This has been a hard and long year.
One thing that seemed (and continue to be) to be on everyone’s mind and contributed to this hardness is how our government is falling apart. And it feels like everything is falling apart. There have been many people who said that our government structure is created to withstand tyranny but I never bought that. Just look at the world’s history. Nothing is infallible. Everything falls apart.
It is easy to find others to blame for the state we find ourselves in. Trump, yes. Russia, yes. Uneducated emotional voters, yes. Special interest groups, yes. Facebook, yes. But at the end of the day, blaming others does not solve any problem. Feeling righteous feels kinda nice for a moment but it compounds the problem by further isolating and separating people/us who should be finding common grounds and work together. Anyone who reads any type of spiritual books or on Instagram or watch Oprah knows that change has to start with each one of us. You know? Be the change you want to see. Because ultimately, I am/you are the only thing we can change in our lives (unless you have some supernatural psychic powers). This sounds totally self-evident and so obvious yet it warrants repeating times and again because we love finding fault in others and we think, “Oh, only if s/he does so and so….” Yes, yes, I’m guilty as charged. I know. But I somehow also manage to remember, nono, it starts with me. This is true on a very personal level and this is true for having a functional government that finds common human interests and serve that greater good. Each one of us have to own what is happening. We have to realize that we made what is happening happen. That sucks, yes, but admitting each one of us has a problem is the first step.
I often think about the bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama. When you read about it in general history books or whatever, it sounds really simple: Rosa Parks refused to go to the back of the bus and black people in Montgomery boycotted the bus and then eventually black people were allowed sit wherever freely. In reality, black people in the area had to walk to work everyday for a whole year before the bus company caved. A whole one year. 365 days. Let that sink in. How tedious and boring and trying and frustrating and exhausting that year must have been. Walk to work? In any kind of weather? I don’t think I can do that. That is heroic and that kind of act is what real change and revolution require us of. Not a Facebook post, not a demonstration for one afternoon. Quiet and unrecognized grit is what is needed. And it is needed from everyone of us who wants things to change for better.
Democracy needs all of us to participate in order to function. Everyone of us has to participate. This means to vote. This means that we are to make educated mature choices. To inform ourselves and to take time to do so. Yes, we are all busy trying to survive and do what we need to do but if our world collides with Handmaid’s Tale, then your personal dream and ambition ain’t shit. We’ll get there if we won’t buck up and do what we need to do. This sometimes means that we vote not with our conscience but with our sound reasons and realistic and mature attitude and also unselfishly. It’s great if you are good but are you really good if your friends and fellow humans are not good? The world is truly better when we lift each other. Seriously. We are not voting to get our ways but to find a middle ground where we can somewhat happily co-exist.
I’m not against demonstrations but we must realize that it is really not a part of the process that can change our lives. I marched in early 2003 with fellow New Yorkers in the eve of impending Iraq invasion under the direction of Bush, Jr. So many people came out and the march disrupted the traffic and paralyzed the city completely. It felt so triumphant and I was so certain that the march would change the course of what would happen and prevent the invasion from happening. We all felt great for “doing our part.” Wroooooong.
I came to realize that one-day demonstrations are not part of the process and have really no actual power to change things. And somewhat dangerous in that people feels like they are doing something where, in reality, it doesn’t contribute to any real changes. I’d imagine that the power that be would look at us marching and chuckle. Oh but the excitement and exhilaration that one feels when marching with fellow citizens! Compare to that, voting and running for offices (and jury duty!!) sound tedious and boring. These real processes that result in real consequences, for better or worse, take actual work and nobody is going to give you high-fives for doing them. Well, sometimes, but if we were to really learn about the candidates and educate ourselves on issues and what not, it’s a time-consuming lonely process. (Jury duties are even worse….) And this is what I think Gil Scott-Heron meant by, “the Revolution will not be televised.” It’s too boring and won’t make a good TV.
Neville Goddard said, “Change your conception of yourself and you will automatically change the world in which you live. Do not try to change people; they are only messengers telling you who you are. Revalue yourself and they will confirm the change.” Right now, Trump is telling us who we are. We are not separate. We are all connected, to good ones and bad ones. What we fight persists. The way we have been doing it obviously is not working. We gotta do it differently if we want different outcome. Otherwise, we will continue to live in this madness. So at the very end of 2018, I’d like to remind myself to keep the focus on myself and keep having my own revolution. And stop blaming everything else and own my parts in what is manifesting, personally and otherwise. I’d like to make sure that difficulties in 2018 were not in vain.