Conflict ..or ..Opportunity?

Why am I drawn back over here whenever what appears to be conflicts arise?  Because I am absolutely fascinated by the process of human communication and always have been, more on an intuitive level, than an intellectual level. It works much better when I am an observer, not a part or participant in the group experiencing the “conflict”.

Somehow, even as a kid, when listening to adults fight, the actual words they uttered sort of floated past my attention: instead, I’d be drawn to how the feelings, or how the “energies” between them seemed to dart at each other, like arrows that could

pierce..weapons that or had to be shielded against, or even shot back. I’d see that this created so much chaos and static, pretty soon no one could really hear WHAT anyone else was saying, not really, or even really discern good intent from bad intent anymore.

I started to notice that the more the people involved CARED about each other, and the shared structure built together, the more painful and upsetting it seemed to be to all concerned when “conflicts” couldn’t be resolved, and threatened the shared structure or mission, and relationships that had already formed with each other. No one wants to lose a place that feels like a “home”  or the  “like spirits” with whom they have found some sense of “belongingess”.  Everyone is so alone now, in so many ways: to feel this threatened adds loads of fear, whether identified and admitted or not. Fear makes us much more vulnerable, especially when NOT acknowledged or owned.

That fear can make us more vulnerable, as tensions rise and we try even harder to be heard and understood by each other,  and thus, we get much more defensive. Someone may say something the same way the alway have, for example, but suddenly it seems to have a grown a sharp point and looks like an arrow aimed at me! Twice as scary and shocking, when fired by someone we thought we knew and trusted.

If we am vulnerable, that “arrow”  can pierce, and we bleed, whether the other person intended it as a lethal weapon or not. We feel attacked, and when humans feel attacked, most of us we “REACT” emotionally, if we have an investment in each other.

Many times it’s a reflexive defensive response, because anger, which not always easy to deal with well, often feel safer and more protective, and in a way “stronger” than admitting the so called “weaker feelings” like hurt or pain, in the presence of a perceived “attacker”! (whether that is their intent or not.) Because by now, in close knit group in the middle of painful conflict..no one involved is able to really “hear each other” very well by now, because of the (normal!) emotional static and chaos. Misinterpretations, misunderstandings, distortion of communicative intent..become inevitable..the harder people try to hang onto each other and to the shared “mission and place.”

Some folks, however, have reached a point within themselves, where they can admit openly that these things “hurt” and cause them pain, and dare to do so. Others, who still (subconsciously) view see these as “weaker” or self serving or attention getting, or in any case not useful,  may misinterpret this reaction also.  Round and round it goes, with the principles and involved onlookers each feeling more and more misunderstood, misinterpreted, dismissed, angry, hurt, rejected, unwanted, stressed out, frustrated, exhausted, sad,even hopeless, about being able to “save” what was precious to all.

Some know they have to leave: that this process is costing them way too much to continue. Sometimes this feels like a very real death , and we grieve it hard. It IS a death of sorts, for some of us. (I still feel sadness over having to leave the “pond”, as it was once, for me. It felt like my online “home-place and family” for so long.)

I think this is ALL  about learning how to be being fully human.. together.

As we ARE right now, right WHERE we each are each are right now, in our individual  personal/intellectual/emotional/spiritual maturation and evolution.

I think the rise of these kinds of “Community Blogs” are one NEW way we’ve been given to work on this TOGETHER.  

Think about it.

Until the internet, most of us who post here would never have even known the others even existed, much less have come to know each other, or to CHOOSE each other, in places like this!

Ok..so here we all come, each a still imperfect “work in process”, at all different stages and ages, with ALL our similarities…AND ALL OF OUR GLORIOUS DIFFERENCES!

For me, discovering Community Blogs..signaled the FIRST TIME EVER  where in time, I discovered  I honestly could be…ALL OF WHO I REALLY AM, and that people DID actually exist in this world, who COULD accept me and like me ANYWAY!

(What do you think my chances WERE of being accepted here in this place full of older generation hard core ultra conservative religious fundies, being this whistle-blowing loud mouthed liberal activist oddly gendered lesbian grandmother who has a beautiful red headed three yr old grand daughter with..TWO MOMMIES?  And an elder who absolutely will NOT go to church, wear polyester, dye my hair blue OR play freakin’ BINGO on Fridays??!!)  

Oops, back to the topic at hand. Come play some “What IF” with me? It’s my favorite game.

What if..what clearly is being viewed by many good people here, here as a very disturbing “CONFLICT”, that seems to be threatening this space you have all built,  is really NOT A CONFLICT at all, BUT AN OPPORTUNITY that everyone invested here CHOOSE, on one level or another.

What if it’s really some kind of GRADUATE SCHOOL for those who READY TO LEARN NEW WAYS to come together and STAY TOGETHER, long enough TO CREATE CHANGE?  

