I recently read a book called SUPERPOWER by M. Keith Booker (Bison Books 2010); it's all about how American culture requires spontaneous, supernatural or paranormal evil between the lines of reality and fiction to explain how certain things go wrong--in our current society, and looking backward in our history. It's a very interesting book. I found it striking that our present and future are so very defined by our past--even outside of our direct action. The truth in Booker's words are evidenced all around us. Next month is Halloween; ghosts, vampires, ghouls, devils, superheroes, and other "monsters" will be running around asking for candy. We think that's just one day a year, but in reality, it happens every day.
Turn on your TV and you'll find a plethora of ghosty-ghouls to choose from--from vampires to supernatural freakdom of all kinds--featured during primetime any day of the week, even Saturdays...even Sundays. While Damon from Vampire Diaries isn't asking for candy directly, he is asking you to accept him as a sweet substitute for reality, a reality where humans are the real monsters--there is no evil of any kind gumming up the works in society...sorry, M. Night Shyamalan. We have only to look in the mirror to see what "evil" lurks in the darkness: Corporate greed. Bullying. Mobbing. Murder. Rape. Kidnapping. Robbery. Drunk Driving. Abuse. Exploitation.
No fangs required. No zombies need apply.
And when we face that reality, without the safety net of some imagined, unexplainable evil, it becomes even more difficult to deal with in the midst of our losses...like the friends and family who passed this year, like the loss of a job, career, or even personal relationship with a spouse, child, friend, or other family member. And loss is the name of the human-game! If you're human, you've experienced loss. If you're lucky enough not to have had any yet, then brace yourself for reality--if I could take it away, I would. If I could save humanity from the pain and suffering of loss, I would. But that's beyond the scope of my abilities. All I'm able to do is offer words of encouragement.
While impermanence is an inextricable part of the mortal coil, we can "rise" above it--like a phoenix reborn from the ashes of death and despair. How? Keep moving forward. As you move forward, seek connections. Avoid unnecessary turmoil by choosing your battles wisely. Don't let the minutia of life cause you anxiety--the wheel turns, and so will you. Patience is a virtue and meditation can make you virtuous. Honor those people you lost by doing these things. And even in the midst of an evil-less society, where there is no one and nothing to blame but ourselves, you will succeed. You will prosper. You will not just survive, you will thrive.
Hope breeds fear, which in turn breeds hatred. Act by moving yourself forward in the continuum. Don't let yourself be paralyzed by hopes and fears and hatred OR pacified by popular culture. Be strong. Be courageous. And reclaim your personal power.
Thousands of years ago, a scholar named Hillel asked, "If not now, when?"
If you find you have no answer to that question, then you already have your answer.