Rip off the mask, tear down the walls. Show the world your beautiful self!

Yet Another Slaughter Makes the Sheep Bleat

With yet another school shooting in the news, people are once again taking to Social Media to voice their opinions and rant their usual rants, ad infinitum, ad nauseum. While I don’t fault any of them for being socially conscious, I am curious as to how those rants are any better (or worse, for that matter) than the standard placebo “our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims”?

Worse yet, is jumping on another bandwagon of anger and blame something they’re doing by conscious choice, or because they continue to allow themselves to be led like lambs to the slaughter by media and politics? Does anyone realize how much they promote the political demon’s divisiveness by their outspokenness on Facebook, Twitter, or whatever their Social media du jour might be?

Can We Listen to Ideas for Solutions Without Judgement?

In the last couple of years, I’ve seen and re-seen the same basic arguments for and against gun control. I’ve seen the same groups blamed, and the same groups defended.

Wake up everyone! The only way to solve anything is to join together, air all points of view in an environment of open-mindedness, and find the solutions we’re all missing while holding tight to our own skewed points of view.

In a healthy business environment, solutions are found with brainstorming. An effective brainstorming session will respect anything and everything offered without judgement. Once all ideas are on the board, they can be debated until the less viable are weeded out and you’re left with those most likely to succeed. There’s no guarantee those remaining will be the most conservative, the tried and true, or the least far-fetched either. All options have an equal chance of being considered.

Clinging Desperately to Our Own Sinking Ships

Sadly, we’re so busy hanging onto our deeply ingrained beliefs and values, we would rather cling to what’s not working than consider something completely outside our comfort zone which might. We are children with security blankets being manipulated by the adults in the room (and I refer to the manipulators as adults only in the loosest sense) to cling to those security blankets of ours at all costs. Like Linus of “Peanuts” fame, we’ll hold onto those blankets even if the building is burning down around us, or we’re flung into the ocean without lifeboat or paddle.

How long are we going to cling to the past and to tried and untrue values and solutions before we recognize the futility of continuing to fight with both friends and foes virtually, while watching our world go down in flames around us? And people wonder why I refuse to join the futility and the chest pounding.

Getting Beyond Our Ingrained Beliefs

That isn’t to say there aren’t some real gems of wisdom out there. Whenever I see someone suggesting we listen to those with opposing views and try to understand why they reached them, I want to stand up and cheer. Even more, we could try to understand why we hold the views we do? Is it habit? A particular wrong we can’t let go of? Tunnel vision? Or worse, is it putting our trust in someone just because we always have, so of course, whatever they tell us must be true?

I’m willing to bet we are all guilty of all these reasons, and more which make no logical sense. People on one side or the other are reluctant if not militantly unwilling to listen to why someone supports an opposing person or viewpoint. And god forbid you even suggest to some of them that they were subtly manipulated into believing the most far-fetched of notions. I get it. No one wants to admit they believed a pile of horseshit was a lush garden with wine flowing from the fountains. We don’t want to admit our opinions have no basis in fact, but came simply from being bombarded with fake facts created (supposedly) by sources we thought we could trust.

We Need More Watch Dogs

The title of this post might be a bit misleading given what I’ve already written, but does, in its own way still hold true. Though I have no desire to manipulate anyone or give them reason to believe whatever my version of the truth might be, I also have no desire to be led to the slaughter by all of the crap being published these days. There is absolutely no way of knowing any more whether an article or comment from a trusted source truly came from that trusted source. Groups like Anonymous who do have the talent and ability to dig deep into the source of those words and expose the actual voices behind them are likely so overwhelmed right now, both with flying under the radar and weeding through so much virtual manure that they’re barely scratching the surface.

Even if they did have the manpower and ability to keep doing what they’re doing without getting caught and stifled, we have all allowed ourselves to become somewhat complacent about believing those “trusted sources”.

