Deciding Times

Deciding Times

choices, values, communication

What are we choosing? Are we choosing understanding and compassion? Or are we choosing righteousness?

In these challenging and tumultuous times, our decisions, words, and actions are critically important.

I am noticing a trend to be very righteous and fixed in our beliefs, statements, and choices. This is partly driven by the divisive nature of politics and our current president. They both thrive on division, polarization, and tribal mentality.

I can barely tolerate scrolling through my social media feeds or the news online. Even my liberal friends, who generally stand for progressive and loving values, are posting continually about how bad Mr. Trump, Republicans, person X, or group Y are. And don’t get me started on all the righteous posts about mask-wearing. While I understand the logic, the way the posts are stated only adds to the pain and strife. It seems social media and smartphones make it far too easy to fire off comments, posts, and opinions without considering their impact on others. More and more, the majority of online posts strike me as incredibly righteous with no room for discussion, exploration, or compromise. I wonder if people realize how this continues and feeds the ongoing cycle of hate, attack, and division?

I have been a peacenik since childhood and it pains me to watch all this unfold. I wonder if we will ever find a way to embrace our fellow citizens who have different views, beliefs, races, religions, etc. We seem to have lost the art of civil discourse and respect. It is far too easy and common to simply state our opinions as if they are the absolute truth. And God forbid anyone disagrees with you. Then they must be evil, stupid, heartless, etc. I have been at the receiving end of this judgmental righteousness for some of my alternative posts made on Facebook.

It seems to me we need to relearn the art of communication, focused on listening and respecting alternate viewpoints and people. What if we put more effort into building bridges of understanding and compassion?

Here is a related post I wrote with some suggestions on Building Bridges of Compassion. Sadly, not much has changed since I wrote that post in 2017. In fact, the strife seems to be growing with more racism, hatred, killing, violence, protests, and division.

Will you join me in building bridges online and in our daily lives?

Here is a soulful song by Ruthie Foster called Crossover about building bridges that I heard just as I was finishing this post!

Do you agree with my viewpoint or is it distorted? I’d love to hear your perspectives.

Meanwhile, I pray that peace, love, and compassion grow in our hearts. 🙏 

69 thoughts on “Deciding Times

  1. Brad, wonderful post, I resonate 100% with you!!! Your viewpoint is spot on, from my perception… I completely echo your sentiments here. I actually choose to disengage/ not interact with content that´s only about “instantenous relief” and does not consider its impact on others. I choose to focus on creating new ways of relating and being in the world, and, as you said so beautifully, “building bridges” of compassion and love. Sorry to hear you have been on the receiving end of a lack of kindness. Sending you a big hug! So thankful for beings like you 🙂 🦋🦋🦋 Much love! Will check out your song now:)

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I couldn’t agree more, Brad. There is a minimal civil discourse on social media, with the exception of WordPress. Most people are stuck in their ideological bubble and aren’t willing to negotiate a compromise position. Everything is black and white. you’re with me or against me. I know Twitter is not the best example of social discourse. but the number of times I have been jumped on for a tweet and when I reply can we keep this respectful, the reply is usually how can I be respectful when you hold those views. Gotta keep trying, Brad. Timely post.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for understanding and clarifying this point so well Len. Those exchanges are painful to read, even when they aren’t directed at me. I appreciate you reaching out with respect and offering civil discourse. Yes, we must keep trying. Thank you Len.

