Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Tribal Mindsets: The Light and The Dark Sides

When volatile, violence-threatening incidents occur such as this past week in Ferguson, Missouri, many feel prompted to give voice to the problems and concerns such events mark, as they see them.

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For me, when I stand back from the mayhem, most significantly I see it in terms of the Dark and the Light sides of the happenings.

What is the good of it? What is the corrupt, the merciless; the Light and the Dark sides of it all.

And what does my taking a position on it, should I choose to, represent of me?

Given the recent launching of New Horizons newest blog site, Exploring Your Dark Side: The Adventure of A Lifetime, I feel particularly compelled to think of the Ferguson situation in terms of how it reflects the responsibilities of the individual, myself included.

For  each of  us,  according  to  my  own personal values  and those  of  New Horizons,  a facet of  our potential  for adventuring through life is to be an  active participant  in it. Rather than a  bystander to, at least, pay attention to  situations  such  as this. Even  if all that we contribute  is the simplest  of  positions;  to be that of an observer with a viewpoint,  contemplating for  a  brief  moment the  potential for learning from  went right or wrong here,  embracing both with compassion and understanding.

Thus a grave  situation  in this present instance  might  pave  the  way  to a better outcome  another  time  in  a similar  situation –and – hopefully what pains  now,  might in time be healed.

As Viktor Frankl, noted psychiatrist and  survivor of  the Nazi concentration camps, enjoined, we always  have the freedom  to decide  how  to  think  about  things.

Whereas  we  may  not  affect  what  has  happened  now  in  Ferguson – and – are  too far away,  geographically, to reasonably contribute  to the  immediate  healing so badly  needed  there,  what  can we learn  from  this episode  to bring about something  better?   And,  how  might  our being like that infamous butterfly  in  New  York ,  affecting what may  be happening  in far off Japan,  be a contributer,  in some  small way,  to  what Ferguson  will need over time?

Is  it  not a truth we can trust that  if  one  is not a part of the solution than one  is a part of  the problem?

Today,  as I look outside my office  window  at  the  falling snow on  this  day before Thanksgiving,  I am reminded of a  New Horizons’ Abkhazian Dinner event  that has  left  still  unhealed  scars and  breaches behind  it. These grew  out of  an  incident  of  verbal abuse at the event, without reconciliation to date.,  almost  three  years later.

And, while the divisiveness that grew of this episode was subtle, it remains as a wound that still separates.

It  didn’t have  to  be this way; it still does not! 

What can we learn from  this experience? And  what can  we do with what we  might learn?

I believe, to date,  that  I  have  done  what I could  regarding  the  incident.   

But maybe  not.  I must  look again at my part  in this.  Ferguson, Missouri reminds  me of this.

So,  today,  Anastasia The Super Sleuth  offers  you this –
If  you cannot  be wholly  thankful  tomorrow, on Thanksgiving Day, for  all  that  has  come  your  way  (or  the  way of our collective) this  day,  at  least,  be  thankful  for the  lessons  brought.  In the  sum  total  of  your life,  the lessons you take  from whatever falls before  you, near and far,  are  as much  a  part  of  the  bounty of your life’s adventure  as  the  gold.

This is the summing up of the Light and the Dark Sides for each of us. Use it well for your adventure, especially for exploring whatever might be of the Dark in you, even if only from your seat as an armchair judge.

In other words, keep pointing that finger back on yourself. And, especially remember -- don’t sacrifice the Light of your inidividual responsibility for joining in with the tribal mindset on the Ferguson incident (or any others) that would have you polarizing on this Thanksgiving holiday.

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