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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

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A to Z 2013 : INITIATIVE: JUST ACT KIND

(An A to Z 2013 Challenge Entry)

PREFACE: I want to believe this is somewhat coherent. As I began writing it, I had way too many topics/thoughts/ideas barraging me at once. This was the third draft and I refuse to do a fourth. I feel this will get a handful of my thoughts out and I will revisit this topic once the A to Z Challenge concludes, and I can have more time to focus.


Love & Hate & Everything Great

Love and hate are deep concepts. What they mean differs person to person, based on perception. My bouts of belief on Love, my SECRET TRUTH of the HEART, has been an ever changing work in progress. Just years ago I wasn’t a believer in this supposedly euphoric emotion. I felt unable to receive and offer it, and sadly — at the time — I didn’t care; it just was. I was okay with that. It was who I was and what I believed. Love was false. Something that people made themselves believe was real, backed by chemical reactions within our bodies.

I was incredibly unforgiving, held grudges, and never bothered fully exploring anything from another’s perspective. There are some things that can still trigger these factors within me; lying being the biggest. Even with lying, the way I handle things have completely shifted over the years. The shift occurred after I began to explore my Spirituality.

What caused me to take this journey? An incident with an ex (the one mentioned in DEMONS actually). I had asked her if I was murdered, would she be angry with my killer. She said she would be sad, but that she would forgive the individual, essentially wishing them peace and love. This infuriated me. I actually became offended. She wouldn’t damn this individual to hell, condemning them? Hunt them down and exact revenge? I would have, if reversed.

This lead to a huge fight that left me feeling bitter and resentful. It blew over, as most fights do, but I found myself revisiting this incident some time after we had broken up. I was suddenly hit with load of grief, I guess it would be called. Why had I judged her on her own personal beliefs? Being able to forgive someone who had murdered a loved one was exponentially stronger and more meaningful than breaking down into hatred, rage, and seeking bloodshed.

Coming to that conclusion was odd to me. I love revenge movies. A hero pushed to his limits, having lost a loved one, goes on a rampage of destruction. I even plan on writing those types of characters/plots/books. I could have seen myself as a Vigilante. What was this... Forgiveness crap? Fuck that, bring on the bullets and explosions!

The thought stuck with me, though. Not only that, but it began to spread, or evolve, or whatever you want to call it. I began to have the pervasive notion that I was standing at a crossroads and had to decide which path I wanted to take: Love or hate. Thus, my spiritual journey of Love, Positive Thinking, and Forgiveness was underway.

What I found was that a lot of my intuitive beliefs of the interconnectedness of everyone fell right in line with this path. I began to change my perception of people, they weren’t all evil. Somehow over the years, I even reached the same conclusion of my ex about Forgiveness. Now, until something as extreme as a murder occurring within my family — naturally, I’d rather never have that happen — I can only hypothesize I would put this belief into practice.

You May Call Me a Dreamer


I’ve never prescribed to the belief of what some describe as a Vengeful/Jealous God; that God is to be feared. That you will be cast down into the bowels of hell for eternity if you don’t follow his regiment. There is much more to say on that, but it would be a long tangent. Basically I don’t believe God (if existing) would ever destroy any of his creations by choice. God isn’t about death, despair, vengeance, sin and destruction. Nor do I believe, with all my being, are people.

So what do I believe people are? Love. At our essence, everyone is Love; everyone connected. Considering I am not religious, it may be curious but... I attribute Light and Love as God; synonyms, if you will, for one another. Meaning that God, God Source, Source — whatever you want to call it — exists within all of us. Everyone. The “good” and the “bad” alike.

I believe part of our journey in life is opening up and accepting that Light/Love within ourselves, and accepting how everything is connected. Harming another only harms yourself, because you are essentially one. To learn how to live together in harmony, to do away with hate and violence, to accept and give love freely to one another, to make life free and beautiful, to see past superficial differences; embracing the unity of all.

So maybe I’m a Dreamer, but I’m not the only one.

