Optimism is contagious; as is joy, laughter, community, collaboration, kindness (there’s even a documentary on contagious compassion and kindness)… I challenge you to flash a broad and authentic smile at even the most surly looking stranger and not see a light go on in them. As true as this all is, the stark reality remains, that negativity, pessimism, doubt and (possibly most dangerously) fear are also contagious. The forces of good and evil are engaged in a constant dance within and around each and every one of us, and processing that has genuinely left me almost completely incapacitated. It is likely that there’s a few more of us out there trying to figure out the world and their place in it, and feeling a bit burned out or overwhelmed in the process.
This journey is exhausting at the best of times, and this particular blip on the time space continuum really can’t be diagnosed as a universal high point for humanity. Probably safe to say that almost none of us have been left unchanged by the changes and challenges introduced through the pandemic and any number of local, regional and international issues that have unfolded in recent history. There are bits of beauty, and strange serendipitous events surfacing through the fog that would never have been given the bandwidth to begin, let alone thrive, without all the chaos and confusion. Let’s focus today on identifying and honouring the things we can manage and/or control, and actively asking the things that distract us or detract from our growth and journey to fuck all the way off.
It’s okay if we force ourselves to take a breath, relax, and centre for as long as we need to. And what better time to do this and practice radical self-care than the actual end of the world as we know it? We are in the midst of a painful rebirth/transition made absolutely necessary because of the greed and short sightedness of countless actors on the stage of the industrial revolution. We fucked shit up. All of us. Seriously. Go ahead and disagree with me, it doesn’t make this observation any less true.
There’s a lot of work ahead of each and every individual keen to rebuild better and embrace unthinkable possibilities like clean energy, sustainability, peace, creativity, community, and safety and justice for all. With so much out of our control, maybe it’s time we focused on the things we can manage and audaciously identify and eject or reject the things you cannot. As simple as it sounds, I think you might find the pursuit of this balance is rather a lot. Ouch, look as I lean in and fall toward strained and awkward rhyme. Do it every time. Ba dum pscchht.
Okay… So. Catching and spreading good feels and blocking or protecting ourselves and others from negativity and falling into patterns of blame, ignorance, arrogance, excuses, finger pointing, fear and generally damaging fuckery. Let’s do this.
In the spirit of lazy but (hopefully) interesting journalism/slacktivism, let me impart a list of suggestions, based predominantly on my own opinions, but delivered to you in a format that makes it look ever so slightly and annoyingly official and well researched. Ready? Let’s do this!
- Ask and Share
You are the youest you that ever there was or ever will be. You are also privy to a plethora of possessions and expressions and blessings (both tangible and metaphorical) that the world craves and needs. Share your knowledge. Share your gifts. Share your resources. Share your experiences. And be brave enough to ask clearly for things when and if you need them. Asking for things is a huge hurdle for empaths and creatures of kindness. Fear of rejection or concern you may be inconveniencing someone often makes asking even harder than saying no to things. Being on the giving or receiving end of no is an integral part of this process, as no is a gift from you and to you as without a reasonable level of no in life, there’s no room for heartfelt, brave and passionate yes to exist. If that didn’t make sense, may I suggest you read it again until you understand it. No makes space for yes. Saying no can show you care, for yourself and others.
When you are amplifying or sharing information through any medium, please remember to test the veracity and usefulness of your narrative with:
Is it TRUE?
And last, but absolutely not least… is what you are about to say or do KIND???
If not, maybe just don’t. Eat a cracker and stop.
- Shut Down/Recharge
Oh I have lost count of those of you who are spread so thin by life and things in and out of your control that you are coasting on little more than caffeine, convictions and adrenaline. HEAR ME NOW! Stop. Just fucking stop. Find a thing that brings you joy, shut everything else out and do that thing for enough time that you start to recharge your beleaguered batteries.
There comes a time in all our lives when the only reasonable and responsible thing to do is curl up in a blanket. Crying is optional but I find it incredibly cathartic and cleansing while I resort to burrito stasis. Burrito time can absolutely include bingeing on actual burritos, shitty TV, books, or music. I’d caution you to avoid the Internet for the duration of your burrito adventure, as detoxing from socials while in your burrito will help you to come back and be extra contagious earlier and more effectively than if you resort to scrolling while snuggled in your blanket.
This is so important. Just reading the word kicks something quite visceral in my gut into action. Quite often the hardest person to forgive is yourself. And hanging on to blame or anger toward anyone just hurts you and gives them space in your beautiful heart and head. So forgive yourself. Forgive others. Move on and if someone is proper toxic block that fucking noise from your life and keep fucking moving forward. Being unincumbered by the weight of shame, blame, regret and excuses makes you yummy and interesting. Being a negative, gossipy, bitchy asshole makes people wanna go hang out with someone lighter who forgives and forges ahead (more on that next).
- Forge Ahead
Inertia is a seriously powerful force, as is propulsion. No matter how fast or slow you move, the direction and the continued directional force toward whatever goals you are chasing is the formula to success. Take a break. But get back up and keep going when you feel safe and ready to do so.
- Pick a Pace
Don’t be a fucking hero. If you are going hell for leather all the time it is absolutely inevitable you’ll end up a puddle at some point. There will be sharp, short bursts of energy and activity that you’ll need to observe, respect and get through… but then you sure as shit better stop and recharge. Nobody can go hard all the time without breaking themselves and setting dangerous and unrealistic standards for those around them. Pick a pace or you’ll never finish the race.
- Be Curious
When you really understand that we are always learning and there’s so much more to know and show and so many ways for us to grow, that’s where the magic of curiosity kicks in and it is contagious as anything we have covered today. Seek knowledge. Get excited when you are clearly (and kindly with respect) proved wrong or questioned or challenged. Try new things. Go new places. Stop making excuses and start making creative and expansive mistakes and magical triumphs. None of that happens without curiosity. When we stop being curious we atrophy and our light dims until we find something to stoke the fire again.
- Be and Receive Kindness
I don’t know if this is the fifth, fiftieth or five hundredth meandering search for meaning you have read from my broken but eternally hopeful heart. Trust me when I say that I know that YOU know when you are being kind, and you also know when you are being an asshole. Don’t be an asshole. Find ways and means to be kind to people, even if and when they don’t deserve it. Smile at a stranger when you feel like crying, but cry when you need to. Seek the kindness and comfort of true friends who celebrate you and want to see you evolve and succeed. Tell the fucking truth, to yourself and others. Tell it with kindness though (I say this because I can be incredibly obnoxious and direct, and you can say the same thing in a different way and show much more respect). Let people Love you and protect and respect your boundaries and theirs. You know when you are being kind, so fucking make a huge effort to do it because that shit is proper contagious and the world needs more of it.
The human condition is a rollercoaster even for the most sublimely spiritually evolved beings. For the rest of us who aren’t so incredibly evolved, it is so often frustrating, confounding, confronting and exhausting. Know that how you speak, act and are will affect people around you. Energy you share and spend leaves you and then it is more or less out of your control who picks it up or how, so try and make that energy positive or inspiring rather than negative and exhausting. Failing your ability to be a ray of fucking sunshine all the time, please demand of yourself some down time to recharge so you can come back and kick some ass with your sparkle and kindness. Thanks.