There are times when I hit a tough spot in writing for this blog. If you’ve read this blog for any length of time you know I publish a post Monday through Friday with only a few small breaks throughout the year. It’s a lot of posts, words and time but I rarely run out of things to write about on the topic of living natural. There is a long list of drafts, bullets, thoughts, images I keep saved up ready to be turned into posts. Yet, despite my passion for the topic there are times when the words don’t flow as easily to the screen and I struggle with a post.
Lately, I’ve been in one of these struggling periods. I’ve just really have struggled with it despite doing the the usual things I do when this happens. It has all been to no avail. None of those things seemed to hit the sweet spot of opening up my heart to writing these last few August posts on the topic of LEARN. In reality, learning is at the core of living naturally so you’d think this would be a breeze of a month to write and I’d have at least two months more content following it. That was my expectation when I laid out the monthly themes this year and this was one of those months that should be a snap to build. The problem is though, I can’t form the words that seem to have impact right now.
As with most bloggers, I write a few months ahead of time in the event I need a break or something happens that I can’t write daily; then my readers have some posts to read all the time. I learned the value of this when I needed unexpected surgery and was out of it for a couple weeks. So, in reality it wasn’t a huge problem that I was struggling to write because I had time to figure it out but this time it seemed different. This seemed like a restlessness. A buzzing stirring in me that wasn’t quite at the point I had words to get it out. It was gnawing at me every time I sat at the keyboard to work. I was awake at night asking myself what was going on. It was stopping me and I knew something was there but I didn’t quite know what.
This went on for a week or more when finally I decided I should look at how I am feeling. Sometimes, even I need a little time to check off everything but the obvious. Here it was mid-May and our community was starting to reopen and things were coming back to life around us. Our son had received a birthday invitation for the end of the month. I had a hair appointment scheduled. Instead of paying a fee and tip for grocery delivery I went myself recently. We went to the park for the first time in months and it felt freeing and wonderful. I actually skipped I was so happy! Life was coming back and I had missed it!
Like most people I shared pictures and updates about our activities on my personal social media page. I was excited about changes that were happening and felt sure this was all going to be ok now. When I posted these things on social media I thought I was sharing hope with my friends. I was sharing good news! Some shared in my excitement and mentioned what was going on in their communities. They shared when their hair appointments were and what they were looking forward to most. It was lovely to talk about normal things people talk about again. I was thrilled at the change of topic from the virus.
Then there were the other comments. There were friends I had known for years telling me I shouldn’t go out yet. Why was I putting my family at risk? Did I wear a mask when I went? They hoped I would be ok when I came home. I hoped these comments were just love and friendly concern but sometimes they were less than kindly put. I tried to put those tones aside because these were after all my friends so surely they were just well intended expressing they were worried, had fear and their opinions were the world was still not safe. I had room in my heart to hear these comments and appreciate what they were saying to a point. We are each entitled to our own view and this was for most of us uncharted territory we had not experienced in our lifetimes.
Where the empathy left me was when I continued scrolling through social media and listening to the news. I had been scrolling social media for weeks seeing various opinions on what people should and should not be doing. There were some vicious comments about how people were stupid if they didn’t wear a mask or making this last longer by not following the rules of social distancing. There were others saying this was all just a big scam intended to break our economy and introduce socialism. It is so easy to fall into a thread of posts making you think aliens caused the virus after a while. The negativity on both sides of this topic were loud, strong and accusing.
I have long ago stopped watching the majority of news regularly but during this time I was watching more news. Like many, I wanted information on what was going on in the world and when things would go back to normal. Here too, I saw negativity on both sides of the topic that was also loud, strong and accusing. If you did one thing you were wrong and if you did another you were wrong according to another group. There seemed to be no right answer, solution, opinion or prevailing theory that was leaning more right than any other, anywhere.
As much as I love my friends I found myself hitting the “Silence for 30 days” button on quite a few of them on social media. I couldn’t take anymore negativity, slamming people who were doing things they disagreed with or bashing our President. I feel like I have lived long enough now to say there have been Presidents I have liked less than others or whom I felt were not doing right by our nation. If I ever made someone feel bad for their opinion or who they voted for about a President or way of living that was different than my own I apologize. What I saw on social media though was next level ugly on so many topics. It was not a community any longer but a war zone with friend pitted against friend in the worse ways imaginable . The news being even worse fueling these opinions with their own and causing even more fear and separation of friends and families. United we are not.
All of these things I knew were impacting me. I will be candid in saying the news does not appear any longer to be a source you can turn to for information on what is going on in the world or if it was safe from things like COVID-19. Most of the news stories are filled with opinion and oped stories written by large corporations and used across the nation to sway opinions. As much as I love social media, it too, was no longer the place it was intended to be for connection with friends far and near. You should don armour if you say something that is opposite someone else’s opinion as it will set off an argument and name calling. It felt like there was no where you could obtain facts to form your own choices and opinions from and no where could you connect and share with friends in a judgment free way about what you were doing or thought on something.
