Going Forward


The world needs fewer chaos agents and rhetorical bomb-throwers. Especially now.

This was a rough week. A bad week in a year with more than its share of bad moments. Too many things have hurt me, kept me anxious, stressed me out, and otherwise unbalanced me. I’m not just a receptacle of circumstance, though; in turn, I’ve transmitted, perpetuated, and amplified pain and hostility. Going forward there are a number of things for me to address, and there is a lot to consider. I’m going to start by being quieter and working on myself. Use fewer words and take more action.

When I taught in Oklahoma I had a mentor named “Steve.” He helped me navigate my way through the department and encouraged me. I really appreciated his help. He was also ABD in a philosophy PhD, and had recently decided to change course. He was going into Peace Studies. At that point I’d considered myself a pacifist for more than fifteen years–ever since I watched on television as US forces bomb Baghdad while the sailors around me cheered. So we bonded over that, too.

One of the sources Steve referred to a lot was Marshall Rosenberg and his book Nonviolent Communication. I read snatches of it and figured at some point I’d read it–maybe even study it. A few years later I was back in Minnesota and a counselor suggested the same book, but this time it was to address how I treat myself. So I bought the book and read about half of it. I connected with some of the material and had tension with some of it.

I need to reconcile those tensions now. There are people who will need help, and ways in which I can offer help, as we transition into a Trump presidency. I need to get my center back before I can get there. I hope I don’t need too much time. I’ve broken out my copy of Nonviolent Communication again, and it’s time for me to study it. And we’ll see where I go from there.


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