Showing posts with label connections. Show all posts
Showing posts with label connections. Show all posts

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Peace in Common Ground

     Other-ness is the perspective that enables hatred, fear, and war. When we redefine the Others as fellow humans, with similar needs, and feel ourselves breathe in the same air they breathe out, then we can start to build peace together--BUILD being the operative word. If we see only walls between us, walls erected by different values, then we will overlook that the walls rest upon the same ground composed of our shared basic needs. We may need to dig into that common ground and forget about struggling to climb or topple the walls. 

     I am pondering these concepts after reading news reports from around the world, and meeting people whose only friends and neighbors are people like themselves. Have you shared a meal, a word, a smile, even air, with a person outside the communal walls that surround your family? And I don't mean sharing by accident, but with intention. Do you see the walls you may have unwittingly erected by hanging out mainly with people whose values reflect your own?  We all retreat behind our walls at times, no matter how much we attempt to connect with people from outside  those values-based-walls. But those who cannot see beyond the walls, who fear getting their hands dirty by digging into the common ground of basic needs, will never become peacemakers, only politicians and patrons of Others. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Behind the Armor

I will now share my poem about self-protective behaviors that alienate us from each other. In all forms of communication, we cannot connect with others unless we drop our shiny, unyielding facades to expose our emotions, face vulnerability, and reveal our hearts--our true mettle.

Behind the Armor
by Susan L. Lipson

Clouded knights
wear arrogance for masks,
aloofness for protective suits,
meanness for shields,
while battling insecurity,
and weakness. 

Ninjas prefer hand-to-hand combat
with emotions,
building thicker skin through baring it,
from struggle to sweat to sigh to
enlightened daze.

No heavy armor required
when we are who we are.
No hasty judgment pronounced
when we know who they are.

The next time you feel insulted by someone's apparent arrogance, feel sympathy for the insecurity that hides behind the actions. When your warmth is iced over by someone's coldness, have compassion for her fear of emotional sharing. And when a bully tries to make you feel small, pity his misguided need to put others down in order to raise himself up. Channel all of these feelings into actions and reactions guided not by judgment, but by understanding. That's how we shed the heavy armor that weighs us down and prevents us from connecting with each other.

That's also how we writers connect to our fictional characters, to make them real for readers: we must first know their naked selves before we can hide them beneath armor for our readers to uncover. The joy of finding the cracks in a character's armor, and eventually uncovering that character's heart, is one of the great joys of reading, isn't it?