Keeping an open mind

I used to believe I had an open mind because I was a free spirit and did not subscribe to certain societal rules and norms such as religion, marriage, divorce, and sex before marriage, the number of partners one should sleep with, education, so on and so forth. I did not have any issue with race or sexual preference and could not understand why these issues were still issues. It did not matter to me if someone was rich or poor, their “colour” (I still dislike using that term) or if they were “gay” or “straight” or “bi” or whatever. Clothes did not make a man or woman and what you did for a living should not matter. I quit high school before graduation and worked full time at a young age. I had part time jobs while in school and I believed I was independent at a young age and so it was. My open mind.

In reality, I still feel this way about all of the above. Perhaps I had an open mind to some things but it was closed to anybody else’s beliefs and I could be very judgmental, resentful and I could hold a grudge for a long time. I detested being criticized although I was pretty critical of people who were unlike me in thinking or questioned me in a way I found annoying.

The definition of open minded is: willing to consider new ideas; unprejudiced. Sounds pretty simple. I learned that my mind was not nearly as open as I believed in 2011, when I embarked on a personal journey because I had some pretty self-destructive habits that needed to change.  I had always believed that 12 step programs were not for me as I was not a religious person and was convinced they were a cult. Ironically it was a 12 step program that helped change my life for the better and the principle of open mindedness was introduced to me.

So here I find myself today, writing about open-mindedness and politics. Before, I never paid much attention to politics and lived my life, oblivious to it. This was because of the politics in Quebec, Bill 101, to be precise, that did impact my life by preventing me from attending English school here, when I wanted to live with my mom. To me that was  an infringement on my human rights and free speech. I held that grudge for a long time. I did not vote regularly. The government, in my mind, just took care of services for the public it served. That was what I believed the government was about. There were programs in place for families and people out of work, education, health care, infrastructure etc…… Things I pretty much took for granted. In Canada our health care is free and our education is relatively cheap compared to our neighbors in the USA. When I returned to school, in English, in Quebec (HA!)  after my daughter was 2 years old, I realized I could do it because the tuition fees were such that it was possible for me, on a waitress salary. As you go through University, politics becomes a topic of discussion and I realized that I was what was called Liberal, apparenly because I believed in social programs and their agenda seemed to fit my way of thinking. I believed in a woman’s right to choose, and thought the education, healthcare and child benefits I had benefitted from, and the environment, were good programs and should be maintained. I realized politics might matter more than I once thought. So I started to vote more regularly.

It is clear to me now that I could feel hate or great dislike towards men and women I did not know just because they were in a different political party especially if they said something I disagreed with. I became disillusioned with the whole thing after 9/11, and political scandals in Canada and then the USA started to emerge. I then started to believe the whole system was corrupt and it was an abomination.

During the last elections that took place here in Canada, I had not planned to vote. In my mind it was all bullshit. Two or three sides of the same coin, so to speak. But I was told by a friend, from that support group I was attending at the time, that I had a responsibility to vote because a woman had fought for my right to do so. I reflected on this and thought how grateful I was to live in a country where I can vote when there are people who live in countries where this is not even allowed. So I voted. The Liberals won. It was a surprise. The man that had been Prime Minister would no longer be a problem for me, I thought. I could stop that uncomfortable feeling of annoyance/dislike/judgment when I saw him on the news or heard about decisions he had made, that I believed were ridiculous. My open mind.

I did not even feel anything when people would criticize my Prime Minister or the electorate system we had in place. My mind was so open because I respected everyone’s right to their opinion. I felt I had evolved because I did not seem personally invested in what people thought as much as before. I felt better about the whole thing. Then something happened. The USA elections were about to change my whole belief in my open mind.

I remember watching the Apprentice with Donald Trump and I remember enjoying the show. People of all kinds were on his show; women and men, white and black etc……

This man was now running for President and it appeared he would be running as a republican? His opponent? For a time it was believed Bernie Sanders had a chance but no it would be Hilary. By this time, it was widely reported that there were issues with the USA government. Corruption, election rigging, emails etc………..So in my mind I believed that the whole thing was a joke. In addition, I had issues with certain bombings taking place in Syria, and to this day I still do not understand why that happened. I don’t think I ever will. Suffice to say that I do not believe in war of any kind. Fighting for peace is an oxymoron and I am tired of all the violent nonsense inflicted on people in other countries.

