Sometimes it’s tricky figuring right from wrong, but maybe it’s a bit easier if we cast it in term of light and dark. Here’s a guy whose security camera kept alerting him because a neighbor kid on a bike looped through his driveway every evening. His response is awesome and humbling…
The lesson here goes beyond acceptance. He could have just ignored it, done nothing. Instead he embraced it — turned it into something joyful and engaging. A bit of light in the darkness that surrounds us these days.
I like how, in the description he says, “And then inspiration struck, in the form of my wife giving me this great idea.”
In the spirit of credit due, I saw this wonderful bit of light in a Jalopnik article, “Watch How A Neighbor Deals With A Little Kid Who Keeps Tearing Around His Driveway”. (Jalopnik is a fun online magazine if you like cars.)
Speaking of the rising dark (appropriately, the autumnal equinox approaches), former Presidential hopeful Marianne Williamson has an opinion piece in Newsweek: “America’s cults of madness” that begins:
When on the debate stage during the Democratic presidential primary, I referred to the “dark psychic force of the collectivized hatred” that our president had unleashed among us. While I was mocked by nighttime talk show hosts and others for having said it, I’m not sure how anyone can look at phenomena such as the cult conspiracy theory QAnon and not consider that certain elements present in American politics today lie way beyond the purview of what anyone would consider normal.
She never stood a chance of being elected, but I had a lot of sympathy for her message. She’s not entirely wrong.
Her point is that a lot of what we’re seeing, “QAnon, Nazism and cult followings of a nationalistic leader” are essentially a form of mental illness — what she calls an unhealthy soul.
As with most good-hearted progressive people, she looks for change in society — a change of the collective mindset:
Only when we decide as a society to actively align our policies with the tenets of a healthy soul — putting kindness, love, mercy and compassion over cutthroat attitudes that put glorification of self over a commitment to the love that binds us as one, not only in our private behavior but in our political and economic behavior as well — will our wounded soul begin to heal itself.
Again, she’s not entirely wrong. Arguably not wrong at all in what she says. As always, the difficulty is getting people to change.
Or even work together. COVID-19 has shown that humans will resist that even at the cost of risking their own lives. Part of the darkness we have to fight is “crab-bucket” mentality.
She ends with:
Yet the symptoms alone are not the deeper problem. It is their cause — our idolization of the things of the world over the things of spirit, our deference to money before our deference to love, our lack of reverence and the de-sacralization of nature — that has compromised our immune system and now threatens to destroy us. Each of us has a role to play in the healing of our nation’s soul, from increasing our capacity for kindness, to committing to the collective and political changes that will realign our nation with the angels of our better nature. Until and unless we do so, the manifestations of collective fear will continue to grow and will possibly overwhelm us. The only real remedy is an awakening of the heart and the manifestations of collective love.
And I just can’t argue with that.
The CanyonChasers guy was playing an individual role in healing through kindness, and there was psychological reward all around.
The other morning on my walk, crossing at a green light, a guy in a pickup, going too fast and braking too late, ended up well into the crosswalk. Option #1: Just ignore. Walk around. Option #2: Give’m a look. “Hey, I’m walkin’ here!” Fighting natural inclinations, I went with Option #3: Goofy shrug and smile. He smiled back. I think we both felt better about the whole thing.
Every interaction is a pebble that makes a ripple in the social pond.
Speaking of morning walks, I’ve been listening to my music alphabetically by artist and the last week it was Simon & Garfunkle, which goes as deep into my pop musical past as possible.
I’d forgotten how good those albums are and found myself playing several of the tunes on them more than once. One of my all-time favorite tunes, by any artist, is “Bridge over Troubled Water”
Which, again, is a message about the light. We need to build bridges between us all. We can start simple — a chalk racetrack in your driveway to spread joy and light is perhaps a good start.
“Go forth and spread beauty and light.”