Gracious Gratitude
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Gracious Gratitude

Day 435

Muscular Civility

It is true. The word “civility” has gotten woefully watered down. It’s as though the idea of being civil requires being overly obsequious and accommodating. That is so incorrect. I love how Krista Tippett pairs the word “muscular” with civility, the connotation being that being civil requires strength — a strength of conviction (one’s own) along with strength of respect (for the other person).

Growing up I recall with vivid detail my parents and their friends sitting around the table after a dinner, deep in impassioned debate — often disagreeing with fervor. In the end, sometimes minds were changed. Other times, not so much. At NO point, however, did the debates devolve into vicious personal attacks making the other person wrong, stupid or anything of the sort.

Today it not only isn’t permissible to disagree, if you DARE think about reaching across the chasm to those “others” and find yourself agreeing with them on anything or finding something they say interesting, the mob that will turn on you will be those with whom you allegedly agree.

I don’t give a shit if you are a liberal or a conservative. Really, I don’t. What you think about my position, frankly is none of my business but the truth is I don’t give a shit about that either. I hold my convictions firm. I respect your right to hold yours just as firmly. Where I draw the line is when you debase, disavow or otherwise try to disappear who I am or believe that your beliefs give you the right to dictate my life. On that, I shall push back and I shall do so with fervor.

For example — what I do with my ovaries, my uterus or any other part of my body is none of your fucking business. It sure as hell isn’t the business of any government. What you do with yours? That’s your business, not mine.

Why this topic? Tonight as I left a Vegas Golden Knights hockey game the friend with whom I was walking to the car so that I could give him a ride home, came across someone he knew. Okay so he didn’t really *know* the guy, it was some famous poker player whose name and face I know only marginally because I don’t really follow that stuff. In any case, they were talking and I wasn’t really paying attention because the next thing I know they are not talking loudly, they are yelling. Like, really yelling. Like the kind of yelling that generally leads to one person shoving or taking a swing at the other. All I could hear was something about gun control and killing babies.

I kept out of it.

We got to some escalators and some other folks who know this guy came by and broke up the heated discussion and so my friend and I made our way to my car. That’s when he said something like, “That’s the problem with those fucking liberals…”

That’s when I interrupted. I let him know that I wasn’t really interested in the conversation. He said that all he wanted to do was get an answer to his question. To which I asked, “What question?”

It went like this:

Which leader would be the leader you trust? The one who would allow you to carry firearms? Or the one who said they were going to take away your guns and your right to own them?”

I paused. I noted that it was an odd question since it was entirely hypothetical so I wasn’t sure precisely what the point was of the question. He began to rant a bit about answering questions with questions and that’s the problem with liberals, at which point I suggested that we cease any and all discussion on this because it was clear it wasn’t going to go well. He then began to say something about liberals not wanting to talk, but I said that I would love to talk, but I’d rather do it when he was sober so that we could do just that … talk. That he could talk and I could listen … really listen to him and that then he could do same and that perhaps in his current state that wasn’t the best idea.

I then forwarded him the link to a particular On Being episode — an episode that delves into this very same issue. I’ve been sharing the unedited version liberally (not in the political inclination sense but meaning in large or generous amounts). My take is that every single member of the US Congress, US Senate, all staffers (and electeds) in the White House and every state legislator should shut up, sit down and listen to this episode.

Every. Single. Fucking. One. Of. Them.

You know what? Do yourself a favor. You should listen to it too.

Another painful loss for my Vegas Golden Knights.

Me sad.

Today’s Gracious Gratitude. I am grateful for:

  • Holding steady in the face of some high octane nerve poking and bringing conversation to a grounded place
  • My dogs
  • Coming to a realization that brings great relief
  • Driving with my top down on a cool, fall night through a neighborhood thick with trees and reveling in the damp smell of freshly watered grass and burning fireplaces
  • Going to bed before 9pm
  • Peanut butter and fresh dates
  • Fridays (even when I’m working most of the weekend)
  • Sharing a deep fear and in doing so making the fear super small

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There are studies that show a simple practice of gratitude awareness can be a real game changer for productivity.

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Cathy Brooks

Cathy Brooks

Raconteur and Silicon Valley expat who’s gone to the dogs … literally. Read more here https://www.linkedin.com/public-profile/in/cathybrooks

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