Oneness, Separation and Super Bowl

It is Super Bowl Sunday here in the US. I found myself at the grocery, shopping for a few veggies to add to a delicious roast leg of lamb I am making in the Dutch oven, it is starting to smell divine…
There were so many people at the store, carts and baskets full of cheap processed game day goodies. The bakery tables overflowing with stacks of commercial grade cupcakes with colored frosting. Shut up tight in plastic clamshell containers, with list of ingredients of unknown origin, unpronounceable and unfit for human consumption. People stop and look at them, shove them busily in to their carts and go on, fast, fast, fast…must get home before the big game begins.
It all makes me feel sick inside. Is this how we celebrate? By tuning into some sports match that has no real effect on our lives and shoving processed crap down our throats and those of our children? I found myself feeling more and more triggered as I wound my way through the produce. After being there for no more than 10 minutes, I was terribly glad that I only had a few things to purchase and I left feeling  anger, sorrow, and of course, judgement.
As I drove home, after eventually making it out of the parking lot, I could not help but see that my mind had hijacked me in to “us” and “them” thinking again. It happens all the time. A simple trip to the store had turned me into a churning mess of thoughts and resentment. How could they…What a terrible way to celebrate…Sports are so fucking stupid!….What an absolute waste of resources, we could be doing so much better…
And while all these statements on their own do seem on some level seem true to me, I saw so clearly that I had fallen in to the old story of separation. A story where I know better than others and they should be doing better. A story where there is a clear black and white, right or wrong, good or bad meaning to everything. This I know to be untrue, life is much more nuanced than that,  thank God.
So I pull myself back, I look for the similarities rather than the differences, I remember that judgement and resentment ALWAYS lead to suffering and that I get to choose which thoughts and beliefs are welcome here. The question I have to ask myself is; What is really going on here??
When my mind lists off all the things that are “wrong” with Super Bowl, what is the root of that emotion? What hurts? Because truly all anger comes from some unspoken, frequently unseen hurt. So what does hurt me when I react in such an inflamed and emotional way?
A sense that we could have more. We could have real celebrations of connection and community. We have been robbed of these things by the commercialization and monetization of the modern sports world. It hurts because my heart longs for a way of living where all life is celebrated. I cast judgement on the wasteful excess of Super Bowl because my heart longs to live in place where the care of all beings comes before the betterment of highly paid professional footballers and the glut of advertisers that reap the benefit of the huge amount of money made by events such as this.
The danger is that in creating this division between those that love the Super Bowl and those that find it garish and wasteful, is that I fail to see the root of desire that is shared by both parties. I fail to see the similarities and emphasize the differences.
When my heart hurts as I witness the American family gathering round a TV set to root and cheer for teams that seem so arbitrary to me, what I am really feeling is a desire for families to come together in sacred connection that is healing. What the families gathered around their TV sets today want, is I am sure quite similar. They want to come together, to be close, to have fun and to, in their way, celebrate life. If I can see that, I can find connection where there was separation and understanding where there was judgement.
This inquiry into my own reactivity is a healing path for me. I am able to see why my beliefs cause me to suffer and I am able to see what values I hold true, that I perceive to be compromised by this national day of sport worshipping. I can find acceptance without disowning my feelings.
I believe there is a better way to live and celebrate. A way that honors all beings who live on this earth. I believe that our massive overconsumption of food, television and goods is a symptom of a deeper illness, a social sickness that has set in and separates us from living in harmony with life. And I know that if we are to heal this sickness it will not be through separation, judgement or condemnation of the “other.”
This Super Bowl example is a micro of the macro. How can I contribute to the healing of the world if I can’t even get through the grocery store without hating people for their choices? Simple, I can’t. It has to start with me, home base, my life, my thoughts. I have to do the work.
I know I am not the only one who is dealing with a mind that separates “us” and “them” with alarming frequency. Our whole culture is built on this premise. In fact colonization itself is an impossibility without this belief, and we are products of colonization through and through. To change the way we live on the Earth we will have to become willing to learn a new way of being, a way that does not condemn and separate, but rather connects and supports. When we see someone as “other,” they have no choice than to be other. When we decide we are right, we leave no choice than for the “other” to be wrong. Can you see the sickness in this thinking? Can you see the suffering?
We are in times of great upheaval and strife. Political, environmental, social. These are just the tip of the quickly melting iceberg. What is to come may drive us farther apart. It is so hard to stay grounded in love when all you hold dear seems to possibly be going up in flames. I want to stay, and to urge you to stay, in the new story of connection and cooperation. I want us to remember we are more alike than we are different and to hold ourselves to a code of conduct that reflects that. I know there may be days of war ahead, I know we must stand strong and fight misogyny, racism, environmental terrorism, fascism and fear mongering. I just want us to remember that we can fight without sacrificing love. That we can grow without hating those that grow more slowly, that we can lead by example and spread truth. I believe in a better world, a more beautiful world. I believe it is possible and that it will take a lot of work and a lot of heart, It starts with me, and it starts with you. It starts with offering all that you meet a place at the table. Whoever you are, wherever you are….I offer you a place at my table. We will find what is common between us and let it grow, I will speak my truth and invite you to do the same, I will open my hard heart a little bit wider, enough to let a beam of light into my darkness. I will remember, all flourishing is mutual.

2 thoughts on “Oneness, Separation and Super Bowl

  1. Chelsea Jones says:

    Wonderful post. I have so much trouble reining in my judgemental thoughts. I’ve read studies that state we wear ruts in our neural pathways by having the same thoughts over and over. I can totally feel my ruts some days! I’ve been struggling with all of this in the context of our current political climate. I’m trying to reconcile the wonderful, loving people I know with the stances they take that feel so unkind and selfish to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mariannalouise says:

      I have heard that theory as well, it makes sense to me. My ruts are feeling deep as wagon tracks! I agree. This is a time of division and separation. Finding a way to stay strong and still love is such a challenge! Thank you for reading Chelsea!


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