. Our words aren’t for bullying, for tearing down, or for engaging in petty, online arguments. Language is a gift that we must use to build up and create. In my class, we use our words to tell our stories, to share our experiences, and to critically examine the world we live in so that we can make it better. Words should illuminate harsh realities, and words can rally.” –Victoria Fedden

Which shifted my question to: 

How are we using our words?

Words can rally. Yes. AND. We need to rally as humans. We need to stop dehumanizing those who don’t agree with us. Because, what’s the alternative? Where is it taking us?

We may never agree on the details of HOW we enact change – but I think it’s safe to say, most of us agree on the fundamental issues.

We have to start there. Common ground. Our common humanity. And, shift away from fear and anger and rage – and the subsequent defensiveness – to truly listen.

I think most of us would agree that what we’re doing isn’t working.

When we feel defensive, we need to ask ourselves:

What are we afraid of?

I’ve seen this meme countless times on my news feed. And I get {and agree with} the sentiment behind it: nothing changes, nothing changes. If we want something different, we must be willing to do something different.

YES, AND.

As someone who was buoyed by thoughts and prayers during the darkest time in my life – who believes and knows the power of prayer, I have to ask: 

Why are we forcing a choice when all of these can co-exist?

This word has the power to shift a national conversation about guns. AND. 

Thoughts and prayers AND policy and change.

If we want to rally, we need to stop forcing false dichotomies – and the idea that you’re with us or you’re with them.

This is on all of us.

Corruption is corrosive – and it’s pervasive. How can we keep it in check if we’re stuck up here on the top of the iceberg, screaming and shouting? {we can’t}

We need to band together and dive underneath the surface to solve these issues. And that may mean challenging our own beliefs.

Our emotions, thoughts, actions – are all shaped by our beliefs – impacting how we view ourselves and the world. 

We see what we believe – even though most of us say, I’ll believe it when I see it.

In all areas of our life we find evidence to support our beliefs. More and more – we’re retreating into our ideological bunkers and seeking news sources that feed us evidence to support those beliefs – even if they’re unfounded. Even when we’re presented with contradictory facts. 

It’s time to get uncomfortable. Because, isn’t THIS more uncomfortable?

We are in this together: It’s time to come out of our ideological bunkers and walk to the space between.

It’s going to take a new level of courage. Because, this is a new level of hard.

We are capable. And, we have the power to make an impact every.

Our power is in the words we choose.

In the way we engage on social media. The comments we write. The memes we share.

In our willingness to edit the beliefs that are blinding us from seeing reality.

Anger can be a powerful force to drive change. And, it can also be a powerful force that bullies, dehumanizes and isolates.

When we allow anger, judgement and blame to drive, our divide grows. We block ourselves from walking to the space of common sense, collaboration, creativity and love.

If we want to tap into our collective strength, we must link arms.

It starts with us. In the small, seemingly insignificant choices we make every day.

It’s in learning how to listen – without forming a counter argument in our mind.

It’s in learning how to process our emotion – without deflecting, running or numbing.

It’s in asking for help – without shame or guilt.

It’s in giving each other the gift of generosity – believing that we are doing the best we can with the resources we have – instead of choosing judgement.

And when we fall short {not if}, it’s in reaching out our hand to help lift each other up – instead of belittling and berating, and speaking from a place of perfection.

It’s asking questions – instead of assuming.

It’s embracing our common humanity – instead of dehumanizing and pushing people who disagree into the ‘other.’

It’s time to ask ourselves if we’re courageous enough to reject the rules that no longer serve us and choose love.

We are capable.

The time is now. 

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