At this time, I was investigating the possibility that my life is a result of my choices and how I feel is my responsibility. I was open minded enough to look into this due to other personal events in my life. I needed to work on myself, by myself. Focus on new thoughts and ideas.

There was little drama in my life, I had many blessings and I appreciated my life, my work, my family and my friends. I felt more confident in my abilities and pretty zen in general. I listend to public speakers and authors I admired and read their books and thought they had the key to spirituality and how to live a good, kind life in general. One based in love and not fear. Fear and worry are based in beliefs we hold and when we act on these, it usually does not serve our higher good. My beliefs aligned with these people. I have found we tend to put our faith in one person, one thing, one institution, one program and believe it will fix everything or knows all, is all. We think if this thing changes or that thing changes, all will be well. We look outside ourselves for solutions. We place far too much faith in one man, woman, religion, organization etc…. We give our power away. We forget to look at ourselves. At least I did.

So I paid little attention to what was going on in the US. Trump versus Hilary. The whole repetitive campaign where every day it seemed this man was spewing hate, racism and craziness that had to indicate he could never win. But then there were claims about Hilary with her emails and claims of corruption which indicated that neither of these two would be a good idea. Alliances with ISIS or Russia and all sorts of issues were being reported. I do not even watch the news, but like I have heard said, you always hear what you need at the time. I started to despise Donald Trump. Feelings of annoyance and hate crept up every time I saw something on social media and flashes of him on TVs in shopping malls or airports. I did not engage in the heated debates on social media. If it is true that everything works out and contrast is there for a reason, I decided there had to be something to be learned from this instead.

This person, Trump, could trigger a nerve though. It confused me because I could not even have a conversation about this man without getting angry. My open mind right? He seemed to be evil personified. He won the election. I thought it was a joke and I let that reality set in.  Then, people I admired and respected started to say things that were as hateful as what the man they were criticizing was saying. They started to act as he was. They felt justified because they were right and he was wrong. He needed to be stopped so that justified many protests after the election that were not peaceful and as violent as the Trump rallies. Then I realized what was happening. Mirrors. I am that which I judge.

Donald Trump has been one of my teachers this year. What I judge in another is something in me. Not literally, like if I judge a murderer, it does not mean I am a murderer, it means there is a shadow or pain in me I need to look at. People do not murder if they are happy and love themselves. When I hate someone or feel fear about what they will do and what they think, I have given my power away. I cannot know what another is thinking really because I am not them. The book “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz, that I had read before, came into mind. The term mass consciousness as well. I realized that one man is not capable of doing anything horrendous alone and no longer bought into doom and gloom. After the election, the sun rose and set each day. My life continued along pretty much as usual, unless I started to think thoughts that would make me less happy. The world did not end. Nobody died as a result or because of Donald Trump.  My country, Canada, did not suffer at his hands and has not to this day. To worry about the future is just robbing me of now AND serves no purpose. I am just creating shit I do not want.

I heard him compared to Hitler. Here is the thing; Hitler needed supporters to inflict the hell he did. He could NEVER have done all that evil on his own. Genocide is the result of many people; a man and his followers. So I am not worried about Trump nor his alleged semblance to Hitler. I also do not believe he is a racist. He has hired, and appointed “black” people and women to his cabinet. I do not care if the people he appointed have money. I do not care if they are rich or poor. That is not my business. I know people with money who are good people. They may not be billionaires, but they have been successful and they are good decent people. My step father comes to mind. I do not know these billionaires enough to judge them.  I do not believe everything I hear from the various media sources either. I have let that all go. People in positions of power do not get that power on their own. People give it to them. Mass consciousness.

