the government shutdown. posturing seems to be the new term and the favorite pastime. the political figures have their agendas, whether they verbalize them or not. frustration surfaces in the mainstream as does the realization that a large part of our lives is so greatly impacted and controlled by the decisions of a few.
And this is where the loop begins. Frustration felt from the lack of control. We, the people, cannot fire the politicians for not doing their job. We do not have the authority. We, the people, cannot demand immediate re-election of our representatives in order to voice our opinion. We do not have the unified confidence or means. So we wait and watch to see what the few decide. And we stew in our boiling pot, searching for the answer, the resolution, not to the political debate necessarily, but ultimately how to relate to this lack of life control. Nothing immediately comes to mind; so the frustration continues. We bite our nails and shake our head, there has got to be something to do about this, to make things better. We rack our brains amidst the waves of betrayal, unbelievability and anxiety; how to create change. Nothing again, except another bout of frustration. And this is the loop.
I’ve had a few conversations with friends that have started out with “there has got to be another way to think about this.” The ‘this’ has usually resolved itself into a full blown frustration loop, like frustrations with the government shutdown, or encounters with sexism, or crazy people expressing themselves with guns. For myself, when I become stuck in a loop, I feel the energy bubbling over, with no productive direction for this building energy to be funneled; at least productive in the sense that the direction would alleviate the pressure from the cause of the frustration. So, how to avoid the loop to begin with and put energy towards a more productive path?
I have noticed that my immediate response is usually to reach out and change or solve whatever is causing me the frustration. I look outside of myself to effect change. But when I encounter an issue, a concept, a culture, an event beyond my control, then the frustration loop begins. What if the first step was something else altogether? Another method of thinking, or a different way to process information and come to solutions, resolutions or even just an understanding. I wonder if our society is buried so deep in normal processes of thinking (stereotypes, belief in opposites, understanding through differences, one reality, blame, ‘one man to save the world’ storyline) and our culture perpetuates this current ‘how’ in thinking, that it would be extremely challenging to impact or be aware of how we develop our perspectives.
So, how do I think about the government shutdown without entering the loop? I honestly don’t know. But I feel like it is all about the first step. Instead of reaching outward for the answer, maybe the first step is to reach in.