It is Monday morning, and I, along with the rest of Americans, am hunkered down, self-isolating during this time of a global pandemic. I just finished tossing peanuts to the Stellar Jays outside, tethering our rescue mutts for their morning relief, and making coffee. A friend called, and eager to connect with anyone from the outside world, we sprang into a deep discussion on the well-being of each other during this fragile time.
How are you getting along at this time? She asked.
You mean, how am I getting through the stay-at-home order, the daily deluge of horrific news coming from the White House and across the globe, the toxicity of social media?
Yes, exactly, she responded.
Here’s what I answered, something that I share with you, in case it might serve you in some small way at this fragile, chaotic moment…
At this particular time in our human evolution, we are getting an opportunity to see our dark side, writ large. Inhumanity, greed, anger, ignorance, indifference, are all personified through the egos coopting our government known as Captain Lunatic & Company. The ugliness of humanity, of which we are all capable given the right circumstances, is out there unavoidably for us to see. There it all is, in its raw form.
The ugliness of humanity.
Played out, articulated, dramatized in exquisite detail, each and every painful day. Captain Lunatic & Colleagues are simply playing out their roles in showing us the worst of humanity, right in front of us. We are drawn to the unfolding of it not just because of our negativity bias that protects us on a primal level, but because we are curious to see just how morally bereft, logically bankrupt, and soulfully vacant one human being can become. As a whole, animal-loving, intelligent and well-educated mature female interested in self-actualization and embracing the whole of my own humanity, I can appreciate that this time is filled with actors on the world stage playing out a drama for us to witness.
What are we to do with this time?
We – each and every one of us – are at a turning point We each can make a choice on a daily, hourly, minute-by-minute basis even, to embrace our ugly side, if we choose. It’s not hard for me to delve down into hatred of my fellow being, to wit:
I wouldn’t shed a tear over the death of the person who shot the mother dog with five puppies in the head last week that came up on my Instagram feed, for instance. And I am hesitant to admit that last week when I called Senator Gardner’s office and left a message about the airline and cruise-line industry bailout, I called him a gravy-sucking pig (with apologies to Steve Martin for stealing his material).
Yep. I am not immune to base behavior when in the throes of frustration and anxiety.
What are we to do in such instances? In the case of the abused dog, I did like dozens of others did – I donated, gave my blessings and said a prayer for the struggling dog, and moved on to find a story of someone doing good things in the world. I sighed, cried for the struggling dog, held my own two rescue mutts more closely. I didn’t call Senator Gardner’s office back and apologize, because I still believe in what I said, I just wish I could’ve told him personally.
Then I actively looked for some good news about humanity. I stumbled across The Obama Foundation, with stories of people serving the elderly and the poor, who are intensely vulnerable and isolated at this time of our global pandemic.
I am not saying, I continued, that I don’t delve down into the rabbit hole of darkness and get affected by our inhumanity at this time. I was reading a New York Times article on Sunday, I sighed, and while I was reading, a pop-up advertisement asked me,
“Do you think the elderly should die to save the economy?” I wanted to scream, rant, write a nasty letter to the editor at the New York Times, How morally repugnant can people be at this time?
Yes, I get it, my friend agreed, I am seeing a lot of people turning away from the hourly updates and information, engaging in self-care, creativity, turning to friends and finding new ways of being.
As ended our conversation this morning, I thought of how we can all make a conscious, more self-loving decision to expose ourselves to things more soothing and life-affirming/life-giving at this time, like the fact that people are applying to foster and adopt homeless animals by the thousands across the country. Energies are indeed shifting to create things anew, from 8 Billion Trees, a nonprofit dedicated to replanting trees in deforested areas, to a proliferation of foster-based rescue groups bringing up animals from high-kill shelters in the South (like Paws and Effect Rescue here in Thornton, Colorado, or others who take in specific purebreds for rehoming like Retriever Rescue, for instance), to True to My Roots, one fearless woman in India dedicated to exposing animal cruelty in the midst of a culture mired down in abject poverty, who keeps popping up on my Instagram feed every day to cultivate more awareness for the plight of animals.
Does any of these new movements, creations or efforts erase any one particular act perpetrated upon a helpless animal, or an undo a statement by Captain Lunatic, that the governors need to be nice to him if they want critical, life-saving medical supplies to combat the Covid-19 virus?
Certainly, it does not.
But, part of my heart feels more balanced and hopeful for the goodness of humanity, in the outpouring of response to it. I feel more light when I hear of my friend’s dog-rescuing daughter who collected veterinary supplies donated from vets in her own practice and delivered them to the rescue groups struggling for supplies at this time. It helps to choose where I focus, because there is so much of life happening all at one time.
We are all feeling the tension and the chaos, the primal fear and the anxiety of uncertainty at this time. It’s easy to become overwhelmed, drop down a rabbit hole of despair and spin out for a while. I’ve done it, we’ve all gone there. I believe it’s our job to hold each other hands (okay, from six feet away) to keep one another from going too far down.
How do we want to proceed as a people?
What’s the next step in our human evolution?
Do we want to live in smallness, cowering in fear and mired down in chaos, drama and the abuse of power, feeding our helplessness and disempowerment?
Or do we want to find ways to feed our creativity, cultivating a sustainable yet simpler existence, living congruously with our higher selves?
Do we wish to live more in alignment with our home planet and the animals we share it with, or do we want to continue supporting an egocentric, economically-oriented culture that places a dollar value on human lives and ignores the life-giving ecosystems and nature upon which all of our existence is based?
Whatever it is that you choose to expose yourself to and involve yourself in today, I believe we can all make a conscious choice for the betterment of ourselves, the evolution of humanity, and for the good of all life, human and non. We can help ourselves as we each stumble along this uncharted terrain, affirming life in all abundance and diversity, and cultivate our higher selves of which we are all capable, if we own up to our own personal dark sides and simply, each and every moment, choose the light instead.
Namaste, and thank you for listening.