There are (sooooooo) many things in the world … & in our “personal” lives … that are
- seemingly impossible to deal with
- #Not. Easily. Solved.
Maybe not even solvable!
(well, you know, we might as well call a spade, a spade, hmmm?)
Too painful to talk about.
We think, I guess, if we don’t think about these problems – these things that are too painful to talk about – they’ll “go away.”
Misguided magical thinking, in essence, wouldn’t you say??
So we push them away.
“There is an almost gravitational pull toward putting out of mind unpleasant facts. And our collective ability to face painful facts is no greater than our personal one. We tune out, we turn away, we avoid. Finally we forget, and forget we have forgotten.” ~ Daniel Goleman, Ph.D.
But … there they still are, dammit!
The “elephants in the room.” Huddling around all over the darn place. In every corner, & by now, all over the bloody room!
“Swept under the carpet.”
But hey, humans, get real!
Elephants don’t fit under carpets! We’re tripping over them all the damn time!
Making It Personal
Well, we might as well, hmmmm?
I’m a big believer in “making it personal” – as a writer, as an activist.
None of us really give a hoot about anything if we don’t make it personal! Making things “personal” is what motivates us, for heaven’s sake! You get active on trying to eliminate the insanity of chemical lawn spraying, say, ‘cos you don’t want your own kids getting hurt … & by extension, you don’t want ANYone’s kids getting hurt (well, some of us think that way; not all of us, clearly!?).
But it starts with it having become “personal” … right?
So without getting into any nitty-gritty details, I’ll just say this:
There are some challenging things in my personal life (show me a human who doesn’t have something challenging going on, & I’ll show you a robot, okay?)
There are people with whom I would really like to have a conversation about some things.
But the very people I need to discuss stuff with, just plain won’t talk … ‘cos it’s, yup, “Too painful to talk about.”
My own take on this stuff that’s too painful to talk about? That’s the VERY stuff we MOST need to talk about.
(Duh. To me, that’s a duh…)
I have a few people in my “personal” life (don’t worry; I won't name any names), who, in my view, really like to wear rose-coloured glasses.
They don’t just LIKE to wear them, they INSIST on it!
If there were a train rushing toward us at 1500 mph, I’m not sure they’d want me to even mention it.
“Oh, it’s all fine,” they say blithely, no matter how serious or deep-rooted the issue/problem.
“It’ll all work out.”
What a lovely, convenient philosophy THAT must be to live by, hmmmm?
Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil.
Blinders for eyes, duct tape for ears & mouth.
These folks believe in fairy tales, I guess. Princes kissing frogs, castles in the clouds, & everyone living “happily ever after.”
Do. NOT. Rain. On. My. Parade!
say these people.
Sometimes I think I’ll burst a blood vessel, these people frustrate me so.
Veering Away from the “Personal”
Listen, there must be a hundred things most/some of us find “too painful to talk about.”
We have all these (catastrophically) broken human “systems”:
- Political (need I say more??)
- Religious (remember: whatever your conception of “goddess/God/Allah/Jehovah/whoever,” religion is man-made)
- Educational (makers of square pegs for the corporate enterprise, mostly; as consumers & cannon fodder)
- Legal / criminal “justice” (justice in quotes, you notice; it is everywhere lacking, ESPECIALLY in the criminal “justice” system)
- Medical / “health” care (medical error = 3rd leading cause of death in the U.S., people!?)
- The cancer epidemic (& its bullshit handling … for profit. Got some time to learn more? Try here & here)
- The messes our “smart” phones are making of our lives (& we’re too darn dim to smarten up about it!)
- The opioid crisis
- Autism run horrifically amok; up to 1/36 children now (even worse, 1/28 for boys!) (& it ain’t “just” autism, either...)
& surely by now we all know
(unless we’ve been living under a rock somewhere)
It looks pretty much now as though we’re perched on the very edge of our own extinction as a species
(now that one is REALLY “too painful to talk about” hmmmm? For most people, apparently)
In our “personal” lives, it’s too painful to talk about stuff like
- How we’ve messed up our children (& keep right on doing so)
- How much divorce is hurting our children (all of our children)
- The family “secrets” that are making lots of us sick, one way & another, in myriad ways
- All the grief we (all) have buried that threatens to choke us if we don’t finally give it a name, & let the tears break through the dam – let the pus finally finally finally out of the wound (a list of postings about grief, with helpful resources, is collected here).
Sure, I know it’s too late!
Everything is “too late”
Of course it is!
We can’t un-do all the damage
We sure as heck can’t put Humpty Dumpty back together again!
(Dang! No princes, castles in clouds, or “happily ever after”)
There is simply a ton of stuff we CANNOT FIX – ‘cos it’s too darn late
- I know
- I know
- I know!
But it’s still (& always) really, really true, that
The truth sets us free!
It really really is! It really, really does.
& no, this doesn’t mean we have to go around slinging nasty truths & insults at one another.
Of course not!
