(Updated from 10/17/2017)
Here we go again. Another mass shooting. On a holiday. And several throughout the world over the weekend. I am reminded of October 16, 2017.
That was another tense day for me because I had friends in Las Vegas. I’ve also had many memories there. My oldest sister lived there for much of my childhood. My mom and aunts used to visit The Strip for their post-retirement girls’ weekends. I’ve visited for work and fun with my closest friends in California. Like many of the places where mass murders have occurred at this point, Las Vegas felt like a part of me.
As I waited for loved ones to confirm they were safe, it was not easy for me to find the patience to deal with yet another worker who hates his employer. I had little compassion for him because it seemed to me that he was using the workers compensation (WC) to supplement a retirement he hadn’t sufficiently prepared for.
It was even more difficult to maintain patience with the judge.
I expect employees to sometimes feel entitled, victimized, and justified greed. I’m not surprised when they make decades of poor health choices and are ill-prepared for life’s expensive surprises. It used to surprise me more with judges.
That day, I found myself arguing with a judge who planned to disregard a doctor‘s testimony and substitute his own amateur “medical” opinion. In comparison to what more than hundreds of concert-goers in Las Vegas were dealing with, this all seemed stupid and self-absorbed.
I suspect you might be feeling that way a lot of times, too. How do we put energy to small day-to-day conflicts when 51 people have been murdered in mass shootings in the United States this year?
It’s overwhelming to choose where to focus our limited time, money, and energy when there is so much need. Yet doing nothing changes nothing. We must create the peace we want to see. It’s true that every little bit helps. Give what you can today. Then do it again tomorrow, the next day, the next day, and so on.
Making the Seven Choices has also been helpful to many people:
Forgive yourself for having conflicts, including about gun laws, blame, and your priorities for the day.
We all experience conflict. It is a natural part of living, and at its best, conflict creates the space for us to grow a bit bigger and brighter. We have that option, even under the worst of circumstances.
Acknowledge yourself for taking any action to resolve this or any other conflict.
It is not easy to confront our fears and vulnerabilities, yet here you are, searching for answers and ready for action. Do not judge whether your action is big enough or good enough. Any action is more likely to shift the current circumstances than no action at all, and you can trust yourself to take wise ones when your intention is pure and focus on benefiting more than just yourself.
Forgive the world for having and creating conflicts.
I do not understand the hunger for violence and war. I can’t comprehend the need for massive losses of life due to shootings, war, disease, or natural disasters. Sometimes, I wish we could all live long, happy lives and die quietly in our sleep at an old age. Rather than waste my energy cursing the world as it is, I will try to work with it.
It might be naive, or even misguided, but I will trust that there is some kind of divine order to this madness, and I will look for ways I can contribute to what I want the world to be.
Free the emotions.
Ignore all of the messaging that tells you some feelings are more appropriate than others.
Between the tears and nausea when I am worried about my loved ones, I drop a lot of f*** bombs. Occasional tears still leak out of the corners of my eyes. It’s a very natural and human response. I promise you will feel freer if you allow (versus ignore) them. Find a private or safe place and ease them out. Take as long as you need.
Clear your mind.
Our minds will connect current events with ones that seem like them. Sometimes those connections will be accurate. At other times, we will see causation where there is only correlation. Solutions probably aren’t as simple as your brain wants them to be.
Assume you know nothing about anything.
Now is the time to be curious. The solutions might not come from experts in any particular specialty. They may come from average people like us who know how to love, listen, forgive, guide, empower, and lead.
Listen with your third ear.
If you are an employer or manage people in a workplace, I’m calling on you. Why? Because you have a lot more influence than you realize. Nearly everyone has a job, has had a job, or knows someone with a job. Imagine how many people are impacted by how well you treat the people who depend on you for the money that gives them a place to live, helps them feed their families, and more.
Listen compassionately to the hurts your employees express to you, and heal the ones you can.