Scouting Gun Control Issues

So I wrote the post (pictured above) after news of a mass shooting in Boulder, Colorado. This is on the heels of a mass shooting in Georgia. I wrote it right before I went to bed, and I was feeling just done with the madness. Well, if you are a thinker or a writer, as usually happens, once I laid down in the quiet, the thoughts flooded in.

A little more on this….

Everything I said in that post is 100 percent how I feel. They’re my thoughts. My wish is that I knew what to do about it, knew how to effect actual, lasting change, but my belief is that it’s not a gun problem, but a heart and soul condition. (Shameless plug: I think I have a blog post about that somewhere.) I used to think that we just need to ban every single kind of firearm, but my thoughts on that have slowly, continually evolved. I still wish we lived in a world where they didn’t exist, never existed at all, but I can wish that until the cows come home and it won’t change a single thing. So….

__________________________________________________________________________

Learn better; do better. Thoughts evolve, and that’s okay.

My thoughts on gun control are evolving as over the years I have come to understand and see how these types of laws can affect communities that aren’t White, and communities that sit in the lower income brackets. This is true of so many of our laws and beliefs. I believe in our 2nd Amendment as I understand it (not in the fear-based, bastardized version so many self-appointed “patriots” vomit out), but I don’t believe just anyone deserves to own a firearm either. So what are the correct parameters? I doubt we’ll ever find agreement on this either.

__________________________________________________________________________

The Black Panthers showed up and we clutched our pearls.

Remember that time in 1967 when the Black Panthers showed up on the steps of the California State Capitol and then-Governor Reagan (R) and his NRA cronies decided we needed gun control laws right away? Well, I don’t remember because I was barely 3 years old, but it’s not hard information to find. But yes, the NRA wanted gun control laws after that incident! (If you never stopped to wonder “why,” here’s your chance.) What I do vividly remember many times is White men and women parading, storming, and protesting at various state capitol buildings, other federal buildings and lands armed to the freaking gills. What I also remember about those incidents is the government, the twisted NRA, and many so-called patriots saying NOTHING and doing NOTHING about it. Essentially, what I’ve seen is blatant inequality, and the silence I hear is actually an action, a stand.

__________________________________________________________________________

Well now, that’s a problem.

So there I was with a pretty strong thought about guns and owners, heels dug in, rock solid sentiments. The problem is it centers my own personal fears and knee-jerk reactions rather than the whole picture. It leaves out the welfare of a whole lot of people. Is this the crossroads or a complete shift? I guess I’m not totally sure yet, but I know it is different, and I know that if my thoughts or actions contribute to hurting another group through inequality or inequity, then that’s a clue that some shift needs to happen. It’s a clue tapping at me letting me know that something is unbalanced, unfair, and requires more thought. I have always chosen to be a scout rather than a follower — someone who continually seeks out a higher consciousness and willing to change direction when or where I see I can do better. I’m not afraid to find out I’m wrong. I’m not afraid to change. I’m not afraid to realize my thoughts may have been imitated without thought and it’s okay to change direction. All of that might piss off some folks, but that isn’t always what’s most important. So I adjust, transform, or switch directions.

__________________________________________________________________________

So here I am with little direction, nagging thoughts, armed with a scout mentality.

I’m going to stay in this inquiry until I have a solid direction. It’s important to me that the footprint I leave on others isn’t one on their backs. It’s important to me that my activism supports our Black and Brown communities in equality. It’s important to me to self-examine regularly and make sure I’m in alignment with what I say I want in the world, and that I’m not aligned out of fear. I’m going to have a conversation with a friend of mine whose ideas have also changed around gun ownership, whose ideas were much like mine and have also evolved quite a bit over the past year or so. I was invited to go to a shooting range event by that friend, and my husband and I are going to attend. I’m looking forward to it. I’ve never shot a gun in my life, and they’ve always scared me. I have no clue what I might learn, who I might get to talk to, but I’m open to it all because personal evolution is calling. I’ll blog about my experiences and thoughts.

Always choose to be a scout.

__________________________________________________________________________

Revolution won’t happen without evolution, revelations, and reevaluation.

Cobwebs, Dirty Floors, and Love

If you’re going to tell me that I need to learn to love myself (or ourselves, in a group setting) in order to love you with the love and respect you deserve, I can’t hear you if you aren’t loving me. I can’t hear you if you are coming from grudge (or anger, yelling, vitriol) vs. love.