      Like

  3. Hey Brad…I couldn’t agree with you more! We’ve discussed this over at my site. Everything is too crazy for my liking! Where is the America I remember? I sure don’t recognize this one 😦 With perseverance we will embrace the light at the end of this tumultuous tunnel we are trapped in. Stay strong and stay compassionate!!!! VK ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  4. i 110% agree with you brad…you expressed this all so perfectly. all of what we’re experiencing is opportunity to change and be those bridges of compassion, and yet the harshness of the reality we’re being shown still doesn’t seem enough for some to realize how we’re perpetuating much of the same with these attacks. it feels like people are just really getting triggered by the core of all that hasn’t been dealt with yet, within, and it’s creating volcanic explosions of fear and fight bubbling to the surface, in order to try hard to hold on and survive…even if the way one has been surviving doesn’t actually equate to thriving for the highest good. it’s all we’ve known…and it will take every ounce of compassion from each of us to help tip the scales and lovingly support and guide the change…i’m with you on building those bridges of compassion. it’s so vital ❤ thank you for sharing your tender heart ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  5. As difficult as it might seem to hold onto sanity and empathy during these tumultuous times….keep being who you are Brad and don’t be swayed by other people’s thoughtless anger. I am so grateful that there are people like you. Janet 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I think we can do both: we can be compassionate while advocating for justice and for making people’s voices heard. Ultimately, we should all see each other as human, capable of mistakes and growth and there is so much to improve in this world.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Beautiful post Brad, standing by your side, observing and embracing it all even the people who call me an idiot for having a different opinion than them❤️ It’s quite unsettling and gives you a feel into their world of fear and conflict… a deep sadness too! But I know it’s not my feelings. IAM firmly anchored into experiencing NEWEARTH. Building bridges of compassion to join my fellow divine friends, living my life by example AND if this doesn’t attract the game players then I must accept their chosen exit of this world.

    Earth has chosen her future presence of compassion, unity and freedom and will be shaking everyone off her that is not aligned with her. We must stay strong and reunited as we observe Earth’s vibration rising higher and higher that will cause many to dig themselves deeper and deeper into the turmoil.

    Only when they each realise it’s been enough can they orchestrate their own change.

    We haven’t seen anything yet! Stay true to yourself and brave❤️ much love Barbara x

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thank you,Brad , for your thoughtful post. We do have big problems and a lot of anger and egotism. So, I quote from you below.

    It seems to me we need to relearn the art of communication, focused on listening and respecting alternate viewpoints and people. What if we put more effort into building bridges of understanding and compassion? “

    agree totally

    Miriam

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Brad your words resonated.. While I live in the UK… Politicians and Parties here are the same.. No middle ground.. Always undo what the other has done, always belittling, blaming, spouting hot air, constantly in ‘opposition’ ( great name for the other party ) NEVER working together in a coalition of ideas for the betterment of the whole… Because they are too busy infighting for their own pocket linings and interests and when you dig deeper behind the scenes the string pullers are all pulling the puppets to dance to their own particular tunes…
    And Dance they do… Because its a corrupt system .. We only have the illusion they Work for the people, elected by the people…
    We found that out in Brexit with a three year battle of a Nations democratic vote to be honoured…

    We may be witnessing the demolition of a global scale to which this battle is going to get stronger… So watch this space world wide Brad… Because we will all need to decide where our loyalties lie sooner rather than later..

    Much love my friend…. A great article you have written 🙂 🙏💚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Sue. Clearly politics are a messy arena. Besides politics, I feel we each need to work on building bridges, especially with people we disagree with. It’s become too easy to simply label others as bad and move on. Hugs. 🙏

      Liked by 1 person

      • So agree, there are too many labels given out, and barriers of perceptions as people take sides not even knowing full facts… Just herd mentality … Until you start researching and you reach out, ready to listen… ready to compromise meet half way…. admit you were wrong… Not say I told you so… etc….. We need those bridges … May we learn to build them Brad and soon.. or the divide will widen.. ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  10. It is a tough time right now for sure. Sorry you’ve had to deal with so much judgement. I have had some of that, too, but not because I was posting about current events or politics, which I never do. It was because I was not “doing enough” by just posting photos of my woods- butterflies and fawns, etc. I only do Instagram for social media, but I’m so close to deleting my account. Right now, i believe that the greatest form of protest is being a peaceful, sovereign presence in the midst of this turmoil.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. We are living in very strange times, Brad. There is a lot of polarisation in the world and I attribute it to hard times. There is an old saying when poverty comes in the door, loves goes out the window, which speaks volumes. Stay well and safe, Brad.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. I gave up on most social media (other than WP) a few years ago, Brad. I didn’t like the divisiveness and meanness. Things are bad now, but I hope that new leadership and a kinder tone from the top will help everyone calm down. And I do think that there is a quieter majority who doesn’t get into the righteous diatribes and goes about their days with kindness and smiles, caring for others and wearing their masks to protect others. Hang in there, and things will get better. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Adversity — or what I call “shake up events” — are WONDERFUL opportunities for growth.

    Nothing causes nature to adapt like necessity.

    I’ve written about the opportunities (financial and self-growth) this brings.

    Everything seems bigger up close. You have to take a step back, which often requires time. From there you can see with a better perspective the silliness of the situation.

