It has been hard to pull myself away from the news, even though I know I should go to bed and mend my migraine. I have stopped scrolling WeChat moments for quite some time, and I hardly read the accounts I have subscribed to, but something caught my eye and despite knowing that clicking on it would have dire consequences, I did so anyways. It was news about a father beating up his 6-year-old daughter for retorting back at him whilst he supervised her doing homework. She lay there, bruised from being hit with anything he had on hand, and whispered, “Dad, I cannot move anymore.”
He rushed her to hospital. She died.
My tears rolled down. It was this piece of news and more. It is an accumulation of reading about what is happening in the city in which I was born these last few weeks, being physically and mentally stretched, some events that did not happen a few days ago, and the thoughts I have been pondering for a while.
The tears were a psychosomatic response, no doubt, and a sign to me that I am overloaded with emotions that are not all mine.
Emotions seem tense everywhere. People asking for others to do something. People feeling helpless and hopeless for not being able to do much apart from posting on social media. People complaining that the organizations they work for are brutal, and too much politics with too little welfare. The father acting out and god knows why he beat up his own offspring. We condemn him, and others for wrongdoing, though maybe we do not know the whole story and their pains and suffering. Of course, I would not condone manslaughter, and yet, why do we wait till the worst before we see, hear, think, feel, or do anything? Why would we let stress boil up to the point where it explodes?
I am not sure, because I do that to myself too. Simmer, and then erupt, usually ending in depression.
The reason I am so taken into group work and dynamics, is because of this is by far one of the most feasible way I see where humanity can save itself from drastic self-destruction. I have only scratched the surface. The one thing I take away from it is that, we need to do our part in owning our dark sides, and try not to split it off because it will attach itself to others. First step, acknowledging we do not know every bit of ourselves.
The violence we see, the aggression, the rage, the fury, the envy, the losing of minds – they do not just belong to some people. They belong to all of us. We all have them. We do not like them, so we unconsciously make others carry out the actions, acting out on our behalf.
I wish I was an expert in one thing, though my pattern seems to one where I know a little about various aspects and never enough to say I know any one well. That is my greed. I like to bridge things, see connections in different dots, and make it to what makes sense to me. Whether I read literature from some decades ago by theorists or philosophies of thought from thousands of years ago, they seem to say the same thing – start from the self. Self-discovery, self-awareness, introspection, confront oneself in bare honesty, cultivate virtue in one’s mind and heart and soul, acknowledge our shadows, find humility, learn, learn, and learn.
The second thing in common, is that each individual is part of the cosmo, the system, the organization, nature, earth, the Tao, the group, and whether we like it or not we are interconnected. I do not like this idea all the time. Sometimes, I do not like being in relationships. Sometimes, I wonder if I even know how to be in one. It feels safer to keep myself alone, so I drown myself in ambition to avoid relating to anyone.
If we could start within ourselves, pick up our dark sides, befriend our emotions, then maybe the violence and aggression would dissipate. I have seen it with my own eyes in a group relations conference before. It was like magic, “poof” and the guy who was shouting and screaming calmed all of a sudden when others in the group could talk about their own jealousy and desires. Maybe, if we could shift focus from fixing others to seeing that we play some unconscious part in paralysing the system, then that is what we can do to “help” and not feel so helpless or hopeless.
I am reminded of my children’s names. “Rivi” – flowing water, agile, resilient, take a flexible form but not lose its essence and elements; “ane” – with grace and gentleness. “Arlen” – promise, vow, not waver from love in tempestuous times, and do what he says he will. “Jade” – a stone with stable and calm qualities that promotes harmony. I named them for myself, a reminder to myself more than anything else.
Is tapping into our inner child a form of regression? I have not yet sorted that one out. But I believe there is strength in children’s innocence, laughter, and love. It is there inside of us, dormant.
Looks like I have taken to writing incoherent posts, and maybe it is just laziness to not want to think of a title or do any proofreading to make sure my paragraphs connect well to make a point worth reading.
I am sure some people look at my life from the outside and from my social media posts, and would wish they had my life. What is not to be grateful for – kids are cute, husband is a good dad, I like my work, doing something meaningful, making some sort of impact, fly around, don’t have too many wrinkles (yet), only a few strands of white hair, cute dog, can cook and bake, some education, can think, and even have a team now rallied around Bearapy’s mission. Some people believe in me. Some people actually like me. Some people think I do well. I tend to look out from inside, and in the inside. I dwell on the near bankruptcy, the humiliation, the loneliness, the what-could-have-beens, the disconnect. Gratitude is a chore. What a split…
There is some sense of tranquility that worries me. A tranquility of accepting my fate. Something is transitioning, I can feel it in the air. Will I have the endurance to weather it through, or will I walk out and leave it all. Close the door, and just keep walking?
Perhaps I can fall out of love and stop regressing, if that is at all possible.
Faith, and hope, and love we see – and the greatest of the three, is love. Love is a challenge.
Maybe, we can all love a little bit more. Is there not enough pain and hurt already?