AND Look Inside For the Resources

March 22nd, 2015

Sometimes insights occur in a singular moment with a quiet whisper that awakens our attention. Other times, we wait so long as to be hit over the head. Any attempt to listen to the news today will be met with stories of violence against women and ethnic or religious minorities. Two particular versions of the stories caught my attention.

One concerns an interview with one of the students from the fraternity in PA that took nude photos of women without their consent or awareness and published them on line. The reason this particular interview stood out for me was that the young man, granted anonymity by the interviewer for the story, proclaimed that he didn’t know what the big deal was because this sort of thing has been going on for years.

Much as the behaviors of Donald Sterling were not new, behaviors that oppress and demean are not new. Women’s voices have long been silenced, as have minority voices, in virtually every powerful mainstream system—politics, governments, organized religions, workplaces—the list goes on. What is new is that there is a groundswell today so loud as to awaken our attention. That something has been going on for a long time does not excuse it. It does not justify it. And it does not forgive those who sit silently by and watch it.

It is not news that our large systems are unhealthy, if a healthy system is defined as supporting the growth and flourishing of those affected by it, as well as members of it. Large systems are power-based systems that place the power in the hands of the few who command control over vast resources to be administered to the many.

The other story that caught my attention was a story carried by public television on the life of Judy Garland. What struck me was the role of the powerful heads of MGM in perpetuating a system designed to make the talented actress deliver an unreasonable number of performances, pumped up with pills that destroyed her health. And when she sought help and got off the pills, the studio refused to support her and then drove her back to taking them, because her self-confidence was so destroyed that she had given her power to the system to tell her who she was and whether she was good enough.

Why these stories stand out for me is that there is a gift in here for all of us. It is to wake up and recognize that every one of us is in a position to command control over vast resources. We may not all be wealthy by external measures. However, we have the power to determine who we will be, what we like about ourselves (regardless what others like), and where we wish to lend our voices and gifts. Only we can determine our inner strength, wisdom, grace, and light. AND only we can control the power to stand in our light or decide to see ourselves as victims and behave accordingly, ignoring our own truth to give our self-esteem to larger systems or powerful individuals to tell us who we are. AND there is absolutely no need to do so. The world needs each of us to stand in our light.

Self-esteem must be sourced from the inside. When you know who you are and what you believe, it is time to own it, no apologies. The truth is inside and no system can actually take away who you are, if you do not give it to them. It does mean carefully choosing the friends and associates in your life who make it easier to be your best and avoiding those with other motives, stemming from their own ambitions and insecurities. It does mean seeing limitations of unhealthy systems and building or seeking healthy support systems with others who also choose to live consciously, without fear of what others may think.

 

And here is the good news. Each of us, by tapping into our internal light and knowing who we are can be a part of waking up the darkness in this world by simply managing our own vast resources and using them for good. Shining our light does not diminish the light of anyone else. We are not in competition with anyone else when we look inside. It is time to stop feeding unconscious and hurtful systems, by shutting down our own light and gifts to fit in. It is time to source our power from the inside where the reserves are unlimited and increasingly powerful, if we nourish them.

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