We need lashings & lashings of love & kindness, compassion & fellow feeling
But we also need (or so it seems to me)
At least in some situations
At least in some difficult cases
To put an end to all this
“Too painful to talk about”
… ‘cos it’s just making us all even crazier, & frankly, I’d say we’re all plenty freaking crazy enough these daze!
p.s. & yes! All of this. It’s all #justmyopinion Of course! & I'm as fallible as anyone.
p.p.s. I have this cute little Dr. Seuss cartoon. It says “Be who you are and say what you feel. Remember to always be you – be real!” I think this is pretty good advice, on the whole. But it doesn’t always seem to pan out – or at least not in quite the way I had in mind. These are very complex times, aren't they??
But … this advice always helps …
“4 Rules for Life
- Show up.
- Pay attention.
- Tell the truth.
- Don’t be attached to the results.” – Angeles Arrien, U.S. teacher, author (1940 – )
Quotations that spring to mind
“Truth is the only safe ground to stand on.” – Elizabeth Cady Stanton
“The future belongs to those who truly love Earth, its seed and its children. It is a passion that will overcome the addictive death wish of our current greedy and reckless culture. I have always believed that life is stronger than death. Death only leads the way when we are kept in the dark… The truth will not be paralysing – it will set you free.” – Rosalie Bertell in Sweeping the Earth – Women Taking Action for a Healthy Planet
“The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those who speak it.” – George Orwell ** more truth quotes
“Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed. Everything else is public relations.” – George Orwell, quoted in Truthdig pop-up
“Change is a prerequisite for improvement.” – Thomas Guskey
“Life is change...Growth is optional...Choose wisely.” – Karen Kaiser Clark
“People think that because it’s common for families to break up, children must weather it okay, but I don’t think they do. I work with families for a living, and for their sake and for mine I’ve held out against the idea that breakups are apocalyptic―but they are. For children, it’s an atom bomb going off, no matter how tactfully parents manage it. Family life, whatever the quality, is the medium children live in. They’re not separate from it. An individual self that can prevail, that can withstand change and loss, is a wobbly construct at the best of times. It’s theoretical or, if it exists at all, must come sometime later. Maybe by middle age we have a self. In a child it doesn’t exist. A child has no skin. When the adults come asunder, the child does too. They just do. I know this mournfulness in [her daughter].” – from Starting Out in the Afternoon – a Mid-Life Journey into Wild Land, by Jill Frayne
“..gaze bemused when our children are ripped almost crazy when we separate.” – Dr. Martin Shaw, in the foreword to Die Wise – A Manifesto for Sanity and Soul, by Stephen Jenkinson
“One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.” – Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark
“Stay open.” – Yo-Yo Ma in a lovely interview with Shad, in August 2015, on q, here. On that page: 'At the end of the interview, Shad hit Yo-Yo Ma with this Big Question: “Having meditated on the arc of life through music in the course of making this album, what’s your biggest piece of life advice for the rest of us?” His reply? “Stay open. I think when people are afraid, we close up, we close ranks, we go into a shell, we become intolerant. Because we’re trying to be self-protective.
Having friends, trusting people, collaborating, and being empathetic can lead to ... the scaffolding to get to hope. For me, being open and being generous is huge. It actually can lead to happiness, oddly enough. Happiness, I think, is a by-product of — I didn’t say it, Freud said it —work and love … Hey, you suddenly realize, I’m happy.”
“When there is a bend in the road, the only ones who crash are those who refuse to change direction.” – Source unknown
“Many of the things we all struggle with in love and work can be helped by conversation. Without conversation, studies show that we are less empathic, less connected, less creative and fulfilled. We are diminished, in retreat.” – from Reclaiming Conversation – The Power of Talk in a Digital Age, by Sherry Turkle (great interview here on how smart phones hurt our relationships)
“Don’t be yourself. Be someone a little nicer.” – Mignon McLaughlin, journalist and author (1913-1983)
From an article here
‘Instead of trying to fix the climate, Prof McPherson says we should focus on living while we can.
“I think hope is a horrible idea. Hope is wishful thinking. Hope is a bad idea – let’s abandon that and get on with reality instead. Let’s get on with living instead of wishing for the future that never comes.
“I encourage people to pursue excellence, to pursue love, to pursue what they love to do. I don’t think these are crazy ideas, actually – and I also encourage people to remain calm because nothing is under control, certainly not under our control anyway.” – Guy McPherson
“If we’re headed for the exit gate in the near term, the question then arises: What shall I do? How shall I live my life? In other words, now that we have knowledge of the near-term demise of our species, then what? There are more than seven billion responses to the latter questions. Recognizing that birth is lethal and that we have an opportunity to demonstrate our humanity on the way out the door, I’ve chosen an eyes-wide-open, decidedly counter-cultural approach. I’ve opted out of empire to the maximum possible extent, and I practice and promote a gift economy. Beyond my own actions, I suggest individuals take actions they never previously imagined. I promote resistance against the dominant paradigm, even though – especially though – it appears too late to save our species from near-term extinction. I propose assaulting ourselves and others with compassion. I recommend heavy doses of creativity and courage. I advise doing something well beyond the cultural current of the main stream. At this point, what have you got to lose? Indeed, what have we got to lose?” – Guy McPherson, Nature Bats Last dude in his book Going Dark, on pg. 26-7.
** new collection of quotations about grief, just posted.