How to Get Your Power Back in a World of Mass Shootings

Posted: December 7, 2015 in Healing from War

It’s become almost intolerable. The fear, anger, dissension, distrust running rampant on social media right now. One look at my Facebook feed and I could easily assume that all the chaos there reflects how things really are. Yet, I know that social media spreads emotions more than facts. We share post after post of fear-based warnings and strive to get people to believe what we believe, to see what we see, to agree with our perspective and yet, at the end of the day, all it does is leave us feeling that our world’s gone to hell. And hope walks out the door.

I don’t have answers for the issues of our day: gun control, terrorism, corrupt government officials. I do have political opinions; but I will keep those out of the public’s view. Why? Because adding one more opinion to the chaos won’t make one bit of difference.

Calling you back to yourself might.

Our world is made up of sheep, sheep dogs, wolves and shepherds. I am a spiritual shepherd and in my world, sheepdogs, sheep and wolves all need to be attended to. They all exist in their own right.

This weekend I was up in the mountains at a farm, standing next to a pen that held a dozen sheep. They weren’t used to strangers and when I approached the fence to gaze at them, they dashed in fear to the other side. My kids took up positions around the enclosure and the sheep, scared and without thinking,  blindly dashed in one fluid motion from one end of the pen to the other. Not one of them stopped to think for themselves. When one sheep moved, they all moved. It was a survival instinct; the assumption that the crowd must know what is safe.

This is exactly how we are behaving on Facebook. And because we follow the crowd and assume it is with the crowd that we are safe, we get inundated in fear and anger and become outraged and everything grows vaster and scarier and out of control. And hope walks out the door.

I am not going to tell you that we don’t have a problem. We do. Every generation of Americans has faced divisive problems and enemies that killed us. We are not the first; we won’t be the last. The issues that divide us are not new; corrupt governments are not new, they go all the way back to our “founding fathers” (who, by the way, were a bunch of millionaires who wanted to create a place where they could evade paying taxes to their own governments and thus amass even more wealth. So they invaded a land, murdered the inhabitants, insisted that their religion was the only way, and forced everyone to live by their new rules. The intention of creating a land of freedom was not nearly as altruistic as we’d like to believe. Do not be blind to who we have been.). No, our problems are not new. What is new is that social media has us blindly dashing from one end of the pen to the other.

I am going to remind you that reacting from the energy of fear is not how we solve problems. I am going to remind you that as long as we move from fear, we have already lost. I am going to remind you that standing still while everyone else dashes, calmly assessing the situation and the actual level of threat, and responding with courage puts us back in our power.

Most of you are sheepdogs in our country and have been wolves in others. Stop trying to make the sheep into versions of yourself. Yelling at the sheep that wolves are approaching will not make the sheep into sheepdogs, will not make the wolves more real to them, nor will it stop them from dashing blindly from one end of the pen to the other. We have a responsibility to lead with calm confidence, not to get angry at the sheep for being sheep. Wolves exist. Wolves will always exist. They always have. We’ve been wolves ourselves more often than not. So, we don’t need to be surprised or angry at the fact that wolves exist. Wolves are a part of life. Human nature does not change.

We are beings of love and power. It is who we are. The value we assign to life varies as we move from being sheep to sheepdogs to wolves to shepherds. This is how it has always been. Figuring out the best way to protect the lives we value has always been part of being human.

I’m not saying that any of this is easy or simple.

I am saying that you have to live THIS day, right here and now. Which is why I’m writing this. To call you back to your Self.

I don’t have the ability to change the situation we are all in. I believe the best and wisest course of action is for me to not allow the situation to change who I am.

I believe this is true for each of us.

I believe we need to calmly remember that fear gives the enemy more power than he actually has. Fear gives our power away. Hatred only serves to empower our enemies and makes us weak. Not that we don’t all need to have more situational awareness and make wise and perhaps different decisions than we would have in the past; but that the best way to defeat an enemy is by living as if we’re not afraid of dying.








