What kind of change do you want?
A few years ago a friend of mine and I were having coffee near the Thanksgiving Holiday. She made the comment that she was tired of everything in her life. She loved her family but wanted a new house, new job and maybe a move to a new town. But all she said was ‘I want things to change’.
Christmas came and went and that February my friend became very ill. She was diagnosed with viral meningitis and spent many weeks in the hospital. It got so bad that she said good bye to her kids and husband.
Happy to say she made it through and is still with us today. The recovery was long and hard. A few years later while again sharing a drink she said “You know, I will never again ask for change without saying what change I want. I got change didn’t I, but not the change I expected or ever wanted.” Boy, did she get change.
I paid attention and have never just asked for change. I am very specific about what I ask for and I know that is the most important part of the asking process.
All I’ve heard for months, if not years in this country is “We want change.”
What does that mean?
- Change for the mom who is living month to month in poverty not making ends meet means more equality in pay and the ability to make ends meet without killing herself in the process. She might want Wall Street reigned in and the opportunity to retool her skills.
- For the Wall Street investor change for him or her might be to repeal the regulations that keep him or her from doing whatever they want with the market.
- For the environmentalist change might be tighter regulations to curb climate change. For the oil industry change might be to release all regulation on where, how and when they can frack for natural gas.
- For a mom that has a child with severe food allergies change would be to get better regulation on the GMO industry so she can feel better about what she feeds her family.
- For Big Agri-business change would be to release them of all regulation and liability when it comes to using chemicals that are poisoning our earth.
- For the teen age African-American boy who fears he will be stopped for no reason and considered dangerous change is a fair chance without a color bias.
- For the police change might be not having to explain their actions when something goes wrong.
Do you get the drift?
We are drowning in sadness because we have no clear direction. Change means different things for different people. But we never have that discussion. We only get up on stage and whip up the crowd with go-nowhere chants of change.
Let’s start a discussion about what that means for all the people of our country. Let’s not talk in euphemisms. Let’s really talk to each other about what we want. And on the other hand, let’s really listen without judgment about what the other desires. It does not mean we need to agree, but we can at least really listen to the other and also listen to what goes on inside us when they express their needs.
Some people’s desires frighten me. I might or might not express that to them but I certainly can witness that in myself. Whatever I chose to witness in myself I will not judge or try to change. I will simply witness it as a clue and then use that to inform my High Sacred Self with more information. Something revealed by another might help me to see their isolation or pain. It will definitely lead somewhere besides the circle we are trapped in.
After the election there were so many of us who felt defeated. I was very sad myself. I could feel that a Drumpf presidency would bring to the surface what has been a hidden undercurrent in our American culture. Part of me is glad to see it surface to be addressed. But part of me is concerned because exposing this brings us face to face with the horror of our past. I also have a child and I think seriously and deeply about what world I am leaving him.
So the next time someone says we need change, pull up a chair, look them in the eye and say “I’m listening.”
You might warn them that you might not agree with everything they are going to say but you care how they feel and you care about what they need. When we as a culture catalog these needs we will be able to see what changes we can make to satisfy the longings of our fellow citizens.
We will not be able to make everyone happy all the time, but getting some of what you want is better than nothing at all. And…and this is a big AND…by exposing some of the inappropriate desires front and center there will be a chance for those desires to be seen for what they really are.
Engage, be present, and after you have done that for another, ask them to do it for you.