2016 was quite the year. Seems nearly everybody was fired up about something and there was a lot of noise being generated, whether it be in the form of protests (some of which turned into riots once the anarchists showed up), petitions, social media rants, screaming arguments or even assaults. 2016 ended with a very high decibel level indeed — the loudest that I can remember as a Gen X’er.
This has led me to think about how this fire can be channeled. Think about it — a fire can burn down a forest and leave ashes, or it can burn wood in an oven and create a nourishing meal. It can be destructive or constructive. At present, I fear it is being used destructively and will eventually burn itself out without leaving behind any positive change. That would be a shame because we have the opportunity to channel this energy into something meaningful. Let’s not blow it.
I admit that it’s easy to get mad at injustice and want to act out. But here’s the thing — if you believe that someone or some organization is behaving in a vile way, and if you respond by acting vile, then you are no better. You are not justified. In fact, you are part of the problem because hate begets hate; the pattern will continue and down into the rabbit hole we’ll all go. Meaningless.
Our great leaders realized all of this and tried to teach us:
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” — Martin Luther King Jr.
“If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. We need not wait to see what others do.” — Mohandas Gandhi
To me, this means we should always take the higher road of love. If enough of us do this, the world will change. However, there’s more to it than that — we need to come from a place of love, but also interact with the world in a smart and conscious way. Singing Kumbaya and sending out loving vibes into the universe isn’t sufficient. It’s a great start. But we need to take our activism into the marketplace.
Want to be a rebel? Here are some ideas — none of which involve screaming and yelling:
Look inward and do the self work which will allow you to come from a place of compassion. SCREW the media establishment that wants to rile up, divide, and control us.
Grow an organic vegetable garden and buy from a local regenerative farmer whenever possible. SCREW Big Ag and Big Food — they are destroying the planet for personal gain. Bastards.
Buy Fair Trade, second-hand, or made in America clothing and housewares. Might it be more expensive? Yes — so buy less and SCREW the multi-national corporations and their sweat shops that enslave people around the world.
Take charge of your health and don’t expect anyone to rescue you with a quick fix after a lifetime of sitting around eating crap. Need I say it? SCREW Big Pharma and their desire to make you a lifelong, ailing customer.
So that’s what this issue is about — rebelling by making the daily choices that will lead to positive change. You don’t have to scream to be heard. Let’s make 2017 the year that we rock the world in a deep and meaningful way.