Constructive non-violence

Dear President Trump,

So what to do besides send money to liberal candidates and tilt at windmills with these daily letters? I honestly don’t know at this point, but as lame as it’s probably going to sound, I decided this morning that rather than closing my morning lovingkindness walking meditation with “May our lives unfold, open, and intersect peacefully” that I’m going to switch to “May our lives unfold, open, and intersect non-violently and constructively.” I’m including non-violence because I strongly believe that the means of effecting change must not undermine the integrity and the solidity of the end goal so it’s still critically important to me that my change efforts be non-violent. I’m letting go of “peaceful” at this point because right now, for me, it’s conjuring pastoral passivity, like the line at the end of Compline services that goes: “we will lay us down in peace and take our rest”. It’s a lovely thought and I hope to goodness that we get back there some night soon, but that’s really not what we need right now.

When it comes to the addition of “constructively,” it’s possible I’ll end up making further adjustments if I alight on a better word, but I realized this morning that, at least for the time being, it’s not sufficient to wish that my life and the lives of my loved ones, strangers, my most difficult person (who is still you), and all beings unfold, open, and intersect non-violently. We’ve got to get some prosocial, pro-common-good oomph in there; inserting “constructively” seems like a good way to goose those intentions. It’s saying we need to get off our asses and figure out how to get in and help fix things. Well, really, since it’s my LKM prayer and I’m not deluded enough to think that it’s radiating out and affecting anyone else, it’s reminding me that I need to get off my proverbial (and actual) ass and figure out how the hell to do everything in my power to tilt the universe (yes, the whole universe) in the direction of a justice that’s undergirded by a respectful and compassionate peace.

My strong sense is that you like to think of yourself as a man (not a mere person since someone might confuse you with something other than a man) of action. Assuming this is the case, if I weren’t just a White House Contact Page gnat, you’d probably scoff very actively and say very loudly that all of the above about non-violence and being constructive is just so many words and lame intentions. But words and intentions can be really powerful and if you were honest with yourself, you’d agree since you’re actually all about words and you use them with very specific intentions – mostly having to do with misleading, gaslighting, intimidating, and fomenting animosity and hatred.

Thankfully, though, words and intentions can obviously also be used for good. Even though they have no physicality and can’t move even a grain of sand by themselves, let alone turn around a failing democracy, they can encourage and guide actions and they can prompt attitudinal shifts. So chances are, whatever I land on to do to encourage the arc of justice to hurry up and land faster will be done through my words and intentions – they’re what I’ve got.

May we use our words and intention to help people feel and be safer.
May we be willing to take risks on behalf of the common good.
May we stand firm and strong against bullies.
May our lives unfold, open, and intersect non-violently and constructively.

Tracy Simpson

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