(Because it can’t BE any clearer, that we as humans,  have yet to LEARN THIS!)  

What if this REQUIRES chaos, as a REVIEW of what IS NOT WORKING, (FOR EACH of us, individually) so we can see it more clearly, become more willing to LET GO OF WHAT DOESN’T WORK (individually, first!) ..so we can each, and then together, get free enough to try NEW AND DIFFERENT  ways of staying together?

What if.. it’s not ONLY absolutely, perfectly OK to have different perspective on things in this world..but totally ESSENTIAL that there BE these different perspectives??

What if the different perspectives ARE NOT EVEN THE PROBLEM AT ALL, and the real lesson being presented  is “HOW can we LIVE TOGETHER WITH OUR DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES..AND STILL GET ON WITH THE WORK?

Wow. One hell of a tall order, for me, anyway!

It meant I had to figure out how to stop focusing on and reacting to how everyone ELSE is communicating with ME, (and how it AFFECTS ME)…and START focusing on on how I communicate with OTHERS, by listening to how it is affecting THEM, via their reactions to me!  

Could I figure out a better method of communicating my AUTHENTIC intentions and meanings, in ways that WERE clearer to those I want to communicate with?  

Oops, there I ran into ANOTHER internal barrier.  I began to realize that I didn’t always KNOW what my own authentic intentions and meanings even WERE, before I hit the comment or publish button! Much of my work was coming mostly from my head and the thoughts in it at that moment, without me even pausing to ask myself THIS ONE ESSENTIAL QUESTION:

.”What IS MY AUTHENTIC INTENTION for this piece of communication I’m about to send, that is of use to the greater good of all concerned?  

Once at this point in my own “internal investigation”, I felt really “sobered”, by seeing more fully the full scope of the responsibility I held, as a committed “Online Community Blog Member” , if I  wanted to add as positive a contribution as possible,to the overall greater good of the community I wanted to be a part of, and whatever shared mission we had.

I am finding this whole business of placing the “common good of all concerned” on an equal priority basis (inside of me I mean)  with  “serving my own needs”.. to be a fascinating challenge in all my relationships. There’s no way to DO this, unless I know what the hell my OWN AUTHENTIC needs and intentions ARE, as best I can, and geezus..does this take some real time and effort and intensely HONEST COMMUNUICATION with my own “higher and lower selves!”

As an Uninvolved Observer with no horses in this race, I’ve read most of the comments of the past few days..and you know..I nod my head in equal understanding of ALL the perspectives shared, no matter HOW they appear to “conflict” in meaning..because I CAN SENSE THE AUTHENTIC SHARED INTENTIONS…even if you can’t!   Tell me if I’m wrong.

I see a bunch of very special highly intelligent  people who all signed on here, to build a online place where you could join hearts, minds and spirits and to seek and find ways together,to make this world a better place for all of us.  (how am I doin?)

I see communication lines getting tangled up simply because we are all merely human, and can only operate with what we know and are aware of about ourselves and about each other,  at the moments of communication. I see people interpreting this as an overall “NEGATIVE” EVENT here, that could threaten the well being of this Community.

And of course it could! We’ve all seen these things “implode”. But they did exist awhile, didn’t they?  Someone knew they were needed and created it and others “came” and stayed as long as they could.  

That in itself..to me..is solid progress, towards learning new ways to come together in common cause for the greater global good.  

Now comes the next phase for this new form of coming together.

Once we finally find each other, and get the place built,

HOW CAN STAY WE STAY TOGETHER?  

That’s when, I think, those truly invested in the cause (who are ready to do this)   will be guided INWARD for a time, to come to see what each needs to learn about the self, that might possibly need to be seen, tweaked or changed in order for us to be ABLE to see past our own needs, fears and confusions, at least far enough to keep the common good up there where it has to be, as a priority for any authentic community to thrive.

If I am right about this, then the next question for each of us really is this.

Am I ready to enter this advanced stage of self reflection, flexibility and personal growth it will take for me to stay here and be an effective part of designing NEW WAYS TO STAY TOGETHER WITH LIKE OTHERS?, given as challenging and hard as this is clearly going to BE?!

Me, I know how much energy this takes, and I know mine is now limited, so I will probable continue this more comfy role as some sort of “Itinerant Blogger” who drops by here and there, now and then in friendly places where I feel welcome. And I do feel welcome here to share what are really ONLY my own observations and interpretations of things from my current perch in life, no more, no less. And I find what’s going on here absolutely fascinating.

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    • Edger on July 24, 2008 at 6:27 pm

    Old black water, keep on rollin’

    Mississippi moon, wont you keep on shinin’ on me

    Yeah, keep on shinin’ your light

    Gonna make everything, pretty mama

    Gonna make everything all right

    And I ain’t got no worries

    Cause I ain’t in no hurry at all

  1. and it’s cool, because your screen name fits it the whole thing so well

    in an ancient way…  

    • Robyn on July 24, 2008 at 6:55 pm

    What IS MY AUTHENTIC INTENTION for this piece of communication I’m about to send, that is of use to the greater good of all concerned?

