An expanded excerpt from my essay, America — The Change We Seek, providing a short form concept explanation about our lexicon and how it controls the way we think.
A great many writers, musicians and creators do not practice what they preach but preach what they wish to practice. That is not good or bad, but it is just the way it is. It does not discount their message.
Because we do not want to look at the ugly side of our heroes, we put away the sides of them and the facts of their existence that we find undesirable.
Jillian’s peers had made it out like the world ended when you used any substance, but the world hadn’t ended at all. In fact, it felt exactly the same. She still had no desire to use it and was looking forward to doing step work with Jen that evening. Even more, after the magic of last night, she was looking forward to it more than the day before.
When she had first arrived to the rooms, one of the first things Jillian heard was that she had to change her people, places and things. Which made sense because like they always say, “If you keep going to the barbershop, you are going to get a haircut.” But when her old friend Sarah called, she was delighted to hear from her. Sarah wasn’t around during the years Jillian spent curled up into a miserable ball at the feet of addiction.
She was 16 years old when she shot dope for the first time. Drugs had never been around much for most of her childhood, but she had been dating this mega-hot senior, and she was head over heels.
Developing the ability to be soft and strong is truly an art. It is a gift, a talent, and a superpower. However, it takes a little longer for others to accept and understand because it is so different. People have a hard time comprehending that someone can be two seemingly opposite things at the same time. As humans, we are inclined to place people in either one category or another. We have what one of my favorite authors, Jen Sincero, likes to call the “either-or syndrome”. Soft or strong, good or bad, creative or responsible, the list goes on.
We struggle because we have been told our whole lives to “stop bragging.” Every aspect of human nature is a double-sided coin and when it comes to the coin of self-celebration, we often confuse it with the other side of the coin— self-promotion, grandiosity, self-absorption and greed.
Writing this title, ‘A Colorless White World’, I get a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. With a title like this, I may generate immediate disgust by some readers. A colorless world doesn’t sound good. And as a white person, I cannot talk about anything societal in my world that is ‘not good’ because of my ‘white privilege’. Implying that I suffer from anything — especially related to race — or that anything is being forced upon me will surely be followed up by accusations of my white privilege, entitlement and ingratitude.
When you know that you know how to behave in a conscious way, practicing full awareness and living with an inner peace, it’s hard to understand why you lose it out of nowhere. You find yourself being reactive. After some conflict has arisen from inside of you or around you, you take a step back and look. Then, when you’re open to reality, it hits you like a ton of bricks.
American people have been speaking out more than we have in decades about the change we seek. If we have learned anything from the past 244 years, we have learned that nothing is more powerful than what we believe. If we don’t change what we collectively believe, the changes we make will not have a lasting effect and that which we thought we changed will manifest again — in new and often insidious ways.