It’s a Mad World

Lately, it feels like I see Hatred and Ignorance in abundance. Some of this may be due to the recent “hot topics” in the world. Same-Sex Marriage, war (threats of additional war), mass murders.

When this blog entry first came into conception months ago, it was just after the Sandy Hook shootings. People were outraged, horrified, stunned. Demands for new gun-control laws were rampant (still are), demands for easier access to help for those with mental illness, and parents claiming how they planned to hug their children once they got home from school that afternoon.

Arguments and debates abound. Sure, stricter background checks sounds like common sense to me. Will it stop someone from getting their hands on a weapon if they want it? If the War of Drugs is any indication, the answer is a resounding no. It may make it harder, but not completely stop it. Any help for those with mental illness/disabilities is a huge plus in my book; another no brainer.

What struck the strongest chord with me? The seemingly least controversial aspect of the entire incident. The people giving their condolences from afar who would now be giving their children a huge hug when they returned from school. That is sweet, really it is. So what was my problem?

Why the hell does it take a tragedy to finally snap ourselves out of our narcissistic self-importance to engage in an act that should be done every single day? Worse yet, why does it not last? I’m sure many kids received excessive hugs during the week or two following the shootings. After that? How long did it take before it was back to the same old routine?

Not to say everyone is narcissistic. People are busy and have a lot going on in their lives. Why should someone be expected to give their child a hug and express their love? Their spouse? Their own parents? Time is money. Tick-tock, tick-tock.

If you manage to do this on a daily basis, that is amazing and I applaud you. Not only can it be something lost to our day to day schedules, even when not busy it is sometimes lost on us. I guess I believe these are things that should be done/said all the time and consistently. It is something that I myself have been working on for a long time now.

I’ve told myself I would start telling my father I love him when I see him weekly. In the past few years, I’ve maybe said it five times. It can be awkward, and feel foreign to many if it isn’t what they’re familiar with. What if they say nothing back? Who cares! It is about you showing/expressing your love for another.

Think of it like Christmas: It’s about giving, not receiving.

I’d like to see some improvements made to gun-control and access to mental illness help come out of the tragedy experienced that day, but I would love to see people learning to engage with their family and loved ones on a heightened — more expressive — level more so.

Initiative: Just Act Kind (I:JAK)

Everyone wants to change the world, and fight for what they believe in. People fight for the rights of Same-Sex Marriage, some protest war, some protest Walmart. Being passionate and fighting for something is great, as long as it isn’t negative, in my opinion. People have a freedom of choice/expression/belief. If your method of fighting for equality, is bashing those who disagree (regardless of how foul/absurd you find them) you are merely fueling the same source: negativity.

Also, You refuse to shop at Walmart? You think Target hasn’t had its share of lawsuits dealing with discrimination? You may be mistaken. Toppling giants would feel great, but they will just spawn another taking its place; Like a hydra, of sorts. This would be because I believe the source isn’t being focused on.

What is the source? You.

I think it is important to spread belief of equality and love, but I think it begins with yourself. You can’t force anyone to do anything or change someone. You only have control over your own thoughts and  actions. By being kind and expressing love to others it will, in turn, spread. Just as hate begets hate, love begets love.

What difference in the world are you making really when spewing hellfire about this political agenda or that corporation, if you are also scolding your child for an "F" on their report card? Yelling at your significant other for forgetting to pick up milk? Which is having the most impact, and to what end? Positive or negative?

I propose to just start being kind in our day to day lives. sure it’s been said before, but I haven’t said it. So I am doing so now.

Just Act Kind.
  
“Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.” - Henry James

These acts of kindness can range from additional hugs or “I love you”s to loved ones, smiling to people as you walk past, helping someone you see is struggling, to all kinds of possibilities. Starting at home makes sense, and is easiest for some.

