Last night I dreamed of children coming together from the 4 corners of the earth, like 4 tribes bringing their gifts. Not one of their gifts, however, were understood, or received respectfully, by the other tribes, and so they all felt confused, disappointed, unmet, unseen by this erasure – and then they got mad and then a great civil war ensued.
I thought upon waking that the civil war we feel brewing amongst us, magnified by a media that dines on fury, is a choice. We can allow it to crescendo to warfare, or recede like a tide. We can turn towards one another, curious and open. Or refuse. We can look, in all we don’t understand and fear, for the gifts being carried by the incomprehensible “other”. If you, like me, have seen “the other” as bearing destruction of all we love, that’s a stretch.
Can I, can we, stop the civil war brewing among us and inside us?
Howard Beale, in the movie Network, one day leaped up and shouted “I’m mad as hell and I am not going to take it anymore.” He spoke the unspoken truth.
As readers of this blog know, I’d been mad as hell for half a decade, fighting the “powers that be”. I’ve been mad long enough that the anger had burrowed down into my cells and was headed for my DNA.
Six months ago, I said, No! I’m not going to take this anymore, this systemic inflammation of my soul. I started to swim up and up towards the light. My life had once felt fluid, the road coming up to meet my feet, events seeming to cooperate with me… or maybe I was cooperating with life. Whatever, life felt filled with miracles, but that had vanished.
I’m happy to report that it’s coming back in dreams and now waking moments, sometimes strung together into hours.
Now, refreshed and renewed, no longer battered by bone-weary anger… I’m still mad as hell, but not like an auto-immune disease that eats at me. I’m sorrowful mad and no longer willing to be a codependent partner with this … this what? With this western habit, down to the DNA, of exploitation, domination, systems of oppression, lies and… Blah blah blah.
Progress has been made in my quest to find a space beyond the habit of being mad as hell at everything. I now have 4 buckets for this anger so it doesn’t poison me.
- I do not direct it towards anything where I don’t have decisional power. I direct it towards seeing where and how I can affect decisions, influence budgets, shift the minds of those deciding. Yes, yes, I know that we all have an nth of power to do good in this world. I know we don’t know who might be watching and listening to us and changing, nth by nth. I am grateful beyond measure that some of my words and works have made a big difference for others. That’s a given. I just won’t assume good deeds lead to melting stone cold hearts, turning them into agents of change.
- I am taking a good hard look at what I actually have to give that could make some nth of difference. I’ve concluded that it’s my wisdom expressed through my words. Wisdom of years and much experience and words, written, spoken, sung. Or even thought, beautifully, and sent out on that viscous honey that flows in all the cracks between us. The name that came for this new focus is: Moving Wisdom; Moving Words.
- I know that even though our leaders have failed us royally and presidentially and corporately and financially and every which way from everywhere, I still have choice, not over outcomes but through intentions, words and deeds. I can’t help being a chooser in a free will universe. I choose to be awake to all truth coming my way through the trees, storms, encounters with others, reliable sources, the terrible arithmetic of climate science. I will not dispel the grief and horror through acting out. I can get very very quiet and let it in, stirring in less and less Vicki to the mix. Moving Wisdom; Moving Words. I will do my best, probably failing miserably again and again, to say something as I see something.
- Civil War is a choice. Last night I watched the movie, The Hate You Give, about a police shooting of a black man from a tight black community. The lesson in the end is that you don’t have to give back the hate you have been given.
- I’m trying to back out of “othering” and move into “belonging”. Belonging is very important to me, but what have I sacrificed of my dignity and integrity to belong? What truths mine have been dressed up in their Sunday best, and then squeaked out with a polite ouch? How do I speak truth without anger, and be heard as if a pole has been planted into the earth with my words? Moving wisdom; Moving Words.
Case in point: Our Covid Civil War
I’ve been on the vaccine team, willing to do my part to stop the spread and being a pioneer since the experimental polio shot went into my little arm at age 7.
It did not occur to me that the darkness I see in dark money in elections and social media, in BigPharma and BigEverything, that imposes a mechanistic, profit-driven industrial model on Life, should cast doubt on the social purpose and potential personal good of getting vaccinated. Do you refuse medications that could save your life, but with long lists of potential side effects, because you don’t want Merck to profit?
I didn’t see a contradiction between my long work on teaching a program for personal financial liberation (“take this job and shove it”) and non-cooperation with consumerism… and the public good of public health measures. I also know that science is successive approximations and didn’t object to the evolving instructions coming out of public health officials about masking, distancing, hand-washing and generally limiting spread.
Is Vax-resistance, for many, a visible manifestation of something deeper and more inchoate – a Howard Beale general fury at the whole damn system? If so, and I suspect this is true, no amount of reason will touch the defiance.
Noticing the step-wise, and targeted direction Sweden took I asked an old friend who’d moved there 20 years ago about the difference between our polarized tangle here in the USA and Sweden’s measured approach. He singled out two factors:
- They believe science and until the science is clear, they chose moderation, not lock-downs.
- They trust their government. Because they trust the government to be reasonable and rational, they’ve been far more faithful to public health directions, which, of course, makes a difference.
Nope, this would not work in the USA.
Even with my early adoption of vaccines, I’ve been disappointed in other aspects of public health, USA style.
Health as a practice, not an accident.
Little attention from BigInstitutions has been given to healthy practices for healthier immune systems. There’s science behind everything from meditation to yoga to natural medicine. What a missed opportunity to educate the public on how nature itself is at-the-ready to protect and heal us! BigPharma and Big-Allopathic-Medicine have long waged a war on natural remedies. If nature heals, money cannot be made – and our war on nature would be questioned.
