Since my last post, Pilgrims in Our Own Land, until now, our country and various parts of the world has experienced some events that have triggered a great deal of emotion in many people. Myself included. Hurricane Sandy took it’s toll on the east coast prior to Thanksgiving. The shooting in a mall here on the west coast just 20 minutes away from me in December. Followed by a far more devastating event with the shocking murder of so many innocent children in Connecticut less then a week later.
While we were all still reeling from the impact of these events, news came of the brutal rape of a woman in India that struck me to the core. This was the straw that broke the camels back for me as I considered the abnormally high statistics of sex abuse and rape that is going on right here in America. Even now. The reason why events like these have such a huge impact on me personally is because I experienced them myself as a child growing up here in America. I know all too well what it is like to live with sexual abuse and rape by those that are supposed to love and care for you.
That Pesky Elephant
Recently, Scott Mabry wrote a great post titled That Pesky Elephant I had plenty that I wanted to share yet didn’t feel that was the appropriate forum and time to share it due to the subject matter. My pesky elephant isn’t exactly the best conversation starter nor a pleasant one. So my personal challenge has revolved around wanting to find a way to communicate enough of the truth balanced with love about some very unpleasant and difficult things in a world that so desperately wants and needs to hear ‘good news’. Something we all want and need to hear when the world can seem like such a very dark place at times.
However, with my background in healthcare and my natural bent for deep thinking, I understand full well that we can’t enter the ‘promised land’ until we address what blocks us from it in the first place. I know that we can’t heal as a nation unless we know and understand what is causing our dis-ease.
So our greatest task as a society involves defining the new reality that we want while simultaneously addressing the reality of ‘what currently is’. This means that, yes, we have to be willing to look at our problems together without any rose-colored sunglasses. And this also happens to be the least pleasant and most vital part of the process of transformation.
Now while none of us can address the multi-faceted and complex issues in any single post, we can still continue to address various facets of them. Together. For the purpose of this post, I found the best analogy from one of my favorite movies, Apollo 13. I love this movie for more then just the dramatic re-enactment of a real life event that also had an amazingly happy ending. I love it because it shows with great clarity just how VITAL communication is between people, teams, departments, and systems.
Consider what would have happened if the crew on Apollo 13 couldn’t communicate those famous words:
‘Houston, we have a problem.’
Now consider what would have happened if Houston denied or ignored that Apollo 13 had a problem? Doing so would be obviously ludicrous, right?
It is from this last perspective that I hope you can begin to see how this is a huge crux of our problem as a society. From the smallest units of family all the way up through our various organizations, businesses, and government. In many cases, Houston wants to ignore and deny that their people have a serious problem. They don’t want to hear it. In fact, some even punish their people for trying to tell them.
Now consider some of the reasons why Apollo 13 turned out to be a SUCCESSFUL ‘failure’ as a mission. Here are some that I gleaned off the top of my head in no particular order.
- All of the people and teams involved had EXCELLENT communication skills.
- Prompt reporting and solving of problems.
- ZERO denial as to the severity of the issues.
- Frank honesty and clarity as needed.
- From the top down, all people were 100% unified with a common purpose and objective: To solve each problem as they arose so they could bring the astronauts back to earth. Alive.
And they succeeded.
So how do we apply this in real life? If people refuse to communicate or simply don’t know how, problems don’t get solved. Things and relationship start to break down. Ultimately, people can die and we see this manifested in suicides, murders, and war.
Looking at all of this from another perspective, imagine your own body. If a part of your body hurts, what happens when you ignore it? Ignore things for too long and it gets worse, right? It could eventually turn into a problem so big, there is no cure for it. (i.e. cancer) So when your body cries out in pain, those are your cells and neurotransmitters doing their job saying, ‘Houston, we have a problem.’
Whether we realize it or not, this country is a single body. A living organism. We have parts of the body crying out in pain all over the place in various ways. Is denying it going to make the problems go away? Will trying to stay focused on only thinking good thoughts going to make the problems go away? Is telling the people who are in pain to be silent so no one else has to feel bad going to improve things? Or make it worse?
I’d say we’ve been receiving some loud and clear indicators that all that ‘stuffing’ going on is leaking out in some extremely violent ways. We’re way past the time that we need to collectively consider the impact, implications, and ramifications for the acts of violence we’ve been experiencing, including the overwhelmingly high statistics of sex abuse and rape in America.
As a nation, we must not only take the time to dream a brand new dream together, but find the courage to face the wounded and painful parts of our body as well. Together.
‘Weep with those who weep. Mourn with those who mourn.’
We can also do several other things:
- We can continue to deepen our connections with one another.
- Connect with and expand our various spheres of influence.
- We can continue to share our unique perspectives with a willingness to learn from one another.
- We can help build one another up as we also learn to accept the weak and more frail parts of our humanity that need to be served and healed in various ways. Including ourselves and each other.
Love IS the answer.
Love is the bridge that integrates the dark and light aspects within ourselves.
And all around us.
I’d like to close this post by sharing the words from Maria Pacheco on How To Give a Fishing Lesson. A short Soul Biography film by Nic Askew. Maria has played a part in the transformation of many of Guatemala’s poorest rural communities and was transformed herself along the way. In part of her interview she says the following:
‘There’s this scared little girl meeting other scared little boys and girls. And the miracle of life allowing them to connect a little bit. And realizing with that connection, a little bit of light came in and we were able to do something together.’
- What do we want to do together?
- What can we do together?
- What are we willing to do together?
Let’s all find out so we can do it.
Related posts and additional resources:
Do You Really Matter by Steve Keating
Why the Best Techniques Don’t Work by Jesse Lyn Stoner
Collaboration is the Remedy for Polarization by Jesse Lyn Stoner
Don’t Turn Away – A Soul Biographies short film on the subject of grief by Nic Askew