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What Do You Bring?

Why is it so hard to write these days?

For the first couple of months after October 7, I managed to put something out. After that, I started looking back at things I had written over the years, and finding blog posts that felt relevant - sometimes very relevant… at least to me.

But I’ve found it extremely difficult to write. And why is that?

As I’ve mentioned before, it’s not for a lack of ideas. There are many things that I would love to write about, that I at least sometimes believe might be helpful…

But when I sit down to write, I find that I am just so frustrated. I am so full of fear, desolation, and anger… that it’s so hard to get into a frame of mind from which I can really offer something. A lot of the time, I just feel like I need to vent.

I don’t want to contribute to the problem, as I see it, by just venting. I think that venting should be done in a way that heals oneself, as opposed to sending that negative energy out to other people, who will have to deal with it in their turn. To be fair, finding someone who is willing to listen is great. That’s very helpful. But non-consensual venting, if I can call it that, tends to make things worse.

That said, I am trying now to start with my own feelings, in the hopes that this will bring me to what I have to say. Bear with me, if you are open.

So here I am, sitting in front of my computer, venting about the moment. Venting about my difficulties in writing, and in general. I’ve spoken to a lot of people over the last six months, about the situation in Gaza. It has fascinated me how some of the most aggressive people I have spoken to had absolutely nothing to do with what is going on there. These people were so angry that the conversation felt lost from the very start. And at the same time, I have had conversations that lasted hours, days, and even months with people who had entire families on the ground, fearing for their lives. People who have lost loved ones, people who are genuinely worried about their own personal future. Sometimes we agreed, and other times we disagreed; but there was always respect in the conversation. And that has brought me hope.

But it has also made me wonder: What is the difference?

I think that one of the very important factors we need to pay attention to at this time is how we have a conversation. Both sides should feel safe and comfortable. If they don’t, then you’re more fighting than talking.

But how can we be more aware of how we converse?

I think that when we come together, we all bring a lot with us. We bring the things that stressed us out this morning, or this last week; we bring the things we are concerned about in our lives, and in the world - whether or not they are related to the topic at hand; we bring the memories we’ve accumulated, the pains and disappointments, and also our triumphs throughout our lives; and many other things. How does all this affect our conversations?

When you walk into a room, do you bring an energy of compassion? Or conflict? Do the people around you feel warmth? Or fire? Which way do you steer the conversation, when you add your voice? Are people troubled, or inspired? Are they soothed and sobered, or riled up and intoxicated by your words? Do they feel like killing somebody when the conversation is over? Or do they feel like doing something constructive?

Step back. Look at yourself. What is the general energy of your life? Is it an energy of conflict? Struggle? Challenge? 

Do you bring that with you when you walk into a room?

Do you bring it into your relationships?

Do you pass it on to your kids?

I promise you, with complete certainty, that the answer to the last three questions is yes.

Are there people who have hurt you in your life? How do you feel about them now? Are there people you cannot get along with? That you cannot forgive? Are there people that you think about with anger? Frustration? Regrets? Wishing they just didn’t exist?

All these things are very common. It is important to be aware of them.

But the way to deal with them is NOT to “just move on”: Finding another spot of green grass for personal escape never works, because we take our struggles with us. And we also project them into whatever situation we go to, even if it is completely unrelated, and we are unaware of it.

We have to address how we feel about these past experiences. If we cannot feel compassion for our past, then there can be no compassion in the present, or the future. And these things take time. And patience. And dedication.

But honestly, how can we really see each other if we are so distracted by our own experiences?

I think that we are more helpful when we take the time to process our own feelings.

Notice, please, that none of this has anything to do with what your political views are. It’s just about how you have a conversation.

Photo by Liana Tril',


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