A Consciousness of Convenience
I remember what it was like the week Robin Williams died by suicide. For a brief moment in time, we had a collective conversation about mental health. It was powerful.
And then it stopped.
Until the next famous person died by suicide. Collective conversation. Abrupt ending.
School shootings. Collective conversations. Abrupt endings.
Police killings. Collective conversations. Abrupt endings.
Certainly, we are altered by these conversations. And ever since the last election, more people are speaking up, across the board.
But the truth is our nervous system struggles to sustain extended awareness about hard shit. It’s all we can do to even sustain awareness about our own struggles, let alone collective struggles—and, of course, sometimes they overlap.
So, we retreat to our old survival strategies which often include distraction and avoidance—assuming we have the luxury of doing so.
And what remains becomes a Consciousness of Convenience—a brief awakening and then back to turning away.
No blame here. It’s, as I said, a survival strategy.
These issues are so big and so vast that it’s almost impossible not to feel powerless.
I feel you.
Yet, each time we turn away, more will inevitably suffer, including ourselves.
Admittedly, this moment in time—this movement—does feel different. And even polls are showing a large shift in public opinion.
I’ve often thought the world would need to stop in order for us to collectively have enough breathing space to reach a turning point of awareness.
Well the world stopped (thanks Coronavirus?!?). And we are collectively waking up.
But I can also feel the energy already shifting, because people want to return to normal. But please remember that normal is harmful, and often deadly, for a good portion of our population. So we cannot return to normal, once more. It would be unconscionable to do so.
Of course, we can continue forward with our lives and we must. But what will we take with us?
What individual and collective commitments will we make?
Can we rise beyond our feelings of individual powerlessness to join together with small, consistent, targeted steps towards change?
I ask you to consider your role.
“Don’t accept that what’s happening
Is just a case of others’ suffering
Or you’ll find that you’re joining in
The turning away” ~Pink Floyd