It seems everybody wants to save the world, these days. I say, save yourself, first. When you’re on an airplane, they always tell you, should that little plastic oxygen mask drop down, you should put yours on, first, then help your kids or gramma sitting next to you. This applies to the broader scope of the world, too. Don’t get me wrong, I think the world could use some saving, too. Look around and it’s clearly a pretty fucked up place…and getting more fucked up by the day. You can scream and shout that it’s society’s fault, or oppression, or “the elites”, or even reptilian aliens (ok…maybe not the reptilian aliens…but, hey! All things are possible, am I right?). And it might very well be true that some or all of those things are truly part of the problem. But, if you want to see the main cause of why the world looks so fucked up, right now, go find a mirror and look deeply into the eyes of the person staring back at you. We’re all pretty fucked up. You. Me. Everybody. If we all run off and try to solve the world’s problems, all the while, ignoring our own, we’re just pissing into the wind. No matter how many things you fix out there, if you’re completely broken inside, the world is still going to be a shit place for you. It would be like fixing up your back yard with new flowers and trees and lawn ornaments, in an effort to improve the view through your broken window. No matter how nice things look on the outside, the view is still going to be distorted through that broken, dirty window. If you just fix the window, first, you might find that the view isn’t nearly as bad as you thought. You’ll still want to remove the old Chevy up on cinder blocks and that pile of beer cans, but aside from that, things look pretty good through a clean new window.
One of the problems that we are observing is that people are actually holding on to their brokenness and wearing it like a fancy hat. Displaying their broken bits with pride and then deriding others who are “less broken” for their lack of brokenness. “We don’t like you! You’re not broken enough!” It’s to the point where people who just want to help are being made to feel bad for not being broken enough, or for having done the work to start fixing what’s broken. Meanwhile, the broken insist that they aren’t broken, the world is broken, and if we can just remake the world in such a way to better fit everyone’s broken bits, everything will be ok. That’s not the answer, either. We all have a responsibility to ourselves and those around us to look inside, first. Put on your own safety belt and your own oxygen mask and take care of your own fucked up heart and mind. Then look to your neighbor and say, “Hey…I think I’m starting to figure out my own shit. Is there anything I can do to help you?” Maybe if we all start working on fixing ourselves, then trying our best to help those closest to us, we can actually start to gradually fix the general “fucked-up-ness” of the wider world.
There’s so much truth in the old saying that, “charity starts at home.” Work on fixing your own damaged bits first, then help your family and friends, then your community, and so on and so on. Love and kindness are kind of like a virus…they spread. And the more they spread, the faster they spread and the stronger they become. If you want an example, look at the opposing force of Love – Fear. Most of us have been around long enough to have been able to watch how quickly fear can spread. When 9-11 happened, we went from almost zero to “KILL ALL THE BROWN PEOPLE” in a matter of days. And that was all from a few hours of fear that was capitalized on by a few twisted individuals that we all elected…
Granted, fear is easier to spread than Love. It’s the more primal of the two opposing forces, so it’s more deeply rooted in our animal nature. But Love is in there, too…and it’s a powerful thing. Especially in the heart of someone who’s worked hard on dealing with their own shit and embracing Love over fear.
With apologies to Our Lady of the Twirling Veils and Scarves (Stevie Nicks is our Matron Saint!), one of our many favorite mantras at Crossroads Oasis is “I have no fear. I have only Love.” This mantra has carried us through many of our own internal battles and we offer a challenge to you, dear reader, to embrace it, too. Root out your fears, your pain, your damaged bits…embrace the love that is inside you and release all of that fear that’s holding you back. We all know that the world needs saving, but to do that, we will first need to heal all of our wounded inner warriors. The world can wait for us. Save yourself first.
Postscript: I wrote this and several other potential posts many months ago. Since then, I’ve been diagnosed with Lyme Disease and have come to a lot of realizations about my own “broken bits.” So, reading this, as I’m preparing to “go live” with this site, couldn’t have been better timed. I’ve always accepted that I’m a little broken, but never realized just how broken, or how deep the brokenness goes. I think my battle with Lyme Disease has caused me to dredge the depths and has brought up all of the horrors that were hiding deep down where I hadn’t been looking. I’ve since gained a good bit of understanding about why I do some of the terribly fucked up things that I’ve been doing for my whole life. Understand though, that finding the reasons doesn’t fix the problems. That takes a whole lot of work and I know I’ve got a long rocky road ahead of me. The point is, if you don’t know what’s broken, you can’t really fix it. In order to find the broken pieces, you have to plumb the depths of yourself and drag the broken pieces up, no matter how ugly they might be and no matter how much it hurts. I’ve just spent the past several days in a total funk due to some realizations about my own past. It hurt like hell, but I’m glad I found what I did. Now I know what’s broken. Now I can start to try and glue those pieces back together. And, hey, that pain at least let’s me know I’m still alive.