    I can only speak for myself, but I delete as many comments as I click post on.  I change the words so many times that my comments are often riddled with typos.

    Yes, this can be a grown up version of IRC (Internet Relay Chat, for those who are newer to the Internet), but the technology has improved so that it needn’t be.  The thing is that the comments here are threaded and do not require immediate, heated response.  And we have the capability to review other conversations someone is engaged in simultaneously to the one we see before us on the screen.  That’s especially easy here by looking at the Recent Comments list, but could more fully be seen by clicking on that person’s Comments page.  Then we might know sometimes that someone just said, “Ouch” about being psychically struck somewhere else and choose not to give them another good whack to go along with it.

    Most of my life has been spent in the category of “interested observer,” doing my damnedest to douse flame wars of all kinds, including those on the internet.  The grief I feel at being a cause of them here is close to insurmountable…and just like Gem in the Star Trek episode Empath, I want to run away from that grief…again and again and again.  But I know, my life has taught me, that the hardest lessons to learn in life come with a lot of pain attached…and when I am feeling that sort of pain, I start searching for the lesson.

    I like to think there is one…that the pain is not just gratuitous.  I’ve relied on that point of view.

    Life really is about the hope for a better tomorrow…and how to keep that alive.

    • RiaD on July 24, 2008 at 9:22 pm

    i too, read much from the sidelines (even if i do get vocal at times)& i agree with you….

    I nod my head in equal understanding of ALL the perspectives shared, no matter HOW they appear to “conflict” in meaning..because I CAN SENSE THE AUTHENTIC SHARED INTENTIONS…

    that’s why i rec every comment…. i see a good point in nearly every utterance here….

    & thanks….

    so much of what you’ve stated (so very well btw!) was bottled up inside me & i had not the way to get it out intelligably (hell-read that sentence~ i still can’t!)

    anyway…thanks

    new perspectives & all………..

    ♥~

  2. wallowing in the personal becomes masturbation especially on a community level. Dharma is a wheel and the opposites in relationships become apparent. Been reading a lot of Buddhistic Tibetan stuff lately and the main thing I’m learning is that you got to let it go.. I see people here who all are excellent holding shields for imaginary arrows. Stances held like fortresses. Conflict or opportunity is the question. I just cannot see why the dualistic nature of all questions is not allowed to see air? Your ego is not your amigo my friend once said yet it the thing that drives most artists. Within you need the without you to do any good.        

  3. Thanks

  4. Thank you for this essay scribe.  I really appreciate your observations as an outside party.  I think what’s happening here is fascinating too.  I am also curious why you appear when conflicts arise – you weren’t the only one to show up out of the woodwork the past few weeks and try to defuse things.    It’s very serendipitous.    

    Also serendipitous –  – after reading your essay I went to yoga class.  The teacher anounced the theme of the class was “Opposites”.  A lot of the things she talked about were relevant to this essay and what is happening on the blog.  I think it’s really cool when a message/lesson gets reinforced like this.   By the end of class I was wishing she would post her ideas here – – I will just summarize a few.

    The first thing was that the very act of breathing is composed of opposites: inhaling and exhaling.  Can anyone live without this opposition?  Everything in life has an opposite.  So “embrace the contradiction” – that was the take-home phrase from the class.  Attempt to see things from multiple points of view – including the complete opposite.    It stretches your mind just like the yoga poses stretch your body.    

    She used the example of a Calvin and Hobbes cartoon which she described so well that I was able to find it on Google.   Calvin’s world turns Cubist after a debate with his father.  He is suddenly able to see more than one side of an issue.  It’s too much for his young mind so he struggles to get back to his uni-dimensional ‘reality’.  Then he goes and tells his father – “you’re still wrong!”.

    In yoga the poses are called “asanas”.   So while we were doing the physical movements she also gave us exercises that she called mental asanas… e.g. Think of someone you don’t like and try to find something good about them.  Also think of someone you may idolize and try to find their foibles and what makes them human.     She gave the example of her grandfather who had passed away last year.   He was an ex-Marine, very gruff and cold.  She tried to remember one nice thing that he had done or said to her and couldn’t think of anything.   So in a recent conversation with her grandmother (his wife) the grandmother said that he was the kindest most wonderful person she ever met. That really blew my teacher away – it forced her to consider the complete opposite of what she thought and felt.   So even if you don’t like someone, there are others who love and adore them and they are worthy of that love.          

    I think I’ll stop there.  Thanks for letting me tack this on to your essay scribe.  You are welcome here anytime!

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