Un”common sense”

Last week, in the wake of the recent mass shooting horrors, I found myself an observer in a few heightened conversations about guns, and something jumped out at me. ”It’s not politics, it’s common sense” – the same exact language – used in actual conversations on opposite sides of the polarized discourse (although frankly, I’m not sure “discourse” is the word for the supercharged emotion-fueled debates of our modern culture). While I have my own opinions, they are not related to my, or certainly Adam’s, purpose in this blog, so I’ll refrain from sharing and possibly risk isolating someone whose own might differ, who might otherwise find something meaningful when they tune in here. 

But one thing I can say, without commenting on the good or badness of either, is that no matter what you’re feeling, whatever “side” you’re on, it’s not “common sense.” … And why would this budding beginner blogger trying to build a readership say that and risk alienating all of you??? (Please stay with me 🙏) … because ‘common’ implies all, and if such was the case, we’d have fixed it after all these years. It happens in Covid discussions too. “Yes. But this isn’t politics. This is science.” Again, on both sides, always implying the discounting of the other, and, I might add, at least in the conversations I’ve witnessed, articulated by smart, well-researched, and un-hate-filled people.

I can totally understand how our observations, research, experiences, and even true wisdom can instill a feeling of the ‘no brainer-ness” of our impressions. In a less political way, I’ve lived through it as a mom. “It’s common sense…” to open the door and let the whining dog out to prevent unwanted mess on the dining room rug, to find your way to a toilet when you’re about to throw up, to pick up your towel off the floor and hang it so you don’t need a new one every day and you don’t need to blame others for your missing (now stinky) lacrosse shorts underneath, to turn off the lights when you go to bed, to call if you’re not going to be home for dinner, etc. (You can see I have a ton of sense!) … But, if my mom-sense was shared, actual “common” sense, our home would have always been a peace-filled, harmonious oasis of joy, love, and laughter, without any underlying resentment or background accompaniment of motherly heavy sighing. I would never be annoyed by towels, worried about the kid who didn’t call, frustrated cleaning up the puke or dog’s mess on the floor, or have spent so much of my marriage rolling eyes at the sense my husband neglected to share in common with me…

Family life is humbling. But there’s something I’ve learned in hindsight, as I appreciate and bask here in our improved family energy, about my righteous indignation regarding the “common sense” that was not shared universally in our home all those years. Rather than continue to try and fix things in the same old ineffective ways, nagging more, screaming louder, pushing harder, emphasizing the sigh that they didn’t seem to notice with more decibels and obvious demonstrative gestures…Instead of trying to fix the other … find the fix within me.

This week, while I was in the grocery store in a conversation with a friend, bemoaning the toxicity of the world our kids are growing up in and commenting on the delay in common sense solutions … a similar “third way,” a “hyperspace button” of sorts (this analogy will resonate if you graduated highschool in the 80’s and were a fan of the video game Asteroids) percolated as an alternative fix around these societal issues that are entrenched so deeply….

Consider my experience growing in love as a family… When a wife, mom, husband, father, child or sibling rolls their eyes, huffs in discontent, or expresses frustration about some “common sense” that’s clearly not shared, whether it’s offered “with love” or not, it’s dehumanizing, suggests a certain hopelessness of the other, absence of reason or intelligence, a “What kind of idiot would…” message. It never generates the hoped-for improved sense in the person who we have subtly named “moron,” but rather an anger, defense, a wall, isolation and entrenchment. … And, at least in my house, it never resulted in a towel on a hook or hanger. … It took me many years and much tragedy to gain the actionable awareness that I did not want bad energy to taint the love within my family that’s left… And, let’s be honest, haven’t we hit that same point about our culture in general? Are we not all tired of the appropriate overuse of the word “toxic” to describe it?

Perhaps we need to apply a similar proactive awareness and control the energy “I” bring. At least become more aware of it… What’s spinning in our head, or more importantly our hearts, as we scroll through phones reading our side of the issue and the debunking of the ‘moron’ other? What are we ingesting from our TVs playing in the background? Tucker, Rachel, or whoever – note the tone, watch the faces and disdain in expressions … What is it all doing to “me”? That tightness around my heart. The closure as I shake my head and spin into my opinions deeper … Maybe you’re even annoyed at me now, assuming my opinions are at best not strong enough, and at worst wrong, or that I’m simply naive. …

But I’m not suggesting the you change your beliefs or sit back and refrain from advocacy, I don’t intend to do either, just to be mindful of what’s going on inside and what emanates outward…. Theres not much to lose in the seconds it takes to stop and look inward, to ask a few simple questions similar to those I asked myself about my family… Is this energy within me who “I” want to be? Am “I” willing to hand over the control of my own emotions to another?

… Is this the world “we” want to share?

Could we stand more practice in living from our Heart and Universal Love?

Enjoying the blog? You’ll love Naomi’s book too. Get it at www.naomibrickel.com

One thought on “Un”common sense”

  1. Naomi, so much to think about here. The solution to it all is “to love one another”. The readings this am had to do with the temptation in the Garden of Eden. There and here, as you observed, evil is all around us. And we must choose loving one another as the only way forward.

    Liked by 1 person

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