I believe pain has a way of awakening us to deeper truths about our family, our world, and ourselves if we can learn to stay with our inability to process toxic emotions: hate, rage, disgust, and shame, which have driven us to sacrificed people, animals, and symbolically spit on goats and run them over cliffs.
If we project our pain, we project rage, hate, disgust, and shame onto and into others. Without owning our own pain, we simply create more of it. When we scream at each other we temporarily release these intense feelings, and if we haven’t dealt with them, they begin to build again until there is another crescendo in a week or two. When we use the verbal club and we are screaming at the top of our lungs, we communicate these four words: “I don’t love you!”
We all get frustrated, at times reactive, and in moments conflicted with our thoughts, feelings, and emotions. It’s part of our collective human dysfunction. We project these emotions onto other people, other nations, other races, and conveniently deny our own shadows. Verbal violence always precedes physical violence. It is the common denominator with actor Alec Baldwin; whose emotional hijacking was recorded on a phone message he left for his daughter and Seung-Hui Cho when he committed his massacre of rage, hate, disgust, and shame at Virginia Tech. The toxicity is contagious and may poison the minds of groups, tribes, clans, or nations and become embedded for generations, as it has in the Middle East.
No one is exempt from the collective human dysfunction. Not them. Not us. We are all infected with the same disease. We will either transmit our pain or it will transform us. Authentic faith in whatever shape, expression, culture, and form, forces us to face our shadows and to deal with our pain. We, and we alone, make sacred space profane. If we wouldn’t dream of being verbally violent at church, synagogue, or mosque, why would we think it would be ok to be that way at home, school, work, or the roadways?
How do we stop the madness? By seeing it for the insanity it is. Eckhart Tolle reminds us that we are the only species that murdered 100 million of our own kind in the last century. Individually, we choose whether or not to participate in the collective madness, our collective and individual dysfunction. We are called to a higher consciousness not to resort to the Darwinian default of verbal then physical clubbing.
This Father’s Day I’d like to issue a challenge to all Dads. Let us pledge to be peacemakers! Let us pledge to eliminate violence one hearth, one hope, and one heart at a time. We can no longer allow another human being to emotionally cannibalize another child or another human being. Find healthy ways to de-escalate, detach, and de-stress. Make yourself accountable to others. Target your home for transformation where love, peace, discipline, and nurture raise up children with confidence. Hate is not the opposite of love, for true love has no opposite, and creates no opposition. Make your voice a voice without violence!
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