Loneliness, Division, Fear and Humanity

I’m likely trying to uncover too much here, but, as with many of my blogs, we’ll see where it goes. I’m hoping to connect all these concepts into an intelligible conversation about the world we live in right now. I’ve been listening to Brene Brown’s “Braving the Wilderness”, studying Richard Schwartz’s Internal Family Systems and reading Debbie Ford’s “The Secret of the Shadow”. It’s a lot of literature to rumble with but it is definitely resonating with where I am in my journey right now. 

Maybe there is so much here because I’m feeling pulled different ways. This journey isn’t straight and narrow, it is fluid, flowing–-just like a river–and its twists and turns are like jumping out of an airplane–a full 200 km/hr in the face, the heart, the body. Like skydiving, over and over, there is the beauty and wonder of flying above the wavy beach–a new idea, creative process–stepping out onto that tiny step–the thrill and terror of a new endeavour–dropping from that step and into a full-blown wind tunnel–sucked in to get the juices flowing–floating smoothly and carelessly–taking in the wonder and the awe as one draws closer to understanding. I’m somewhere in the wind tunnel! Ideas are slapping me in the face. I need the parachute to come out so I can process where I’ve been. I need to land somewhere to appreciate where I’m going. And then, I need to fly again.

This is my parachute. I write to sort things out. To sit back and try to make sense of a nonsensical world. Possibly, there isn’t even a way to do this, but I try and maybe I get a bit closer to the truth, to my truth. Loneliness. When I discuss loneliness, I’m not talking about necessarilly being alone; although, this can and does impact the feeling of disconnection, there are many people who enjoy, and even relish, being alone. I think sitting with yourself and enjoying your own company is quite common among those who like and appreciate themselves. Is this our true sense of belonging? I think it is key to overcoming our own loneliness, whether we find ourselves in large groups, small groups or alone, if we have a good connection with all the parts (IFS) of ourselves and are open to communicating with those parts, giving them the voice they need within us, we can rise above loneliness and belong wherever we are–everywhere and nowhere. Personally, I am just beginning this journey. There is upheaval within me and out there in the big wide world. 

Division. As a society, we are often divided–political perspectives, religious followings and social class or economics. I have seen this discord thrive amidst COVID. The fear of illness (death) vs. the fear of government (tyranny). Both driven by fear. Sometimes it can bring us together, as it did at the beginning of this pandemic, but it often ends up in division. There is a general sense of dissonance amongst different cultures because of this fear. And then, there is the disunion of our internal parts, often, also, driven by fear. We have protective parts inside of us that go into overdrive to save us from the heartache of the dissonance outside of ourselves. We begin to actually fear connection, question trust and become isolated and lonely. Befriending our parts can assist in the combat that dwells within us. Once again, this is a personal odyssey that I am just beginning to partake in. 

We are not just one thing or another, but a multitude of feelings and reactions that change amidst circumstances. Embracing the humanity of all our parts can aid in combating the fear that lives within us and ultimately tame our suspicions of each other. When we can accept and acknowledge our own humanity, we can begin to understand and appreciate the humanity of others. There are 8 big “C’s” and 5 “P’s” to finding your SELF according to Richard Schwartz and his work with Internal Family Systems; they are: Courage…Compassion…Connection…Clarity…Confidence…Calm… Creativity and (my favourite) Curiosity, as well as Presence…Perspective…Patience… Persistence and Playfulness. Think on these for a moment. Give each one space to be observed. What do they mean to you? Applying all of these concepts to both our internal and external lives, I believe, makes space for acceptance of differences, opinions and perspectives amidst all of humanity. What if we’re not right or wrong, but somewhere in the middle? Is there room for that? Is there space for compassion for others and ourselves amidst all the fear? Does it have to be “us” and “them”? When will we embrace our humanity, our imperfection and our innate passion for kindness?

peace balance empathy

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