Last night I watched the new Julie Roberts movie, Leave the World Behind. This is a movie along the lines of apocalyptic movies and yet not. While watching it I kept thinking “this is going someplace but where?” After it ended, I was left with this incomplete, yet dreaded feeling that this is a political? social? religious? commentary on our world today.
Without ruining the premise for those who choose to watch it, this is about 3 different families and how each deals with a traumatic situation of possible invasion or cyber-attack by other countries. The sadist theme for me however was how, in fear, we can quickly turn against the “other.”
With a degree in comparative theological studies, I have read many of the holy books and words out there, the Gospel, the Koran, The Bhagavad Gita, Confucius, and others. All speak of the call of one family of humanity. That we are all in this together. They stress that kindness, compassion, and humility are the bonds that hold us together as one human family here to support each other. Nowhere, other than with extremists, is there an adjunct message of “except for…”
So much of what we may read, so much of what we may be told, is that “they” don’t need or deserve our support and compassion. Whoever your “they” is, they do! Race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation or identification, and so forth are surface descriptions of an embodied soul, or essence. The one unifying factor, the one really significant factor is that they are here, walking beside us. If you don’t understand their experience, ask, if you are interested but always you can understand their humanity. They hurt, they cry, they fear, they laugh, they believe, and they hope and dream, just like us.
Calling people to turn against each other is calling people to turn against their nature. Our lower selves, that are caught in survival rather than living can show up on occasion. This week, I spent time demonstrating to a client how to thoroughly relish that lower self that can come up with comical and outrageous demands on others. When someone stops for a yellow light, and you want to scream “Get off the road if you can’t drive.” That’s Ok, not your best move but if you laugh at it, and never actually say it out loud, you got this!!!! Laugh at the powerful, passionate self that is alive and kicking, just don’t push it to thinking that just because you felt it, you have the right to say it. Far worse lower-self emotions, such as hatred, bias, or bigotry, can do so much damage to good “others” in the world. Things we have no right to express or do.
This holiday season of New Year’s, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Saint Nickolas Day, Yule, and whatever other holiday you celebrate, are literally celebrations of our blessings, our varied cultures, and our ability for thanksgiving and hope. Gifts each of us values. All worthy of respect and honor, along with compassion for those who are alone, abused, or in need.
Our true humanity, the side of us that supports our sense of well-being and ability to love, is called upon repeatedly in this season reminding us we are all in this together. How many turkeys, toys, articles of clothing, food products or cash have you given to others over the past 2 months? I believe that is who we truly are. Those moments are when we feel our heart most open, our sense of gratitude, sharing, and compassion are most alive as we support those with less or who are struggling in some way. When we stop to celebrate, we remember who we are called to be. What if we celebrated life each morning, in thanksgiving for another day? Our best selves would be radiating as a normal way of being. Go for it! We and the world so desperately need it.
As we begin a New Year, may the best of who you are radiate and bring into your life the best of all blessings in a year filled with laughter, joy, faith, and the outrageous gift of adventure, risk, and success, whatever that means to you!