Saturday, March 31, 2012

Intentional Living... Intentional loving...

My Days of No Outrage...


I'd like to start this blog with a quote from one of my favorite authors, Kim Antieau (if you haven't read her books Her Frozen Wild or Jigsaw Woman? They are must reads!). On her facebook page today she said,

I am continuing my days of no outrage. It is amazingly calming. If I start to feel outrage, I make myself look at the topic from many different points of view and many different angles. Doing this helps me see (even more than I did before) how the media distorts and how much the talking heads distort. I'm not outraged about this either. I understand how and why it happens. My action is not inaction. My action is that I will not participate in these many, many manipulated outrages. I will decide on my own if other action on my part is needed.

I'm sitting in a coffee shop in Bellingham while my bf is taking an improv class. He's doing something that makes him happy... so I thought taking a few minutes to write in my blog would make me happy. I could have spent my time watching him do improv, but I realized I needed a little "MK" time on the last weekend of a relatively busy Spring Break. 

So as I was sitting here glancing at my facebook page, Kim updated her status. I read her post and what she said really resonated with me. I realized in many ways, that is what I have been doing since my little 'incident' in the parking lot last summer. I feel like what she was expressing reflects how I have been living my life in a 'state of grace' since this summer. But really? It could have many different names: 'days of no outrage', 'intentional living', 'being centered', 'living in each breath'... but in many ways, it is all the same concept.

What I realized this summer is how crazy I was making myself trying to control everything. I think this idea of 'no outrage' is not only good for my health, but it is good for my heart. 

This post came at a good time for me. Recently, I was reminded of being less 'reactive' after my whole KONY2012 experience. I was outraged! Incensed! Horrified! I ran to the webpage, ready to MAKE A DIFFERENCE!!!!  Luckily, for me, the webpage was slammed and I couldn't do anything about my outrage. When I went back to the webpage, I started to have a 'feeling'. This 'feeling' led to discomfort. It pushed me to research the organization and I realized it wasn't a cause I felt I wanted to support. The webpage outage dispelled my outrage and it turned out to be a good thing for me. 

I have spent a lot of my life reacting to moments. Often passionately. I invest in my outrage. I did this recently with a blog I never ended up posting. In this blog, I spent a tremendous amount of time ranting about the man who shot his daughter's computer. I was OUTRAGED!!!  But something inside told me to stop, breathe and listen. That inner voice said, "MK, come back to the blog in a day and see if you still feel the same way." I was fortunate, I was able to talk about how I was feeling with my bf and he helped me process where my anger was coming from and what it was that was truly upsetting me. In the end, I realized what my outrage was about and recognized posting it all over the internet wasn't productive. I'm glad I didn't make those rantings public. 

Living a life of 'no outrage' seems like the next step in being more centered in my own life and maintaining a space of grace. The thing is, in our world, 'outrage' is a form of currency. It gets some people 'access', it gets others 'votes'. Outrage gets some people 'acceptance' and it gets others 'money'. It can be a very valuable commodity and manipulative people trade on its currency. I don't want to be one of those people that is on the other side of that manipulation.

I think what I like about what Kim said, is the idea that upon learning or reading something which triggers my desire to jump to action, I will, instead, take important time to reflect. Then I will decide what my next action will be and how I will respond. I can choose my actions based on what I have learned, not based on an emotionally driven response.

I was speaking this week to someone I trust, about if being in a state of grace constituted 'apathy'. I realized the two concepts can appear on the surface to be very similar. But it isn't apathy I am feeling. There is no emptiness. No lack of attachment. I still feel love. I still feel frustration. I still feel hurt. I still feel frightened at times. I think apathy is a lack of being centered, not a sign of it. I do care, I just want to get better at managing my caring in a way that leaves me feeling whole.