The world feels scary sometimes. Especially if you watch the news. I have been meditating on the the tragedies of the past few months. The Sandy Hook shooting and the Boston Marathon Bombings have caused me to grieve, as many of you. And eventually to step back and reflect. In both of these cases the bad guys seemed to be mentally ill or have some grave hatred they felt needed be to expressed. I want to know why. Why and what could have been done to prevent these tragedies?
In our culture, we have a lot of violence, on tv, video games, and we have a lot of kids spending time in front of the screen. In part because it’s fun, but also because it’s a habit and sometimes makes things easier for parents I would submit. For centuries, it used to be that kids were in the fields working all day, we all were. Now, kids go to school, parents work, and everyone is tired at the end of the day after their commute and homework. Sometimes, instead of connecting at the end of the day, we want to disconnect, distract, veg out, get back in front of the computer because it’s what we know. We do this for a variety of reasons, one is the culture of technology we have created which feels unnatural. Another is instead of centering throughout our day in nature and working together as a family to meet our basic needs, we are separate all day and then don’t feel like or know how to connect at the end of the day. Kids and adults feel entitled to have fun, and when a walk or outside time, or helping with chores, is suggested it becomes meltdownville. We have forgotten the simple joys of the beauty around us. The fresh strawberry picked from the garden, the first butterfly of spring, how the outside smells as we walk through the wooded trail. Some people call this “Nature Deficit Disorder” which can be defined by Richard Louv in his 2005 book Last Child in the Woods as human beings, especially children, spend less time outdoors which results in a wide range of behavioral problems. It feels like we have become a culture of distraction and entertainment instead of connection and community.
That’s where I think we need to focus to make the world a better place. I think we need to lean in to our discomfort of disconnection and figure out how to create communities that feed and nurture us. Including the mentally ill and angry. Yes, we need better weapon regulations for sure. And, that is not the only thing we need to stop the blasts of terror. We need to feel connected to each other, to know our neighbors, to break bread with them and hear their struggles and joys. And when our neighbors have challenges, we as community members need to step in and support and surround them. That’s the way it was for many many years. Nowadays we have symptoms of widespread disconnection leading to a world that feels fearful and some want to remove themselves even more and buy weapons to protect their families. I say no. This fear based thinking must stop and instead, we hold together and lean in to our families, neighborhoods and communities. And then from a place of connection and community, we take a look at how we can support each other to make this world a safe and loving place to live.