    When fires are all around, it’s hard to focus. The brain prioritizes survival, so you have to convince it that the situation isn’t a fire. The bigger picture is where that’s at, but that feels unreachable under a fire.

    Stillness from within and discipline is the answer to that problem. Being able to slow the breath, heart, and mind.

    Great work!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Challenging times indeed, Brad. It kind of feels like a world of people reacting ghosts. That’s about how delusional we all seem to be at times. The words come in, there is a perceived injustice, and the anger fires out, and it rattles around, and yet if you think of the moment the injustice is perceived, and stop to reflect on the human being who actually wrote those remarks, you’ll see that you’ve just got this caricature in your mind of them to which you are responding. The ghost, in a sense. The problem with social media is it reduces us all to cartoon characters! There’s so much more to each of us–not that this means the cutting words so often offered are worthwhile–but it seems to me you can only say such things after you’ve endorsed this perception of the “other” that is oversimplified and suited to your purpose. So many of us are angry, though, and it’s understandable given the challenges we face in the world, and the difficulty of knowing how best to respond… Anger is perhaps an easier posture to adopt than grief, but if we’re honest, perhaps it is grief we’re all feeling deep down…

    Michael

    Liked by 1 person

    • Very insightful perspective Michael about the ghosts and tendency to reduce each other to “characters” to suit our mind games. And most importantly, the anger, grief, and pain so many of us are feeling. May some of us have the courage and clarity to add more love to the interplay. Peace…

      Liked by 1 person

  15. It’s possibly just as well that WordPress is the only social media I actively use – and it seems much more civilised that some of the other channels. I’ve felt this recently, that we seem to have come into a culture where it isn’t possible to have a debate about some things, but you can only have one viewpoint. Having said that, I then worry that perhaps if I disagree my viewpoint is outdated. This happened very recently with a debate about gender and sex – I wasn’t personally involved, but the whole argument really upset and unsettled me.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I feel so much of this has to do with each person’s own past trauma and healing that they have never processed. Once each of us takes the time to heal ourself, to allow ourself to feel, really feel past and current events, to have our hearts crack open, this opens the doorway to the bridges of understanding and compassion. Thank you for putting your thoughts out there, Brad.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Great post Brad and I understand what you’re saying. I scroll through FB sometimes and am often shocked at the venom I read in others comments. Seems many have lost the art of compassion and understanding. It worries me, the level of division that I see and read. I now rarely watch the mainstream news and I limit social media. Now more than ever people need to be united … what happened to “we’re all in this together’? I hope that people will wake up. It’s time to work together, love, heal and move forward, building bridges together. I’m with you on that! Take care my friend. xx

    Liked by 1 person

  18. You are not alone, Brad. I try really hard not to scroll on social media anymore. A lot of people are getting tired of the toxic conflict and divide which I believe is strongly reinforced by mainstream media. That’s why organizations like Braver Angels have come into being. I’ve become involved in this group which seeks to depolarize America with online workshops and civil debates with the goal of understanding and finding common ground. Here’s their website: https://braverangels.org/welcome/

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Brad, good points! The anonymity of social media, the fact that people think they’re yelling at strangers, makes it an awful place to be at times. I wish more people would count to 10 or ask themselves: what would I do if my identity were revealed and everyone who knows me saw the nasty stuff I’m writing on social media? Finally, the platforms themselves must take greater responsibility to stop the hate. Hate just leads to more hate.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I get what you’re saying, Brad. It seems like this lack of civil discourse started with concept of “God is on my side”, meaning that any opinion that doesn’t fit the box I look at the world from has to be wrong and, therefore, ungodly. It’s too black and white. No room for discussion or compromise. My way or the highway. I find myself reacting to that tunnel-vision view with my own version of “That’s absurd. Therefore, I’m right, and you’re wrong.” It can be frustrating at times.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. I hope we can enter an age of real communication. Maybe the structure of social media makes it more difficult in some ways, but in other ways, helps. Maybe it’s also changing our brains, which I’ve read about, too.

    Interestingly this crossover song has me thinking about my 99 year old grandmother who is currently transitioning. That’s all that’s on my mind, and my daughter, and family… but I have an online family, too. Building bridges is so needed. 💕 there’s so much love to share.

    Thanks for being you.

    Liked by 1 person

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