Tell yourself I love you, for starters. People think this is ridiculous, and so most avoid it. Do it for a while and see how it affects you. What exactly do you have to lose? Leave a sweet or funny note for someone at home or at work. Call a friend or relative you haven’t spoken to for a long time and catch up. Your child misbehaved or scored a bad grade? Talk to them in a loving, warm fashion, and explain why it was wrong and how it made you feel/ask what struggles they may have with the class. For the love of all that is holy, actually communicate!

Keep your thoughts positive. Don’t let someone else’s mood dictate your own. Don’t dip into the same negative pool as they are. You never know what caused their current state of being. Most of the time it has absolutely nothing to do with you. Positive Thinking is a challenge for myself, but I know it’s importance. It’s like a muscle that needs to be trained and strengthened, until become second nature.

When you feel yourself becoming negative — annoyed or frustrated — embrace it, accept that you are feeling the way you are, then let it go.

“If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all” may very well apply here. Don’t let those negative emotions cause you to lash out, doing/saying things you may later regret.

I think this is where the change needs to take place. With you and I, as individuals. In our normal day to day. Acting kind is something people will notice and take in a positive light. It will infuse them with the desire to mimic, to help others in the same fashion. They will become moved and inspired. In time, it will spread; Love and kindness. Then I feel real change can begin, because you need a solid foundation. One built on Love, Kindness, and Positivity; not hate and negativity.

And that foundation is us.

An Inspirational Video



15 comments:

  1. Great post Jak! You made so many good points that it's hard to know where to start. I agree about being loving with ourselves first and that how we act/feel within is what we create more of in the world. I also like what you said about someone else's mood having nothing to do with you. While so true, it can be one of the most difficult things to be mindful of...I think. Keep up the awesome writing. :)

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    1. Thanks Tracy! I wasn't sure how it would turn out because each time I attempted to write it I was going off on so many tangents. Hopefully the basis was coherent here lol Like mentioned, once A to Z is wrapped up I will revisit it again. I hope the video of Imagine worked for you. Being mindful and aware of our thoughts is one of the hardest things for me too.

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    2. I did like the video. I had not heard this version of the song before. Pretty cool! :)

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  2. I remember seeing "The Great Dictator" in school, loved that movie.

    I think we should treat people like we want to be treated and I am pretty sure most of us want to be treated kind...we are born being curious and dreamers, and we should try to stay this way. I don't know I am just rambling...coffee

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    1. I've honestly only ever seen this speech from it. :( Fail! haha

      Yeah pretty much along the terms of "The Golden Rule" really.

      Always be curious, ask questions, and dream!

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  3. True, true, true. I'm forever telling my kids the same thing. It is finally sinking in. Our daughter gave up bickering with her one brother for Lent. They are oil and water, those two, and argue all the time. I have been telling them for years that the only way you can change the other person's behavior is to change your own. For Lent, she decided to do it. Our house changed completely. I saw her, more than once, simply choose not to get pulled into the bickering. And it worked. Within a week, he stopped picking at her. By the end of Lent, they were great friends.
    Kindness works. People will be kind if you are first.

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    1. That is a great story and example of how it can work, even just at home. I am glad you are teaching your children things like this. I really wish more parents would.

      Be the example you want to see in the world :)

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  4. At the end of the day, my thinking is this:

    There are already enough jerks in this world.

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    1. Lol if there was a shortage would you change your stance? :)

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    2. Possibly. I'm a nonconformist like that. ;)

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  5. Hmmmm yes this kindness thing is kinda more familiar to me these days. Thanks Jak.

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  6. What a wonderful post. I love that you were open to a different way of looking at things, and chose the path of love and kindness. Being kind is a huge deal to me. Not that I'm never a jerk, but I try my best to be good to other people, whether I feel they deserve it or not :)

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    1. Thanks Kianwi! Most everyone struggles from time to time with what. It's a constant effort depending on the people/situations involved. Great that you are always trying to be your best self forward.

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  7. I'm completely inspired right now! Great post. So much truth in there. Being Love is so important, thanks for the reminder to focus my energy there.

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    1. Jenn! Thanks much. That sounds like a great plan :) Focus as much energy there as you can.

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