United We Stand, Divided We Fall.
Get Comfortable Being Human as a Nation
The United States of American, a nation built on oppression and war. Shaped by refugees and slaves from all walks of life who came here to find a better way. The promise of freedom and a chance to be brave. People come from all over the globe to make a better life for themselves in search of the American Dream. We continue to grow and change in an effort to leave this world better than when we arrived. A feat that can only be accomplished by standing united.
Floating on a pink flamingo inflatable and letting the cold lake water cool my body on this hot summer day, I smile listening to the kids run around and the adults make small talk around the BBQ. It’s our nation’s day of independence, and families have gathered to celebrate the occasion. The kids’ minds are filled with thoughts of fireworks while the grown-ups run around preparing this and that. I have a smile on my face as I reflect back on the history of our nation and am grateful for the land I was born into.
This past week has been a struggle. My attention was pulled to issues that left me feeling divided from my fellow American. Watching good people let small differences tear them apart. I felt the anger and allowed myself to start seeing differences in my fellow citizens too.
My attention on the negative brought the negative to light. It seemed wherever I turned people were showcasing their worst.
From the online “he said” “she said” conversation to honking cars and racial slurs it seemed the heat had gone to our heads. My mind started swirling in a sea of…
- How difficult we humans are
- How divided we are
- How different we are
- How selfish we are
- How inconsiderate we are
- How short-sided we are
And my heart hurts because I do not want to be part of this reality.
This is where my thoughts were, so this is what the universe showed me. Division. It was not a good feeling and it stole my time, energy, and ability to see anything different.
A change had to be made. I know staying here is not the place I want to live. I know that the longer I wallow in this muck the more like molasses it becomes.
A mental shift was needed so I turned to my breath.
I hadn’t been practicing every day. Skipping my morning meditation for an extra 15 minutes of sleep, where I lay and thought about my troubles. I was hot and didn’t want to breathe consciously. I didn’t like myself this way and breathing through it sounded too uncomfortable.
Having had enough, I got my ass out of bed on time and breathed. I breathed consciously throughout the day whenever I felt my heart start beating faster and my mind spiral through the story I’d been telling myself.
- I breathed in line at the grocery store, shifting my attention from the long lines to the baby being entertained by her grandpa.
- I breathed when a friend took a long detour on our way to a hike and focused instead on the beautiful mountain surroundings.
- I breathed when my niece spilled a blizzard all over my car, turning my attention to the humor of the situation.
- I breathed listening to a political battle. Hearing two good people at each other’s throats, choosing instead to see the majority of us were getting along.
I actively shift my energy through my breath, seeing how good we can be. Pouring love to those in our circle. Noticing the small acts of kindness we spread towards each other every single day.
They will have us believe we are divided, and we begin to act this way and see our reality in this way and then they win. They know that a divided nation is a nation easily controlled.
As I float here I hear laughter and remember that humans are good. We get along incredibly well despite what the media will have us believe. We see each other and lend a hand and believe in this great nation we call home.
We must continue to breathe into the ever-present moment and accept the uncomfortable thoughts in ourselves in order to breathe unity into our friends, family, and community.
We are not so different. We love, we struggle, we breathe, and we are united as Americans and humans on this journey together.
It is up to you at any given moment what you choose to focus on. We can be a nation divided by skin, religion, generation, and hate or we can choose to see each other, be honest with each other, and be vulnerable enough to say that my way isn’t the only way and American has room for us all.
I invite you, in the spirit of our nation’s independence, to do nothing but breathe. Noticing the thoughts that plague your mind and releasing them to the grand universe with every exhale.
Inhale understanding, exhale judgment
Inhale community, exhale separatism
Inhale patience, exhale criticism
Inhale love, exhale hate
We walk this path together. Our diversity makes us strong. Not having all the answers is hard, but collectively we can work through our differences in search of a new American dream.