Wow. What a week we have had. Shutdowns, debt ceilings, the PSATs if you are a Junior in high school. Tempers are flaring. There is a lot of doomsday rhetoric. A lot of DRAMA.
In The Trauma Tool Kit, I talk about how drama is not drama, it’s trauma. People are traumatized in this country. We are collectively traumatized by an unstable economy, by escalating natural disasters, by regular but unpredictable mass shootings, by increasingly mean spirited exchanges on the internet and in the media, by our own unresolved issues of sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional violence and neglect.
Unfortunately, most people have not matured much past their early 20s in terms of their emotional self-management. If we do not do our work, heal our own wounds, those wounds get projected out into the world and onto other people and groups. As long as we think someone else is causing our suffering, we can legitimately be involved in blame, shame and finger-pointing. DRAMA.
This self-work, the work of enlightening our own minds, healing ourselves and becoming mature human beings is HARD. It is so much easier to be sarcastic, cynical and fearful, to hug our guns both metaphorical and literal. Maturity means having empathy for others, even when their point of view is different than ours. Maturity means restraint, tolerating difficult feelings without acting them out. Maturity means mutual respect even if you loathe what the other person is saying to you.
We need to grow a lot more maturity in this country or the rhetoric will continue to devolve. At some point that hateful rhetoric could spill into violence. Do we really want the bloodshed, mayhem and trauma that comes with acting out, with our continuing lack of maturity as human beings?
How do we do this? How do we grow up? The answer is simple, but not easy.
First we have to become disillusioned with fighting and realize that peace and justice come from within first, not from our side winning.
Second, we have to go inside and acknowledge that hateful feelings lurk within our own minds. We need to tame the raging beast of our traumas through meditation, restraint, insight and all of the healing methods outlined in my book The Trauma Tool Kit.
Third, we need to implement what we have learned and act in the world from that peaceful and centered place. Even after all my years of therapy, meditation, yoga, and healing, I still have to do my daily work of remembering what I know.
I have to choose peace, each and every single day.
Won’t you join me? Please. We could use some more mature adults around here.