Big Black Boot

 

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It was just a few short months ago, that my father and I sat up late drinking rum, for our terrible head colds, of course, and watching the US election results live on TV. We bemoaned the fact that Donald Trump appeared to be on track to win the Presidency, but why? The majority of Americans (as flawed as their electoral system is) had spoken and they had spoken out for Trump to be their leader.

Since then, I probably do not have to say, America has imploded. Right, left, conservative, liberal, women, LGBT, Latinos, African Americans, and plain old white people (yes, that is intended to be a joke) are all sections of society at war with each other and themselves over what it means to have this particular man in power. I could break it down into election promises, subsequent actions and future intentions of Trump, as to what has gotten everyone all hot and bothered, but that is neither here nor there. Of course, it is you say! That man wants to build a wall. He wants to break up families. He wants to deny women autonomy over their bodies. He wants to discriminate against particular ethnicities and religions. That man is a tyrant! Is he? If he is, America, then you all have a big problem because the majority of your population support this tyrant.

In fact, America is a divided society and not divided into two camps but into numerous camps. Groups of people sitting outside of their little tents with their opinions hung up as banners over the camp fire. This is not summer camp either. This is a camp filled with division, hatred, and contempt for and among its campers. I think this is all quite amazing really. I mean, I think that what is happening in America right now because of the election of Donald Trump, is fantastic. Yes, fantastic because it is, and ultimately will be about transformation.

On that night of rum and election results, my father and I debated why Trump was on track to winning. How had he convinced the majority of Americans to vote for him? Our discussion went down many paths: Vladimir Putin, Syria, migrants, Brexit, Israel and Palestine and stopped at many other places. At the end of our journey however, we came to one shared conclusion: that the election of Trump, as well as all of these other things, had to do with the inner workings of people. Humans were really unhappy campers ready to take a stick, poke it into their fires and use it to burn down their enemies’ tents. They were ready to raze the whole beauty spot to the ground, just to gain it for themselves.

There is a statue in Bodrum, Turkey. It is of Atatürk, the founding father of the county. He sits astride a horse with an olive branch in his hand. There is an inscription on the base of the statue which reads, translated: Peace at home, peace in the world. My father and I went further than Atatürk (although I suspect that his words shared this deeper meaning_: Peace in men’s hearts, peace in the world. America is discovering that there is war in their hearts and thus, war in their country, but again, this is a good thing. It is a good thing because from all of this division will come metamorphous. If its society does not transform into something other than what it is right now, then it will remain in a terrible, unlivable state forever.

A society is made up of its members, and humans only change if forced. I find that they have to be down on the ground with a big, black boot on the side of their face, crushing their cheek into the ground, twisting their neck, stopping their movement, restricting their breathing. They cannot rise and flee. They cannot move or breath. They are trapped. What can they do? The only thing that is open to all of us, at all of the time, but which we resist like death itself, transform. The only way you are going to get free of the big black boot is to transform into a slippery, serpent and slide away. The problem is that most people do not trust that they can actually do this.

I find it comical that the so called, self help movement is worth 11 billion USD as per Forbes magazine. This movement started in the US and one could argue, its citizens are its biggest consumers. They are also some of its biggest icons. For instance, Tony Robbins. This is a man by whose own admission, was a total loser until one day he  woke up and decided to transform himself. He managed that and then decided to teach others how to do it themselves. People can scoff at his persona and message but the proof is in the pudding, because today Tony Robbins is worth 480,000 USD. Not bad for a child who grew up in a dysfunctional, abusive home and has literally no qualifications. The one thing that I would argue Tony Robbins does have, is the belief in transformation and everyone seems to want to learn it from him. The problem is that deep down the idea of transformation scares people, so much so that they will lay on that ground until they pass out or keep forking out for new and improved self-help techniques to the tune of 11 billion USD.

I recently came across a technique called Transformational Breathing. Now I am not going to get into a debate about the existence of God, Angels, Devils; the power of wheatgrass shots, colonics, or sprouted alfalfa; if The Secret really is a secret at all and if it actually works.  I am only going to say that I have recently started on a transformation process through this technique. Why or how it works, I do not know or care. I only care that it is one of the most effective processes that I have ever encountered. It works for me, and trust me, I know because for some reason far from being scared of transformation I am scared witless of stagnation.

I have been on a transformational kick for years. I have tried everything. You name it, I have tried it and you know what? It all worked when I was practicing it, but over three years ago when I had my daughter, motherhood was so much of a transformation that I forgot about any other part of my being that might have needed to shed its skin. Instead, I got to the business of raising my daughter and being the best mother I could be. In the past few months, however, I haven’t really been the best mother at anything, (unless you include making Barbie cloths).  I have been so weighed down by old emotional and mental baggage that I wasn’t able to effectively carry that 40 pound bundle of bliss around anymore.

A few weeks ago, almost as a manifestation of my stagnation, I pulled a muscle under my rib cage. I had been sick with this virus that is going around, and was so alarmed I went to the doctor, thinking that I had developed pleurisy. Frankly, I wish it had been pleurisy because it probably would have taken less time to heal. As it was, it was an injury that made it impossible to do anything. I couldn’t even bend over without crying. The doctor gave me some heavy medication which I reluctantly took, and am now better, but to be honest the whole incident enraged me. I got angry that I was so incapacitated that I literally couldn’t pick up my daughter. I got angry because I felt alone and unsupported. I got angry because I had no idea how I had injured myself in the first place, and thought it unfair that there was an unknown action lying in wait for me to again rip a muscle off of my rib cage – off of my armour.

See, the ribcage, is the body’s armour. Without it we all would have been dead a long time ago and I had done something to mine. I had pierced it and now I couldn’t move, act or breath. I had to put down my weapons, go to bed and wait until it healed. I had to let it transform into a better state so that I could get on with living.

This is what is happening in America and all of our lives and we can choose to burn down our house or redecorate it. Donald Trump, by getting elected President has pierced America’s armour. He showed the people that they are racist, bigoted, small minded and hateful and not just those people who voted for him but those people who voted against him. Everyone is walking around saying that their way is the right way, but I know of no right way that includes hating your fellow man, even if he is burning down your tent. This is therefore, not the time for hatred but for transformation. Personal transformation. Going back to the conclusion reached by my father and myself, if each person does not choose to walk a higher road then we are all left scrambling in the dirt. You cannot call a society healed if there are a bunch of sick people walking around in it.

It is unfortunate that things need to get this bad before we are compelled to act. It is sad that we have to get so angry and pathetic before we seek change. I admit that this is sometimes true for me too. Happily, I am back on my journey of healing. I am redecorating my house with the help of transformational breathing. My big black boot was a pulled muscle and America’s big black boot is Donald Trump. Their presence in our lives serves the same purpose: to force us to change. I have no idea who said adapt or die, but they were right. You can choose to stay under the big black boot or your can transform into that slippery serpent and slide away. I know what I chose.

 

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