119: Three Things We Need Right Now
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As the world collectively holds its breath right now, let’s talk about 3 things: deciphering truth from fiction, operating underground, and resiliency.
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1 . The ability to decipher truth from fiction:
Back in October 2020, my messenger suddenly blew up one day with people asking if we were going to sell our Harley because they saw some picture posted on social media that showed Harley-Davidson was endorsing Biden/Harris for presidency.
Okay. You guys. First off, people had no idea who I was voting for, or if I even planned to vote at all. Secondly, the image was photoshopped. I wrote more about this in But First, Read This.
But I get it. Sort of. It’s hard to decipher truth from fiction. The internet and more news channels and forums and chats were supposed to make us more informed. What it’s really done is, is made it harder to find actual information.
In the past couple weeks, especially, people have emailed me with “facts” and “evidence” and “information” about their version what’s happening in the world. I’ve started saving all these, screen-shotting lists, taking notes on articles so in four months I can look back and see what things people were spreading around before the inauguration—on all sides. I won’t even say “both sides” anymore because there are plenty of things coming from outliers who don’t agree with the two party system.
We see something online that fits with our agenda so we share it out of the need to “educate people with the truth”. We see something online totally against our agenda and we share it out of frustration. Most of us don’t even click on the link to read the article. We share headlines—and it just so happens there are articles attached to them. We didn’t read them and the people we’re sharing it with aren’t going to read them.
It’s. not. helping.
We see something the other side has shared and we think “how in the world can they believe something like that, it’s totally not true” when in all reality, you’re probably doing the same thing. The crazy thing is that we think the other side does it and we don’t.
And we’ve all done it.
I like sharing this meme on social media when things get a little dicey out there, and people start dividing based on assumptions or “fact”:
Assess all information. Consider all options. But take the time to consider that marketing is everywhere and it’s possible to spin any story to fit the purposes you want it to fit. And the bigger the topic is, the more people will do it—without even realizing it.
Evil is a loaded word. What you think is right and just and the way things work is oftentimes what someone else would describe as wrong and immoral and unjust. Having pointed out that caveat, I’m not saying permit evil. I’m not saying ignore evil. I’m just saying make sure you know what you’re looking at and where it came from.
2. Operate underground
Here’s what I mean by that: I’m visual and it’s easy to look outside at the world and see a giant mushroom cloud. Ooo! Shock! Awe! Big explosion! And that giant mushroom cloud is clouding the view of everything else. It’s destroying our ability to see anything else.
And a mushroom cloud probably isn’t the best example to use, because if we’re talking a mushroom cloud from a big ol bomb, there probably ISN’T anything else going on because it HAS decimated everything else.
But work with me here. What I’d like you to consider is there are a lot of regular ol’ people going about their lives outside of that giant mushroom cloud doing really great, productive, wonderfully kind things.
Operate underneath that explosion. Operate underneath that chaos and mess. Because life still goes on and if you get distracted in the middle of all that smoke and stop, you die.
Mr. Rogers said:
When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”
And while lots of people have written about what this quote was intended to mean, and if it even helps, I think it works here. You will find what you focus on. So focus on what’s happening underneath it all.
All is not lost.
The world is not ending.
It hasn’t ended yet.
Keep going. Keep doing. And keep being freaking kind.
Don’t let the dust of the explosion get in your lungs. Do good things.
And if you’re looking for the helper and can’t find the helper, maybe you are the helper. Sometimes to see the helper you have to look in the mirror. But I guarantee you there are other helpers out there. If you honestly can’t see them, you need some new pals.
I’m not saying there aren’t things to pay attention to. I’m not saying there aren’t things to be concerned about. I’m saying be really careful what you give your time and energy to.
And for those of you who were hoping that this operating underground section was about moving yourself underground and fighting the man and fighting the system, here’s what I have to say about that:
Operating underground and then having to publicize the fact you operate underground is not operating underground. If you choose to do things that are outside of the system or outside of what’s allowed, then just do them without making yourself a banner and a flag.
There are a lot of people who operate outside the system or the rules or what’s accepted and you’d never know it and they’ve been doing it a really long time. And when people push me on this and say, “but we need to have our voices heard and we need to stand up and, and, and…” I say, “yeah, but” and then I use this example:
If social media would have been around during the Holoca*st, I guarantee you there would have been folks who were hiding people from the N*zis and would have posted on social media about how we should all be hiding people from the N*zis because it’s the right thing to do and they would have showed plans for how to hide them and tagged their friends who were also hiding people from the N*zis… do you get what I’m saying?
Sometimes yelling and screaming and being “in your face” about everything you’re doing can backfire for the people who have been doing it forever with no issue.
Know who your people are. Know who you can discuss stuff with. Know who you can teach and learn from. But not every single thing you’re doing needs to be broadcast with a neon sign over your home.
There is another quote I like that says:
Ships don’t sink because of the water around them; ships sink because of the water that gets in them. Don’t let what’s happening around you get inside you and weigh you down.
Resilience means facing adversity and moving through it. It means figuring out how to do the things and keep going. It doesn’t mean things don’t affect you. It doesn’t mean you don’t feel emotion. It doesn’t mean you don’t get frustrated or sad. It means you don’t get stuck in adversity. It means you deal with the thing and move on. Notice I didn’t say IGNORE THE THING. I said deal with the thing and move on. You feel the emotions and you do something with those emotions.
If, to go back to the above quote, you’re on a ship and you see there is a leak, you hopefully say “there is a leak, crap, I need to deal with this so I can still get to shore!” If you ignore it, and go about your trip with a smile on your face, you still sink! You never make it to shore.
Resilient people have an issue show up on their path, and they work through the issue. They file what they learned in their back pocket so it can help them when the next issue comes up.
People who aren’t resilient struggle with doing this. They get stuck in the issue. They don’t deal with the issue.
I think we need resilient people right now because hello, issues on the path. And people who are looking at all of this happening and thinking, yep, we’re gonna go through it, and we’re gonna come out on the other side having learned some lessons are resilient people.
Find those people in your life. Be that person if you can.
If you like the topic of resilience, I invite you to check out my friend Tom Domres and his Small Scale Living project. If you’re on MeWe, he’s got a Small Scale Living group. He talks a lot about resiliency so check him out if you’d like to be more involved with that mindset and those conversations.
Hang in there folks, we can get through this. Generations of people who have come before us have done the same.
— Amy Dingmann, 1/18/21
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