And THAT changes everything

Phobia doesn’t begin with f.  Fear begins with f.

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I am not sure – other than the spelling – that there’s much difference.  Other than this –

If I fear I can become the victim – not the aggressor – not really.  But if you are “phobic” – then you are the aggressor and cannot be the victim.  But neither change the world for the better.

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Over the weekend I was plonking a great big carbon-footprint on this globe by spending a (short) long-weekend in Turkey.   A planned-spontaneous-visit.  Coinciding very-low-airfares with the chance to spend a short time with our Turkish brother and his family.  His family speak almost no English.  I speak only a few words of Turkish.

Sitting with his family has always been a challenge.

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But something changed.  Back in March we had a BBQ Turkish style, written of here: Riches of Faith, and the something that changed evidenced itself this weekend.

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I changed.

We were at his extended family home, and I had been “left” while he got changed.  My Turkish-brother was off to the shops with his wife, and as he came back all-dressed-and-smelling-lovely, he “collected” me as they passed.

>>> I am “left” with his non-English speaking extended family only for short periods.  But I am “collected” when it is a longer period.  My discomfort levels being the reason.

This time I smiled and waved him on his way, “Have a shopping trip with your wife – hold hands – have fun – I am okay here.”  He needed reassurance that I meant it.  And I did mean it.  The something that had changed was me being happy to be me with his family – happy to not communicate in words – happy to communicate in smiles, gestures, body language … happy to be happy amongst his family and happy that they were happy too.

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Discomfort is infectious.  My discomfort makes you uncomfortable.  Awkward.  On edge.  Not relaxed.  You have to be aware of me.  You have to notice me.  You have to change because of me.

Just not in a good way.

Whereas “comfort” costs nothing.  I can be amongst you without it costing you anything.  I can be amongst you as a contented “me”.  And that simple difference is taken often as kindness.

And kindness needs no words.

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I look around at the manipulation of “fear” – the increasing weaponising of “phobic” – the walls being built higher and higher – verbally and in bricks and mortar.  I see the growing absence of comfort with anyone who does not agree with “me”.  I hear the toxic erosion of anything “bigger than all of us” – anything that connects us beyond our comfort zones.

And I do not fear.  I have no phobias.

Because the longer I live the more I see moments of kindness without words and with words.  The more I see moments where we are more alike than different.  And the more I see the real power of love over hatred and malice.  And the best bit … ?

I get to choose!

I get to choose kindness or anger.  To choose in every moment.  I get to choose!  And no political big-wig can make me choose differently – unless I allow.  No religious big-wig can do that either – unless I allow.   And the longer I live the more I think that any “big-wig” who teaches intolerance, who teaches exclusivity, who teaches that I must make my mind up, must choose between them and no them, who teaches study, teaches the right way and wrong way, who teaches that I must become someone I am not, must become them and not me …

I do not have to allow.  I can choose.  And, more and more, that becomes simple.

I can be me.  Or I can be who I think you think I should be.

And the second option is very disconnecting.

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Seven words that demand I become who you say i should become.

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I have changed.  Words are not always the answer.  Being kind is.  Love without condition is.  My allowing what I know deep-down I should allow – that is.

But that takes me being happy with me.  Because only then – if I allow – can I be happy with you.  And only then – if you allow – can you be happy with me as well.

And that is connecting.

And THAT changes everything.

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