It’s tricky, isn’t it? What I hear you saying may very well be the truth, or may certainly have some true parts. But it’s like giving advice to someone else on how to keep their house clean while you have cobwebs all over yours. Your cobwebs don’t actually make any of the truth less true. However, they make you less believable about what you know and want, so you are now suspect for motives, suspect as to what will be returned for changed behavior. Your intention isn’t coming from the same energy that you wish to receive.

Now, you will get a few on board who will hear you and see the truth in spite of your own cobwebs and adjust accordingly; and you will have some form of agreement from the few self-loathing as well. But you will not ultimately get the return you were going for, which is a transformed group.

What a conundrum. Sometimes we really need to be heard, or sometimes we really need to hear. How difficult it can be to express hurt, fear, or anger and be heard fully without losing humanity towards the other person our group!

Love is some tricky shit when you think you can out-maneuver it.

👉 Me, Myself, and I 👈

Good, bad, or indifferent, I’m the common denominator in every event and circumstance in my life. If I get to take credit for the celebration and praise-worthy instances, I must also take responsibility and credit for the lackluster and substandard occasions as well.

The way in was me, and so it is for the way out. If I want more, then I stay the course. If I want change, like everything else, that movement begins with me as well.

Simply because I’m human and share the planet, life sends me surprises. I may not be responsible for that, but I am still at the center of the space created from my own response.

When "Just Love" Is Just Words Instead of a Verb

💗

There’s a lot of requests to “just love” in the past couple days.

This is popular when there is a tragedy, whether it’s a large scale disaster, or something that just hits local or home. Notice the word “just” is put in front of the word “love” to indicate that it really is a simple thing, that it really needs to happen, and that it will really make all the difference.


I don’t think it’s surprising that this request comes in droves when a major tragedy occurs.  Not at all.  Nor do I think it is somehow wrong or inappropriate. We are touched and moved in various ways by these occurrences, and so it seems natural o reach out in this way.


But why aren’t we doing this every day regardless of circumstances? Why aren’t we doing less talking and more listening in the first place — and in all places and for all people? Why do we wait until a terrible thing that showed us what a lack of love and conscience looks like, to remember to “just love?” 

What does your “just love” look like? What does it mean?  Are certain individuals or groups left out? You see, if our “just love” is meant to invoke a loving change or a change for more love, then it begins with you, me, the person stating it — not “them,” or over there somewhere. If your “just love” is meant as a plea or a reminder for people to change their hearts and minds, this must also apply to you. Otherwise it is an empty plea. 

“Just love” doesn’t mean that you have to start agreeing with everybody. What it looks like (if you actually want change) is the willingness to hear people that may think or act or look differently than you. It’s real easy and a cop-out from your statement to “just love” the same people that you just loved the day before the tragedy. There is absolutely no change in that. So when the dust settles from the current tragedy, guess what we have! We have the same thing we had before the tragedy — the very thing that we said we didn’t want to see any more of.

Is your “just love” just words, or is it a jump into action?

Do you have a plan to include those you left out before? I think that most of us know that one of the best ways we can show love and respect for another is to give them our attention and consideration. When we minimize, ignore, or ridicule another person’s experience based off of the simple, and simple-minded, fact that it is different from our own, that is absolutely not “just love.” It is, at its least, thoughtless. At its most, it shows up as tragedy in various forms and depths.

 

So the next time you broadcast “just love” as a mend, please make sure it’s not “just words.” Love is, after all, a verb, too.

💗

Intersectional Feminism – a Lesson for ALL

When one is uplifted, so are we all.  Equality does not mean that someone loses something in order for someone else to gain equal footing.  Equality shouldn’t be feared, yet it is. Fear of losing something is what drives a lot of people to refuse to respect and hear about another person’s experience/s that is different from their own.  So I’ll say it again: When one is uplifted, so are we all. 

