Building bridges rather than bombs.

I read a headline recently. “What are the West’s military options in Syria?”

Why military? Why not diplomatic? This is in a time where we celebrate the lady who talked down the gunman at the school. No weapons, just words.

Why can’t we be known for our peace rather than our pistols? Why do we have to be the policemen of the world?

I think there are many Americans who are tired of our tax money being spent on the military, and would rather money be spent on education, or food, or infrastructure. I think there are many of us who would rather our money be spent on filling people up with food rather than blowing them up with bombs.

Give peace a chance, indeed. Teach compassion. Teach people how to talk with each other. Teach love. And I don’t mean love under duress. I mean love that comes from a place where people are comfortable being themselves, and comfortable with other people being themselves. There is more to peace than getting everybody to be the same. That isn’t the goal. Peace that way is false.

How about peace that involves everybody being able to say what they feel from a position of safety and trust? They don’t have to agree, just listen, and agree to disagree. There is a lot of maturity in that.

How about peace that means that everybody has their basic needs met first – like food, and water, and housing, and energy, and education?

Peace that comes at the end of a gun isn’t. It creates secrecy, and resentment, and fear. It creates lies.

Peace that comes from books and knowledge is real.

It is time to rethink the way we have always done things, because it hasn’t worked.

God is neither male nor female.

God is neither male nor female. God just is. God is both and neither. God has no need of gender. God does not need another half. God is whole. God is the Creator. It is our human minds that need male-ness and female-ness to God. God has both qualities together.

I believe that to promote the idea of “the Goddess” or the “divine feminine” in order to achieve parity is a bad idea. I understand why some women feel it necessary to have God be female. People tend to want to make God in their own image. But if it is rude to women to have God be masculine, then it is rude to men to have God be feminine.

Our human brains can’t handle something not being definable or limitable, but that is at the heart of what God is.

God is the alpha and the omega at the same time. God is, was, and shall be. Our human minds cannot handle that. We can’t handle something that is beyond our concept of time. So we certainly can’t handle something that is asexual or bisexual or omnisexual. We don’t have a box on the form to check off for that.

God was described as male, as father, in a time where being male was seen as superior. This is why God was described as male then. But God is above all of us. Our language does not have a third person gender neutral pronoun other than it, and that sounds terrible. “It” just doesn’t have any weight to it. But s/he is weird too. And it still subtly promotes one gender before another. God is the perfect balance of both, and neither at the same time.

It is us who are divided, but God is one. God is complete and unified.

The Black Hole of Crazy

Sometimes I feel the best thing I can do is just to not get drawn into other people’s black holes of crazy. Crazy/angry/upset people have an energy about them that is like its own gravity. It is easy to get swept up and swept away. It is easy to get lost.

I remember a time when a manager was arguing with me over the best way to handle a bad situation. The program that we used at work had gone down and there was a way to check people out in the meantime. It was the way I’d been trained, and it worked, and I’d used it for over a decade. It turns out there was another way to do it that had been policy for years. She wanted me to learn it right then. Right in the middle of a bad situation is not the time to learn a new procedure. It is a great time to stick with a known good.

She got very upset with me that I refused to try the new procedure right then. Part of her anger came from the fact that my boss should have taught us this, and she can’t stand my boss. Part of her anger came from the fact that she is supposed to be in charge and she really isn’t. You can be a manager in name only.

I was getting drawn into her anger and her argument. I was feeling that anger, that tension. This used to be common for me. I’d get that deer in the headlights look when someone would argue or yell, and lose myself in the mix.

I hate feeling like that. I’ve prayed about it, I’ve read books on nonviolent conflict resolution, and I’ve studied yoga. But it is hard to be objective about what is going on when you are sucked into it.

Until I did.

Somehow at that moment I was able to step outside of my feelings and observe them. I didn’t like how I felt. I didn’t like having an argument about something that didn’t need to be argued about right then. Or ever, really. There is very little in life that needs to be yelled. Building on fire? Yell. Policy change? Don’t yell. Easy.

In the middle of that getting-worse situation, I looked at her and said “we aren’t arguing about this right now.”

And somehow, we weren’t. It stopped. The black hole of crazy lost all of its power. It stopped sucking, in more ways than one. The situation got handled and it was OK.

I was stunned. I was surprised that I was able to be objective in that crazy moment. I was surprised that simply saying that we weren’t going to argue meant that we didn’t.

And I’m thankful for this new learning, that it takes two to argue. By my intentional action, peace happened. By my presence and calm, the issue was fixed.

Peace can start within, with one person.

It took a long time for me to get to the space where I could be objective about my feelings and then act accordingly. It took a long time to get where my feelings weren’t driving the bus. It took a long time to get where my “monkey mind” wasn’t winning. I’m glad to know it is possible. It takes a lot of practice to keep this awareness going, but I see the results. Calm me means calm people around me. My awareness is healing.

I want more of this. I want more people to be aware of this. If we are all aware of the tricks our minds and bodies play on us, then we are all going to do a lot better. We don’t have to get drawn into the black hole of crazy that comes from other people, or from within.

By staying calm, we keep the peace.