Breaking Free of My Personal Paradigms

Despite my refusal to jump on the latest cause, I’m attempting to use my gift for words to debate, demand, and maybe even offer a viable solution. Yet I, too am somewhat hobbled by an ingrained belief system. I do find a kind of dark humor in the latest piece of idiocy attributed to our current commander in chief. Yet I also believe (whether accurately or not) that an awful lot of it is fabricated by people who are paid very well to do so. Why? Because it keeps the rest of the country (and even the world) fighting over the stupidity and unreasonableness while supporters cling even more tightly to their beliefs, despite the obvious insanity. Or at least it’s obvious to those of us in the opposition, right?

Today, it’s easy to explain away something we don’t want to believe by attacking the source of information. We can write off an entire argument by saying or thinking “I can’t possibly believe that. It came from a person or publication which, in my opinion, does nothing but lie”.

What Ever Happened to Honesty and Truth?

To misquote a country song, we’re searching for truth in all the wrong places. The trouble is, we’ve lost all sight and perspective for where truth can actually be found. I wish I could say I know where that place is, but frankly, I’m as baffled as the rest of the world. I’d also like to say I’ve not been influenced by the lies being spread like peanut butter on bread, but again, I’m baffled and confused. I will at times react instead of responding. I will at times accept something I read without doing my due diligence.

Laziness? Maybe. But I prefer to think of it as a time limitation. Who among us has time to check everything we see and hear for voracity? Who has time to research every supposed fact and still live their lives with balance and integrity? We all depend on someone or something to tell us the truth, and sadly, we’re all let down time and again.

Though you probably won’t see me out there leading the charge any time soon, I will remain in the shadows trying to make sense of it all and refrain from fighting with those I know and love. I disagree with most of them on at least one major point, but I no more have actual facts to refute their beliefs than I think they do to refute mine. And frankly, unless we can both discuss the matter rationally and objectively, the discussion runs the risk of devolving into an argument where nobody wins and everyone loses. I’m not willing to risk my friendships like that.

Without Friends, Being Right is a Recipe for Loneliness

It’s taken me decades of my life to learn how to truly have and be a friend. To allow the years I’ve spent learning to be open, honest and vulnerable to go up in a cloud of smoke because we believe different sources of information strikes me as the ultimate in stupidity. I love my friends, not because they believe exactly the same way I do, but because  they don’t. I can learn from what they believe as much as I can learn from the lessons they’ve mastered. If there’s one thing friendship has taught me, it’s to choose people willing to tell me what I need to hear, not what I want to hear. I’ve learned and grown so much more, and appreciate my amazing friends for their willingness and ability to tell it like it is.

Do people actually follow me (aside from the concept created by social media and blogs)? I doubt it. Do people agree with me? Maybe yes, maybe no. But it doesn’t really matter. I try to consider their points of view, even if they are as far away from mine as it’s possible to get. I try to respond rather than reacting, and when I can’t do so, to hold my tongue. Shouting my beliefs or my outrage from the rooftops will truly only reach those who already share my point of view. Those who don’t will either shut down, or try to shout back, increasing the breach already created by differing beliefs, and dividing us further. In that, I refuse to be a sheep, and easy pickings for the monsters among us who seek to swallow us whole.

Perhaps there is a bit of the shepherd in me, as I would lead with gentleness and understanding rather than by force. It’s a crazy world we live in. More like “Alice in Wonderland” than “Pollyanna”, but I choose to believe we can still navigate it successfully if we keep our heads and trust our hearts.

Finding Gratitude in Things Both Big and Small

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for my friends on both sides of the divides created by opinion and lies.
  2. I am grateful for the lessons I learn, some of which cause me to re-think the path I travel and the destination I see in the distance.
  3. I am grateful for my home and my cats. They are the touchstone and the balance I need to navigate a world where the rules change without notice and the road drops away when I least expect it.
  4. I am grateful for my writing. It is and always has been my friend, my therapist, my outlet, and my sanity.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; lessons, resources, advice, friendship, joy, opportunities, financial upswings, job offers, new clients, reassessments, new contacts, expanded horizons, peace, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. She is available for article writing and ghost writing to help your website and the business it supports grow and thrive. Her specialties are finding and expressing your authentic self. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author

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