By Toni Niemiec
This week I attended a monthly “Pub Talk” through FāVS. This month’s topic was “The Seeds of Violence in Modern Society.” Much of the conversation was around the outer causes (gangs, mental illness, racial issues, guns, technology, etc.) based on popular beliefs held in the media and society.
As the conversation continued it gained some intensity and I noticed I was feeling increasingly uncomfortable, becoming quieter and removing myself mentally and emotionally. I recognized this as my normal response to violence, one devel0ped early in my life. I noticed that others were responding/reacting by becoming louder, with stronger words and statements. In stepping back and witnessing this I realized that fear was in play, its origin was different in each of us but the bottom line was a sense of powerlessness.
I took a breath, feeling the common thread among us, my heart opened. I sat in silence for a while, letting go of the need to make a point, listening to words and the unspoken. When I did speak it came from a point of compassion and strength. What we all desire is to connect, to be respected, to know that we are valued and loved, to be seen for who we are…the unique individual we were created to be.
Taking the opportunity to step into community to dialog, to risk speaking about what we believe in a respectful environment is the beginning of watering the seeds of compassion, understanding, respect, and love. As these seeds are watered and nurtured the seeds of fear, powerlessness, resentment, and shame will no longer be able to take hold and will wither and die.
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