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100 Days of Gladness: Day 33

The Revolution Facing Us Now

judge's gavel striking
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Our country is divided. People are afraid in ways that some of us have never known before, and others have known all too well. Afraid that the national structures we’ve taken for granted are coming to an end — possibly a violent one (January 6th still rings in my psyche).

These are dramatic words, I know. But this is the truest thing I can say right now: What I fear most is mob mentality.

Notice that I don’t say “the Republican mob mentality.” Yes, it seems that, for most Republicans, Trump’s recent felony conviction has only polished his brand as a martyr for freedom. But Democrats are equally susceptible to mob mentality. I saw a clip showing a large crowd chanting outside the New York City courthouse, “New York hates you! New York hates you!” 

Don’t get me wrong. I understand the sentiment. I, too, have felt the frustration and the rage. But I don’t see the value in yelling hatred into the air.

There is a revolution churning in our country. But it need not be the one we think. 

I have always held a special reverence for words. My experience shows that when we pay close attention to what we’re saying, it often results in a more mindful course of action. Which is what the whole world needs right now.

So. “Revolution.”

Let’s take a look at the definition (Online Etymology Dictionary) of the word “revolve,” which I consider to be the root of the word “revolution:”

“late 14c., revolven, ‘to change; change direction, bend around,’ from Old French revolver and directly from Latin revolvere ‘roll back, unroll, unwind; happen again, return; go over, repeat,’ from re- “back, again” (see re-) + volvere “to roll.”

Here are some of the things I discovered as I traveled deeper into this rabbit hole of words and their meaning. “Roll back, unroll, unwind:” That all points to the concept of “undo.” How much has been undone by Trump? Here’s some of it.

But then there’s “happen again, return; go over, repeat.” History repeats itself, right? Yes, it does. Here’s a work of speculative fiction that lays out what could happen, based on what has happened, in painful, well-researched detail.

But stay with me. 

There is a much larger view, and a much deeper way to look at all of this — and that is the revolution facing us now.

To illustrate, I give you the other definition of “revolve:” (same dictionary)

“to turn over (in the mind or heart), meditate” 

“to pass through periodic changes” 

“to come around in process of time.”

Nothing grows without change. Not plants, not people, not countries. Change can be terrifying, it can be exciting, but it is almost always uncomfortable. And it takes time. Seconds, months, decades, sometimes millennia, aeons. And it is usually not linear but circular in nature.

Personally, I don’t think the kind of change we need is to elect a convicted felon as our next President — especially one who has said he wants to be a dictator.

But I do think that we need a radical change in how things get done in our country. Especially in how conflict is addressed. Yelling “New York hates you!” doesn’t cut it. 

How will that radical change come about, then?

One person, one mind at a time.

Starting with me. This morning.

Can I turn over, in my heart and mind, the thoughts that I otherwise would have swallowed without question? Can I look at them carefully, meditate on them? What am I believing without investigation? Where am I engaging in mob mentality, without knowing it?

I don’t have the answers. I don’t necessarily need them. Asking sincerely, and making space for what falls into the cupped hands of my question, can make all the difference. 

I can become a one-woman revolution for mindfulness. 

I can stop gulping down other people’s narratives about what’s happening, or what’s ahead; and I can listen for what my life is asking of me right this minute.

I can change direction from unconsciousness to a more mindful approach.

I can bend around the obstacles, like a tree bends around the darkness to reach the sun, or like a stream bends around a boulder to live into its flowing.

I can roll back my assumptions about people, my cousin, my sister, my life, the world. Roll them all the way back to when I was a tiny child and knew nothing and was wide open and free.

I can unwind. I’m wound so tight, my movements in any direction are restricted. I can unwind, untangle the knots, relax.

I can let mindfulness happen again, I can return to the present moment. Over and over. Every morning. Every minute.

I am a one-woman revolution today.

This is how I will serve my country.

Should the greatest fears of those who are afraid come to pass, I’m committed to staying this course, no matter what.

We’ll see how it goes.


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