It takes a lot of courage to tell the truth. As a woman who has done more than my share of introspective excavation, as well as having worked with others as a catalyst for change in their lives, I have learned that telling the truth about what is: WHAT REALLY IS: is the cornerstone tenet of healing.
For example, it takes a lot of energy to hold on when we should let go: of relationships that are no longer good for us; of jobs which hold us in bondage; of thought patterns that prevent us from becoming our highest potential. Think about your own life, then fill in the blank.
Once we have let go, our path becomes lighter and our next action becomes clearer. Last week, I watched the Republican National Convention. This week I’m watching the Democratic National Convention. I wonder what an alien might construe about our country from these two experiences. All three nights of the Republicans’ convention, I kept looking for someone – anyone – of color. After three nights of viewing, I’d seen a total of one black man and one black woman. Another black man took the stage at the finale to sing. I wasn’t sure if he was the same black man I’d seen during the week. I do know that his presence on that stage made the “absence of color” all week long seem all the more glaring.
I have an acquaintance who worked the convention for one of the major networks. He told me a story about a CNN crew member – a young, black camerawoman, who was pelted by peanuts by a Republican conventioneer, while crowing to those around him, “This is how we feed the animals.”
It is common knowledge that today’s Republican party is out of touch; there seems to be an inherent meanness and closed-minded desire for control that permeates its membership. Their relationship to their ideology, their mad desire to maintain their power status quo, their desire for “safety”, correlates to how an addict interacts with their substance of choice. Are you or do you know an alcoholic, drug addict, compulsive overeater, gambler, compulsive talker, shopper, or tv watcher, sex and/or relationship addict?
What does addiction do for a person, really? Mostly, it creates the illusion that we can hide from our pain, our insecurities, our fears, our past. All of this, of course, is an illusion; the only thing we can count on addiction to do is create more pain, more chaos, more destruction – both in our own lives, as well as in the lives of people around us, and to absolutely halt our human and spiritual potential.
I don’t know a person alive who doesn’t have an addiction. We all have the desire, and sometimes the need, to hide away from the difficulties of this life.
I wonder: if the members of the Republican party were to ask the question: “What am I in pain about?” and, were they to answer the question honestly – both as individuals and as a political party collectively – what might they come up with?
There’s a whole lot of pain in an adult man who tosses peanuts at another human being and says, “This is how we feed the animals.”
There’s a whole lot of pain within a political tribe that must feel so out of control within their own bodies that they feel they must control the bodies of women.
There’s a whole lot of pain within a political party that shows so little respect for our beautiful country’s political process and the office of our presidency that they view it all, first and foremost, as a game, instead of considering the higher good of our nation – a nation which they purport to love. In fact, they love it so much that they stand ready to annihilate anyone who dares not agree with them.
There is a whole lot of pain within the Republican party, which is now largely defined by the descriptors mean-spirited and closed-minded, along with just plain angry.
Not only the Republicans, but all Americans, have to tell the truth about what pains us. The past is past. Perhaps our glory days are behind us. I don’t know. But sometimes it sure feels like it, doesn’t it? We have a deteriorated educational system, a wizened family structure, social problems galore, and yes, a lingering problem with racism and misogyny and homophobia. This is just a starter list. Fill in the blanks on your own.
It only hurts if we don’t allow ourselves to tell the truth. And, if we don’t tell the truth, then we become mean. And angry. And controlling. We cast out all of our disappointment and fear and hurt onto others.
Truth is what allows us to liberate ourselves from the relationships that are drying us up. Truth is what allows us to say, “I’m dying on the vine at my job.” Truth is what allows us to say: I am unhappy and I want more.
You can tell the people who need healing by their meanness, sniping, closed-mindedness, anger, and desire to control others.
You can choose to be a member of a brave, new world of truth-tellers and not become one of them. But, if we really purport to love our country – and if we really want to love ourselves – we simply have to tell the truth.