The Dark Soul and Little Spitfire

A story that starts over and over again to have a happy ending
  
Allegory
Once upon a time, there was an evil man with an infectious smile and a big sense of humor — but a dark soul, he was.  Nothing good about this man was genuine.  He smiled on the outside, but his insides were murky and sour.  He covered it up by putting on a gregarious and charitable act for all to see, but in the dark is where he crafted his masterpiece of deceit and lies.  His energy was strongest in the dark where no one could see and where he could keep his secrets hidden.  In the dark was where he lured his victims, where he would devour them with enticements of money and favors that they could never repay fully, except with the defeat and surrender of their consciences.  Even then, this Dark Soul would not be done with you.  Once you bowed to him, you were eternally damned with only one way out.  That way was a rarely chosen one which forced the affected to leave all behind.  His force was so strong, and so dense was his canvas of lies, that only a scant few could see out.  Some who saw through his darkness continued to pander to him anyway out of fear.  If you walked through the blinding exit, your true essence would be forgotten by all that you knew and loved, eclipsed by the grimy portrait of lies painted by the Dark Soul that sucked the good out of everything he touched.  He breathed in what goodness he could find and regurgitated stench; and when he breathed in stench, he regurgitated his own demons that were always someone else’s fault.
History
There was a little soul, a Little Spitfire born to the Dark Soul and a Family of Light.  She was innocent to the inner workings of the dark side.  But as she matured she began to come into her own mind, and she began to see the contrast between the Dark Soul and the Family of Light.  She also began to come into her own awareness about the world around her — the world she was immersed in.  This was the corner the Dark Soul missed when he brought the little soul into the world.  He misjudged his own powers of influence and mistakenly thought that he was stronger than all else.  After all, the evidence was there that he was the great influencer, was it not?   But indeed he had not learned that the Light is always greater than darkness; he had born his daughter into the Family of Light as well as his own, and he had immersed his daughter into a world full of life, colorful surroundings, and cultures.  As his darkness grew, so did the little soul’s awareness.  Her immediate surroundings became intolerable, as he not only weighed on her illuminated conscience, but also weighed heavy on her little heart.  The Dark Soul’s abuse was growing in the dark that was beginning to take over.  Then one day the Light Protector decided it had become too dark for anyone to grow, and gave the Little Spitfire the option to stay where she thought she knew her surroundings, or to come with her and live where only Light was allowed.  Having had enough of the stench of the darkness, the 13 year old Little Spitfire chose to go with the Light Protector.  She had no idea that nearly an entire family would turn away from her because of her choice to grow — even her grandparents.
As the years passed, Little Spitfire and Light Protector grew and learned together.  The Dark Soul tormented them whenever and wherever he could for years.  He ruined vehicles, stole jewelry, would call endlessly, spoke horrible language, and stole money from Little Spitfire.  He even enlisted other family members, childhood friends of Little Spitfire, and friends of Light Protector to keep tabs on them for him.  He relied on their gossip and willingly and relentlessly spread untruths about them to his own family and friends.  The Dark Soul even entered Little Spitfire’s school one day shouting epithets at her teachers and administrators to coerce them to have her removed.  Fortunately, it only caused them to frown upon him and feel bad for his embarrassed Little Spitfire, and he was banished from the grounds.  He did anything he could to spread the darkness.  He knew he couldn’t survive in the Light.  Every nasty, big or little thing he did to them, he would turn into a different story to his comrades and family.  His stories were so big and he held so much power, that nearly 40 years later these stories are still believed as the truth, and have been retold and spread by many.  Interestingly enough, not one word has ever been said directly by any of these players to the Little Spitfire or the Light Protector directly about any of these stories.  One can only surmise that it must be easier to believe a lie than to find out the hard truth about everything you thought you knew.
Several years passed, and the Dark Soul was only heard from intermittently with an occasional drive-by, or through packages of old pictures or knick-knacks being left anonymously on the Light Protector’s doorstep.  Spitfire had grown into her own life by now, but was living in the darkness of the trauma left behind from him.  For a while, it seemed that his darkness had followed her and was going to live on through her.  She didn’t realize it until she made a lot of mistakes, some which hurt other people, but most hurt her own life.  Spitfire had an awakening one day when the Light shone on her just right, and she realized that she had little souls of her own that were being affected by the Dark Soul, though his physical presence was absent.  She was at once angrier than she had ever been in her life, but quickly realized that this anger had been the downfall all along — that it had been the remaining shade casting out the Light trying so hard to pull her through for so many years.  In the realization alone, the warmth from the Light began to spread, and little by little, more became illuminated.   The most important thing that showed up for Spitfire was herself, and the realization that she held all the power for herself and her little souls all along.  She had just forgotten in the darkness to open her eyes.
The next chapter in Spitfire’s life was challenging as she learned a new way of thinking and teaching her little souls and for herself.  She had to learn to love the forgotten life she hated in order to have Light everywhere.  Darkness can be like an addiction, and can suck you back in when you aren’t paying attention.  So Spitfire tried very hard to be aware of her surroundings at all times.  Again, she made lots of mistakes, but always brushed herself off and vowed to never make the same mistake twice.  Her biggest wish was for her little souls to grow in the Light and not have to know the darkness that she did.  She worked diligently to cultivate the characteristics in them that the Dark Soul would never have taught — diplomacy, honesty, sincerity, tenacity, decency, impartiality, frankness, honor, unconditional love — whatever she felt were crucial to a life of integrity and courage.
By now, Spitfire’s little souls were on their own, and as some of us do when we feel we have forgiven those in dark places, we think we are strong enough to go back and visit.  We think we have risen above and feel that somehow we “should” out of a forgiving spirit.  And so it goes, that we learn all the while we live.  At least, that’s the point of it anyway.  A few of us choose to ignore the lessons and are doomed to repeat them.  So Spitfire went back for a visit, and she stayed for a while until once again, the Dark Soul began casting his shadows upon her life.  She realized that he was one of those that would die having never learned, and would take with him his darkness to the very end.  And sadly, those that would mourn for him would never know the true Light as long as they remained under his cloak of darkness and refused to even peer into the Light.  Spitfire learned that forgiveness does not mean you need to revisit darkness to show the strength of forgiveness.  The strength of forgiveness is shown in the manner in which we live our lives.  It is in the proof that we do not repeat the mistakes from which we turned.  The lesson is proven when we realize that those scars caused in the darkness are ours forever, but not to pass down and share.  They are only bookmarks, or reminders, like those pushpins on a map.  The Light is shown when we no longer pretend to or show reverence for the darkness that caused the scars, and refuse to lend credence and participation to the Dark Soul’s insidious ego any longer. 
Today
Spitfire has come to realize that even in death, the Dark Soul will live on through those that carry out his legacy of darkness, and it will continue to be repeated until someone says, “Enough!” and chooses the Light instead.  She chose a different world for herself and for her little souls so that eventually his darkness will end.  Light always wins over darkness, but it is a conscious choice.  It was the best choice, but it was not an easy path.  She will remain forever grateful for her Family of Light that showed her a dichotomy in her bubble.  She remains strong in her resolve, but unsure if she would have recognized that it was the Light shining on her without them.  Her early training in the darkness has caused a ripple that is a constant struggle against her own worst self, but the Light shines so bright on her awareness that she can never become unconscious again.  Sometimes it’s up to the beholder to give broken things a purpose.
Lessons continue, and darkness is always waiting.  Spitfire will always keep her head up so she can see, and protect her own to the end.  She knows about the cycle.  It is illuminated now and cannot be unseen.  She thinks to herself how she would have liked to have learned these lessons another way, but she understands that this must have been what it took to change the course for her little souls and her to have a different life.
Goodbye, Dark Soul.  You’ll have to leave without me.”