I felt alone, confused, disconnected and well… angry. Yes, I was angry that people I loved were not being respectful and kind to me and to others. I felt mad about the lack of information so I could form my own opinion and make decisions based on truth. This was gnawing at me because regardless of what position I took someone would call me wrong, scream at me, or call me a name, or sometimes all of it! We have become so divided from one another fueled by opinions instead of facts and love. I felt all of this and it was showing in how I was looking at things. It was likely the reason I couldn’t write any more on the topic of LEARN because it was directly impacting what I teach on my blog about living naturally on your own terms. I felt attacked for what I believed based on what I knew because it was different than someone else’s belief. I was mad about it too.
Whew! Let me tell you when that came out as the reality of why I was feeling the way I was there was no doubt about why I was struggling to finish writing these August blog posts. We can post on social media all we want about being kind to one another, the truth is, we are not. We are kind when people agree with us or share the same opinion. We are kind to those we know and trust. We are not however kind people. We are not respectful of one another’s opinions, beliefs, lifestyles, choices, decisions, religious practices, diets, pet choices, political party and candidate leanings, dress, home location and so much more. We are not kind. If you have to post and remind others to “be kind” then I challenge if you yourself are practicing that same message.
Are you being fair?
Are you being kind?
Are you being respectful?
Are you being helpful?
I believe the answer generally is no if you look at what we say to each other on platforms like social media, how we treat one another on the street and how rally for our own causes. We have let our emotions go unchecked and we have all officially lost our heads in how we just respond to people. We don’t assume positive intent, the other person’s needs, desires, life direction or anything first before we blast out how wrong someone is. We jump to conclusions and assume so much without considering if there could be more to it, to them, to us. We don’t pause to consider, could they be right and I wrong?
I realize that is harsh. I include myself in the we as I too have struggled with some of the things I’ve heard other people say to me and how I reacted when I read or saw something I didn’t agree on. It’s so easy to hit the button and start typing what we think and let it get carried to the next level trying to convince someone we know better and are right. It’s so tempting to say something about what you think is so obvious and simple. It’s challenging to not let it escalate to the point of name calling, character bashing and rage even.
The truth is it is alright to be mad about something. It is also ok to feel like someone is making a huge mistake in their life, choices, opinions and more. It is ok not to agree with someone. It is also ok to say that to someone, in a nice, respectful way. However, when we let those emotions and reaction drive us in creating a gap so big that all we can do is scream names at one another we are not only not being kind we are not being true to ourselves. We are not listening to anyone even our own heart. We are letting emotions and opinion destroy friendships, families and communities. In our rage to be right we are setting fire to our world and all that is in it, good and bad.
This is where I could insert the importance of living naturally and why we need it. This is where I could tell you that by using some oils we can feel better and we can pause before we say the next ugly thing to one of our friends but I don’t think that’s the full answer in this situation. Yes, I believe the problem is the result of us not living naturally but like I had to in figuring out why I couldn’t write, sometimes we need to check off everything but the obvious first. Sometimes we need to just cool off and sort through what is really going on that is causing us to feel what we are. Why are we so angry, irritated, fly off the handle and attacking all those around us? Why are we so quick to judge people we have known for years, that we call our friends and even love? Until we know that, no amount of me telling you to live more naturally is going to feel good. This is where you would try it and tell me it doesn’t work too!
Being kind is more than just something you say on social media or some saying on your cute t-shirt. It’s more than us just telling our kids to be nice to each other and then we attack our friends for being different than us. If we want to be a kinder people, we have to first be kind to ourselves. If we want to stop lashing out at others we have to first stop lashing out at ourselves. If we want less negativity in our life we have to first stop being negative ourselves. The work of being kinder starts inside with each of us not on some public forum or billboard. It starts by putting words to why we feel the way we do and figuring out why. It starts by turning off the negativity around us and seeing how that is impacting us. Working through those feelings and getting to the heart of why we are reacting the way we are.
When we free ourselves from the bonds of negativity, we learn what it means to think for ourselves and appreciate the differences in one another. We begin to see differences in opinions and beliefs as beauty instead of wide oceans of discontentment and unrest filled with ugly names and accusatory assumptions. We begin to build and reinforce our connections with others rather than tear them down. We see the potential to live naturally on our terms while empowering others to do the same. It is where the path emerges to a world of peace and acceptance that we lack today in own treatment of one another. I invite each of us to look at if how applies to us and how we can actually be kind to ourselves and each other.
When you’re ready for more, I invite you to complete the free Lifestyle & Wellness Questionnaire to begin healing and defining a life built naturally on your terms: https://forms.gle/bMibPVGqBEdk3gtSA