The school shooting last week in Florida had me sit and look deeper. I get the call to limit access to guns, especially semi-automatic guns. Yet the question that kept coming up for me was: Will this solve the problem?
Dealing with the availability of guns is dealing with the surface issue. It took me coming across an article in Reader’s Digest about a math teacher and something she instituted after the Columbine shooting that gave me an awareness. To stay with the school shootings: How often is it a student that had trouble connecting with others, that was bullied, a loner who turned into a shooter? What if we addressed that fact and, in the same way this teacher did it, looked for solutions to prevent that feeling disconnected by a student?
Staying with that idea, I had to look at where else is that sense of disconnection an issue for people? How much are we disconnected in today’s world? I see friends having a meal in a restaurant and each one is on the cell phone texting. Are they texting each other or responding to others? Either way, for me, when I meet with friends, I am there to have a conversation with them, not being on my cell.
I wonder what the reason is for people to not be present with others, even when they sit at the same table. Where have we lost that ability? Are we afraid? Afraid of being seen? And yet, obviously, we yearn for connection, for being part of a group, for being accepted. How much do we contort ourselves to fit in?
I moved a few times in my life. As long as I had kids, it was easier to connect with neighbors. As an adult, it is so much more difficult. I experienced that people did not even want to come to the door. I could hear them in the house as I rang the bell to introduce myself as the new neighbor. I did not take it personally and I wondered: Are we so exhausted being around people at work that we do not want to connect with others?
Is it that we have decided that being present requires too much awareness of what is going on around us? It is too much work. That was my response when I heard a friend, Dr. Dain Heer from Access Consciousness, challenge us to be fully present 24/7. And, being with it, I have to admit that it is a lie I have bought from others. I am making it too much work based on that being a point of view, not based on any experiential data. I know it is possible because, otherwise, Dain would not have put out the challenge.
I will continue to look underneath the surface and to ask questions. And I will give it my best to be present as much as I can each day, increasing it every day. I challenge myself. I realize, the question is not how much work it is, the question is what am I not willing to be present to, what do I not want to be aware of. How much are we buying platitudes or lies just because it seems to be easier? And what are we creating by doing this?