Archive for March, 2013

Someone I love very much recently posted something in an on-line social forum that took my breath away. We are not aligned politically or on social issues, but can usually hold a civil conversation about them, so his self-righteous, overly simplified post about a very personal, complex hot-button issue made me wonder if I knew him at all. And I wondered why he posted what he posted. It certainly wasn’t to start any kind of constructive dialogue.

And then I thought, maybe he didn’t even realize how it would be perceived by people who didn’t share his viewpoint. Or maybe he didn’t even think about who his audience was at all.

A few weeks ago, an acquaintance sent me an email that was an apocryphal story presented as truth. The only desired response I could see was to inspire hatred of a particular religious group. I emailed the sender back and asked her not to send me any more hate mail. “Ok,” she emailed back, “but you consider that hate mail?” I believe her surprise was genuine.

Why do we send out what we send out? Why do we blog and write and post what we put out into the world – into cyberspace as well as the books we write, our conversations and letters and TV shows and movies?

One thing is they give us a voice we might not otherwise have, serving as a “talking stick” that allows us a platform to say what we need to say without interruption. Which can be a very good, healing thing. But we have to take responsibility for our tone. And for the venue. And for what response, if any, we’re asking from others, either implicitly or explicitly.

Are we just giving people who we know disagree with our perspective a virtual finger? Or are we inviting discussion? Or maybe we’re just saying, “I’m not a great orator but this is how I feel about this” – because not everyone needs to be a Toastmasters superstar to have a voice. It’s important for us to all claim who we are. But there are ways of being who we are that can create connections with others, and ways of being that same person that create more anger, alienation, isolation, and suffering. Which is, to me, hell.

Something I read on a poster years ago has stayed with me: “People are lonely because they build walls instead of bridges.” I would add that if you’re going to build walls, at least put in some windows and doors.

What do you think?

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Just wanted to announce that I have a new page on my website: http://www.lyndaskeen.com/Drumming_Resources.html.  On it I posted a 15-minute recording I made of drumming to support shamanic journeying, which you can download for free, as well as some other suggested resources.

Happy journeying!

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