For that light reveals aspects of our systems, institutions, practices, beliefs, attitudes, and human interactions that don’t serve us very well.
In fact, much of what we see is triggering anger, resentment, and judgment, even though we probably knew much of what is now getting us so riled up about was happening all along. It’s just now our noses are being rubbed in it, triggering responses from the release of pent-up energies that we have long suppressed.
It’s easy to get caught up in those emotions that we get dragged into conflict with the status quo . To some extent, those conflicts are necessary to break its hold upon us. But once we realize those old ways aren’t doing us any favors, it’s important to start putting more energy into what we want rather than just fighting against that which we don’t.
That’s because we create what we put our energy into. If we want more conflict and things to upset us, then unduly focusing upon what’s going on in the news will bring out even more for us to see.
But if we want a better tomorrow, where government efficiently serves our needs and preserves our liberties with as little interference and control as possible, and where businesses serve not only the bottom line but also the greater good, then we should start looking for them now and putting our energy into reinforcing the behaviors that we want them to reflect.
For instance, if you don’t like our monetary and banking systems, don’t use them. Figure out ways to trade goods or services for what you need. Barter’s been around a long time. Try it. It works.
And even if you do decide to keep playing the money game, you don’t have to give it to those who act in ways you don’t agree with. Instead, seek out those more aligned with your evolving principles, and give them your business.
Easier said than done, you say? Well, let’s make it even easier.
If you think big business and multinational corporations are taking over the world and want to reverse that trend, quit buying their products. Instead, find local or regional businesses that do meet your standards.
Support local businesses. Shop at a farmers’ market. Seek out ways to work with your neighbors and friends. After all, when your money goes into their pockets, it flows back into your community, rather than out to some big business or its faceless shareholders and bond holders.
That doesn’t mean you have to buy, buy, buy. Do without things that aren’t essential or add to the quality of your life. Maintain and repair what you’ve already got. Find low-tech alternatives where possible when you do need to replace them. Use local services and contractors.
Hire local kids when you can so they can learn the value of helping others. And don’t forget about employing migrants, the homeless, or other day workers. You’ll often find honest, hard-working people to help you around the house or yard at your local Home Depot or other local gathering spot.
But don’t treat them as something less than human, there only to use and discard when done with them.
Look them in the eye. Smile. Treat them the way you want to be treated. Appreciate them and what they offer and do for you.
After all, they’re all part of the same human family you are. Why not make them feel welcome, even though they don’t have a regular job to turn to?
Does it really matter if they speak your language as well as you, so long as they can negotiate a fair price and understand what you want them to do?
As for having the proper papers or immigration status, that’s probably a matter best left for your conscience and theirs, regardless of what those people on the news want you to believe or do (of course, officially I recommend you follow the letter of the law, especially if you might one day run for office and don’t want the fact you hired undocumented workers mucking up your candidacy).
If you want a world, and an economy, where people matter, then show it. Seek out those to whom you are more than just a number. Treat those who serve you with respect, and honor their efforts to help.
Honor yourself by keeping your word. And don’t dishonor yourself by repeatedly subjecting yourself to those who don’t.
That brings me to your relationship with government. There’s a lot of work to be done on that front. But it starts with you. Care what they do. Keep track of who does what. Hold your leaders accountable. Quit voting for those who play the conflict game, or who trade favors or serve the wealthy and powerful more than the people. Only support those who reflect the kind of values and practices you hold dear, regardless of which party they are from.
When dealing with government agencies, treat the people there with loving kindness. Show them that citizens aren’t all a bunch of animals to be treated callously.
But if they should fail to serve you the way you deserve, respectfully point it out, even if you need to make your case to higher ups or even your representatives. Not to be critical or judgmental, but to suggest ways they can improve.
Be sure to complement them when they do it right, too. They’re people, and they want to be valued and respected, too — even if you don’t agree with the job they’ve been given or the way they’re carrying it out.
Most of all, practice what you preach. Redirect your anger into proactive effort to remake your life into what you want it to be. After all, even a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.
The steps don’t have to be big ones. Take little ones every day. Try not to miss a day, or deviate along the way. Because if you take a detour, you’ll just have to take that many more to get back on course.
Turn toward what you want, rather than going to war with — or running away from — that which you don’t. But by all means, don’t roll over and play dead so they can continue their games — that will only perpetuate the status quo you want to move beyond.
You’ll be surprised when you do. For once you start, you’ll find many more of those opportunities coming to you once you do. And you’ll probably be a whole lot happier with and within your life along the way.
You don’t have to change THE world. Just start to change YOURS.
God bless you indeed.
* * * * * * * * * * *John Dennison is a peacemaker and problem solver who offers perspective to meet challenges in a better way. A lawyer by profession for over 30 years, he writes and speaks extensively, and provides trusted guidance to social entrepreneurs and other leaders to develop their projects and overcome the obstacles of a changing world.
He also spearheads several projects of his own, including PeaceOptions to move beyond the beliefs and practices that keeps us locked in struggle and conflict, and MissionLaunch to activate the servers who will build a new world.
A spiritual teacher by avocation, John also authored Whispers in the Silence — Living by the Light of Your Soul, a guide to self-knowing and the process of personal development behind most spiritual traditions.
For more information or to contact John, visit him at JohnDennison.com.
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- Political outcast in my own land
John offers a free report, "5 Minutes That Can Change Your World," at http://bit.ly/1QwNenb, and provides coaching and guidance to awakening souls.
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