I made it across the country on a bicycle by staying in the moment. One mile at a time.
And sometimes, when I found myself thinking thoughts that took me out of my flow, I chanted a simple mantra to snap me back, “Just pedal.”
Because that’s all that I had to do in my daily life. Life was so simple.
Today, I find myself reaching for some kind of a mantra again - or anything to help better ground me when it comes to navigating these times.
Our culture feels like it's hurtling toward 1984 on steroids… along with watching almost every societal element that I once considered stable and grounding, evaporate daily. Who’d of thought that democracy itself would be up for grabs?
I believe that we are where we are in the country and the world, because of low adult development and lack of education.
Developmentally, the majority of people operate from a Reactive mind-set; they play for themselves, not to lose, to play it safe, to get short-term, gratifying results… all based on what they think they know (their stories), and highly influenced by how they believe others will think of them.
It’s all about, “me, me, me.” They show up oblivious to the fact that they’re not the only one in the world.
When you have a society where the majority of members put individual needs and wants above the needs of the aggregate, you get what we now have; a headless chicken running in circles getting ever so close to the drain.
Recently, I reconnected with an old college friend with the hopes of rekindling the good times we had. But I couldn’t get past it when he shared his fervent belief that Trump is not a racist and he treats everyone the same. And I knew I didn’t have the energy to try to open his mind to a more developed worldview.
Sure, if I could get him to read, Robin DeAngelos “White Fragility,” and Ibram X. Kendi’s “How to be an Anti-racist,” maybe he could see that that he and I are both guilty of living as white supremacists. And that White Supremacy is far more than Alt-right, anarchist, nut jobs - it’s the long established birthright and societal advantage that all white people benefit from… even the poorest.
We both live in a culture that was formed and driven by the results of modern colonization begun by the Portuguese in the 15th century. What began as the brutal subjugation of indigenous peoples around the world, under the guise of the, “Age of Discovery,” resulted in White people developing and dominating societies of color based on white superiority, aka, white supremacy.
And if we are not capable of understanding that our privilege has shaped our entire lives, then nothing will change.
If my old college friend can’t see through Trump’s transparent tweet this week - aimed at gaining the support of white suburban women by telling them that he’s going to ensure that their suburbs remain segregated - that black people won’t be moving in next door to drive down property values and bring more crime into their neighborhoods…
And if he can’t see how “poor neighborhoods” have less health and educational resources, and how he and I benefitted from living in the “right” neighborhoods our entire lives… than nothing will change.
If he can’t see that Black Americans are getting hit harder with the virus because they’ve experienced a lifetime of, “way less than white,” quality healthcare and education… and that 400 years of being treated as sub-human resulted in chronic, black-culture wide, lifelong stressors with devastating health consequences... which we whites can’t even comprehend, then nothing’s going to change.
I’m pretty sure that I wouldn’t be this educated and passionate on the subject, or have even written a post like this, if I weren’t married to a black woman - walking beside her in life, seeing her constant struggle… and if I didn’t sometimes see the rage in other’s eyes and hear the comments that come from those who are appalled by our interracial marriage.
I wonder how I would see things today if I had not been so intimately exposed to black culture. Would I be able to see myself as a beneficiary of white supremacy, or as a white supremacist? I would hope so.
But I don't wonder about one thing… I would have always known that there is no such thing as a nice Nazi.