Recently, I’ve discovered that I have little pockets of rage here and there, and I stumble upon them unexpectedly from time to time. Generally, I am a pretty peaceful soul, non-violent and practicing awareness. But then I suddenly find myself raising my voice, and the level of emotion is shocking to me, and probably to others. I’m enraged!
Gentrification is one trigger. I hate to see the homeless, the income disparity, and suffering that is coming with all of this, even though as a white middle class woman, gentrification does not affect me directly. But indirectly, I see it everywhere, looking so innocent. O look, a nice new park. O look, a lovely new set of apartments. O look, a whole section of Portland that used to be poor is now a vibrant section with all sorts of amenities, stores, places for food and concerts and art. Isn’t this great?
And people who lived there for generations can no longer afford to live there. Where do they go? Often, onto the streets. Or further away from the services and community that they need and depend upon. That they cannot afford. So yeah, gentrification sucks, big time, in my mind. And my rage just rears up and explodes. I see gentrification as a symptom of our economic cruelty, slipping into place with very little push back. An invisible attack that looks so nice, so good.
Because I am ill, I have very little energy available. Rage takes a large chunk. So I am trying to identify the triggers to these pockets and bring the power of mindfulness to bear, for self protection. Trump of course is one, but I have stepped back from all that. All the destruction of our country, the treason, the betrayals, drowning democracy itself… all the killings… of course I feel it all. We all do. How could you not? I refuse to let him kill me, however.
What I have found, recently, is to counteract that rage with the power of love. I know, I know, that sounds useless, considering the situation we are all in now. But it works. I think love is up to the task. Maybe just one person at a time, one village, one town.
Remember Cat Stevens, the pop star? From the 70s? He walked away from his music about 30 years ago, quite literally. Just walked off stage one day. Sold his instruments. He is back now, singing his heart out as a 70 year old man with 5 kids, a whole passel of grandchildren, living in Dubai, his heart still overflowing with love itself. I have immersed myself in his music via YouTube, and for the past 5 days I have not felt any of the godawful fatigue that I live with. I feel happy, enlivened, joyful. Replenished. He is not naive, he sees the horrors, and he still opens his heart wide and lets the light shine through him. I want to do that, too. He builds schools around the world, provides relief services, steps up. He is living in harmony with the universe, doing his best.
I believe that his soul, his music, might actually be healing me. It’s the joy. And the love.
Sort of odd to find myself falling in love again. Yeah, he is a muslim, but I don’t care about that. I am responding to the love light. Thank you, Yusuf Islam Cat Stevens. God bless and keep you.
And thank God for those little ear buds, so I can crank up the sound!