Case in point: I was on the research team for a longitudinal study of the mind-body connection in ALS. Our results were astonishing. People who maintained a positive outlook, even with physical decline, who believed they are responsible (not to blame) for their health, and who everyday engaged in acts of service outlived by a factor of 6:1 those who assumed the doctor was in charge of their health, whose outlooks were gloomy and who lost a sense of meaning and purpose. It didn’t mean “cheer up or you’ll die.” It was just a clue about the mind- body connection. The medical profession yawned and decided that there must be another strain of the disease with better outcomes, which they chose to call “remitting ALS.” The mechanistic mindset will incorporate everything into its own logic, as evidenced by vaccines being the only accepted way out the grip of Covid.
I’ve followed the science on Covid through reading the well-curated, non-positional Covid Strategies and following all leads put before me by credible and loving people. Here is where BigPharma’s BigInfluence is most apparent and venal. Why not put money behind investigating alternative treatments? Why are we so quick to ridicule the search for generic drugs that could lessen the length and impact of the disease while so quick to accept BigPharma’s BigNewDrugs to treat Covid? If a thousand people took one of the treatments under investigation in the Vax-Dubious community and it lessened duration and severity of the illness, would we call it Remitting Covid?
The economic devastation and social isolation of our society-wide effort to nip the virus in the bud has been valiant, but there have been side-effects – depression, frustration, small businesses failing, social animosities. Was the game worth the candle? Maybe not. Maybe a more targeted approach could have kept the webs of meaning and income humming. It has also benefited the ultra-rich and concentrated power in online meg-giants. As Naomi Klein saw immediately, the pandemic was the perfect opportunity for shock-doctrine/ disaster-capitalism.
I’m all for public health measures – masking, hand washing, distancing, and more – indoors. If you have a building and a door you should be able to enforce who comes in. No shoes, no shirts, no service. It’s good American private property at work. Freedom doesn’t mean the right to willfully put others in danger who don’t want to be there. That would be like an abusive mate saying I was just swinging, it was their responsibility to duck.
I am not comfortable with mandated vaccines to keep your job, though. It violates something fundamental. Withholding the opportunity for both income and giving your talents to society is too Big Brother. If you want to do that, institute a Universal Basic Income, funded by a wealth tax, to make vaccinate-to-work mandates fairer. Or give the option, as some businesses do, of daily temp checks, weekly antigen tests and daily indoor masking/ distancing / handwashing. Mandates may seem like the necessary hammer to drive a nail in the coffin of Covid, but I see it driving a bigger wedge in our society and disrespecting the gifts the Vax-Dubious are trying to show us.
Let’s go back to the children coming together from the four corners of the earth. By not recognizing one another’s gifts, they build hurt and shame internally, resentment and anger between the tribes.
Can we choose to not have a Civil War? About Covid and so much more. Like most interventions that require self-awareness, it’s possible but not likely.
Prescription for healing what ails us
Here’s my recommendations for people of all political stripes who are willing to sacrifice their anger, return to reason and respect, and stop brewing up toxic hate on social media.
- Stop shaming and blaming, if you can reel that explosive force back in.
- Reduce righteousness. You may be right, but righteousness is social poison.
My first lesson on reducing my own systemic anger: I can accept the unacceptable not because it is acceptable but because it is. My next was acceptance that civilizations rise and fall again and again. The next: the civil war we see now is a repackaging of civil wars in our past that were resolved by one side winning the conflict but not resolving the causes of war. Finally I accepted that the arc of justice may not bend in my lifetime – or the lifetimes of anyone alive. Am I saying activism has no role, or that naming the evil and fighting it is useless? No, I am saying righteousness about your position breeds civil war.
- Stick your fingers in your ears whenever a public figure snarkily treats all alternatives to vaccines as horsesh*t. Even beloved comedians. It’s not that the alternatives are right. It’s that the snark feeds anger that feeds war.
- Get curious about the tribes you despise. Look for the gifts in what they are saying. Read the writing and reasoning of credentialed people who see Covid, and a lot else, differently. Learn. Make this a conversation. You may disagree with the identified “dirty dozen” of Vax-dubious influencers, but choose one or two, read their reasoning, and reason it through. When friends I respect assert theories I don’t, I ask for their sources and read them. What’s the harm?
The same morning as the dream of the children from the four corners with different truths, I had a dream that gave me this message:
Illness is relational.
The “bug” that is “bugging” you is in conversation with that in your body that is protecting you i.e the immune system. It is a process, and all entities are learning from one another what’s in, what’s out and how to respect boundaries. Choose the protections that make sense to you. Public health tools. Vaccines. Good health practices. You can read this website – considered dubious unto dangerous by many mainstream officials – and consider their MASK+ and other protocols. Not instead of vaccines. In addition. Perhaps they aren’t the miracles first touted, but vaccines diminish infection by 500% and death by 1000%. Consider an all of above approach.
Consider, too, whether we can live in a blended society where some are vaccinated, some have natural immunity, some respectfully decline to be vaccinated and do all they can to protect others from infection, and where all healing modalities are respected and studied seriously if they are having verifiable benefit, and where the next virus and the next are learning opportunities about how to care for ourselves, others and nature and build relationships of mutual respect – in a world modernity has largely despoiled.
History doesn’t teach us about the wars that have been averted. Where good leadership, common sense or something out of left field simply caused the storm to pass over.
I want my life to strengthen our social immune system? I hope, through Moving wisdom; Moving Words, through my practices for relinquishing anger, I might help this storm to blow over.