Sometimes it’s up to the beholder
to give broken things a purpose.
Light always wins.

Dear Friend, I See You

Dear Friend,
I know you are struggling with some issues in your life right now.  I know you have some big concerns that are weighing on you.  I see and feel that you are hurting.
I want you to know that it is all going to be okay.  Really.  It may not feel acceptable in this moment, but if you take care of yourself it is all going to work out.  It may not be the way you want it to look or think it might look, but there is going to be something there for your higher good.  Be patient and I promise you it will reveal itself.  Be open for good to show up in spite of what is going on right now.  Love yourself more than your attachment to your circumstances. 
If your past is hurting you, I want you to consider that it is no longer happening. Whatever was done is done.  It is no longer hurting you; hanging onto it is what is hurting.  Take charge and drop that hurt on the spot and gently step forward.  Now pat yourself on the back.  This is enough for today.  Tomorrow, take another easy step forward without looking at what you dropped off.  Take a moment for a self-hug and breathe.  Purpose to care more for yourself than the hurt you were holding onto.
If you are hurting someone, consider that you are also bringing that into your own life.  The reasons don’t matter because what you are ushering into your life is the same regardless of the reasons.  Haven’t you hurt enough? It’s up to you. You are in charge of ALL of it.  Own your experience. It is, whether or not you want it, your responsibility.  The sooner you see this, the sooner you can surrender all of it.  Love yourself more.
Surrender to that which you claim you want.  Claim and own that you are peace, that you are love, that you are trust, that you are harmony, etc.  Set an example for yourself.  The rest will follow your lead.  This is how it works.
So I see you today, and I want you to know that you are not alone.  I want you to know there is a way out that will leave you whole and wholly fulfilled.  Be willing.  Be open.  Be receptive.  Be honest.  Above all, love yourself bigger than what is going on around you.  No one has the power to take that away from you, except you, and no one has the ability to give you that kind of love except you!  That is the truth.
What are you waiting for?
With great love,
Debora Lynn