The reality is that these positions are just that – positions. I do not believe that any one man or woman has the power to make all decisions. That is not the way it is. I think it is clear that the heads of countries have other people to answer to and do not run everything. It is an illusion to think otherwise. Political parties are all part of the same system and nobody has all the right answers. There are different beliefs and people have different thoughts on how to get things done. That is al it is. Period. I no longer felt panic at the thought of Donald Trump.

I personally would not have voted for him, but then again, contrary to the prior belief that I owe it to anyone to vote in a system I do not believe in, I would not have voted at all. I do not support something I don’t believe in, regardless of what happened in the past to make it possible for me to vote. Today things are different and I owe it to myself to do only that which feels right. If it does not speak to me, I will not participate.  I also do not put my faith in government, or one man or woman to solve everything. I put faith in myself and the Universal energies (or God).

This week, the inauguration took place, there was yet another language scandal in Canada, and Kevin O’leary announced on the “news” he was going to run for elections in 2019? And Obama left office.

I listened to Obama’s last public address because I liked him in general. There was something about him and his family I appreciated. I heard about how Trudeau was getting flack for speaking French in Quebec – oh the irony – and the justifications to complain about not answering in English. I paid no mind to a man announcing his decision to run in 2019 because it is 2017 and I would like to enjoy this time without political rhetoric about how my country is being destroyed. I don’t see it. Therefore, it is not. I see now that as you believe so it is. If you want to think thoughts that will worry you – go ahead. I do not need to participate. And so it is.

I actually watched the inauguration. I listened to his speech and closely watched his family as the reporters quipped in the background over every little thing. He made comments about the establishment and the reporters called it an attack on previous presidents. I wonder, how many of us, at one time or another, have not thought the same thing about the establishment? I know I have said the same thing in the past; that some politicians talk bullshit and do nothing. Mirrors.

I feels better with my new found open mind and it feels better to hope for someone’s success than their failure. It is in the mass good to do so. It feels better to look for things about someone to appreciate rather than to pick them apart out of hate. I looked at his family, how they were all together and the knowledge that they work in the family business together. That does not sound evil. His daughters and wife do not appear crazy, abused, or disrespected. On the contrary they are well spoken, and kind. His sons all work with him and seem to love him too. There has to be good in this man I think to myself.

I may never believe as Donald Trump believes about certain subjects, such as racism and respecting women, walls, etc…… I will never condone rounding up people just because they are Muslim, or “Black”. I will never condone disrespect of women. However, I do not believe that that is what this man is really about. I do not believe my country is in trouble unless enough of the masses do something to make it so. I watched as protestors’ vandalized commerce and caused violence. That was not Donald Trump. Again, the expression “Look in the mirror comes to mind.” I do not believe anyone of us has all the answers. One thing I do know is hate begets hate.

It is with a more open mind that I can say I think everyone has the right to run for whatever they want. Everyone has the right to think and believe whatever they want. That is what being human is. I do not have to agree. I do not have to waste energy or give my power away by trying to convince anyone of what I believe, or change what they believe. It is with tolerance and love and compassion that good things happen I believe. Unity of people only happens under those conditions. As Donald Trump said in his speech yesterday “in unity, there is no room for prejudice.” Ironic that a man accused of being exactly that would say such a thing.

So I choose to believe these words. I can happily report that I no longer feel hate towards that man, I hope he does well for the country and does a good job. Because as a neighbor to the USA, it is in my interest that he does so. In addition, as a citizen of the world, if Donald Trump means what he says about America not forcing their way of life on anyone, this could mean then end of the USA poking their nose in countries, where I do not believe it belongs. Like Syria, for example. Which was never mentioned at all this week in Obama’s last address, nor the reflection of his last 8 years in office. On that, everyone appears silent. I, on the other hand remember. Thankfully the bombings have stopped and for the moment, there is peace. In my home, mind and heart. At least for today.

It feels better to believe the best about somebody. I will continue trying that out. Ironically, I feel better about me, when I do that. More importantly, it is evidence that anything is possible. Anything. If there is one thing I am learning is that you really can do anything if you set your mind to it. Open mind in evolution.

 

 

 

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