  1. Ro says:

    I’ve been a shepherd for much of my life. I’ve been a wolf, and, I’ve been a sheep, and a sheepdog. I’m inclined to believe that we all have. For myself it’s felt most comfortable and safe in the shepard role. Yet, having been in the other roles allows me to more readily identify with others, perceived as pleasant or the opposite by my self in any given moment or not.

    Recently, I’ve been hurt deeply by persons that I acted as if trusting each after being shown that neither was trustworthy. I trusted too quickly wanting these people to be who they pretended to be, and afraid that if they were not to help me as promised, no one would! I was operating with a poverty mentality, completely forgetting that there were and are many more people, kind and trustworthy, who will enter my life as I open up to their presence as available for me.

    I got robbed. This is not the terror of mass killings, but it is fear related, all forms of fear are related. The first time this happened in the past year, my initial response was to feel deeply shaken, blaming the other for his cruelty and myself for playing the fool.

    In the more recent situation, I looked at my own beliefs, asking what in myself was allowing myself to be mistreated and stolen from? There was my childhood in which my mother taught me via terrifying stories about the people around me, all of them, giving me the message indirectly and more directly that I was not worthy of being liked, loved, respected, valued, honored, blessed, safety, security, care, nourishment of body, mind, spirit, etc.
    My father and possibly my mother also, would regularly take my teddy bears, toys, belongings, and even pets. I was taught not to believe that anyone or anything that I cared about would be present for me more than for a brief time. Subconsciously, until recently, I’ve carried those beliefs as if still relevant when they no longer have to be! This is something I have the power to change.

    How does this relate to the topic above? For me, the “mass mentality” that I followed was gen that of my family of origin and its leaders. In the military, I followed orders to a point, and risked court martial when I could not obey orders that conflicted with my sense of right and wrong, or when I couldn’t see just reason to do so. The shepherd in me was rising up. Recently, I’ve had to rediscover/uncover the shepherd in me.

    Following fear is rather like being a sheep, and a wolf, in one, perhaps(?) an overactive sheepdog too, acting in ways that are harmful to myself, feeding that & those within and around myself that would and will devour, injure, seek to kill me and the good within that I do have to offer wherever I allow those people and powers to do so; when I forget that Love has my back, that Love won’t steer me wrong, and will protect myself, that and those that I hold dear When I seek out and follow the leading of that Love.

    I’ve been exploring intimacy as a human need of my own, ironically a skill and a mode of being that I spent years teaching others to master and enjoy, teach, share simply as they live… Yet, I was living as if on the outside of the “all” which I claimed deserved and were/would ever be worthy of the gifts of true intimacy, feeling that I could not be “one of them,” destined to live without the gifts I helped others to find and embrace, at least deep inside where I felt the most vulnerable.

    I’ve been living in survival mode, as if living fear is normal: For myself, it has been. I got very deeply used to it in and beyond the first 22 years of my life feeling dominated by the lies of my mother and father, and taking their fear with me when I left their presence. And as much as I Really don’t like admitting this, I felt a great amount of fear in combat and other situations in the service of my Country: It has been showing up in the form of flashbacks. Aren’t these the ways of terrorism? People take on the fears of those viewed as leaders, and carry those fears, committed to keeping them alive, proving the perceived need to continue carrying those fears, to act and speak out of them, denying ourselves and others of the Love at & within our hearts and those among us present always waiting to be found? Doesn’t it push my own chances to experience Love and. Intimacy in my life away? I’d have to answer yes, for myself.

    I don’t want to live in terror anymore, allowing fear to conquer my life. I don’t want it to conquer yours. Yes, I do need to change and rearrange some of my own core beliefs to let Love Lead, to be more accepting of what seems to be a life long calling to be a shepherd, while acknowledging the sheep, the wolf, and the sheepdog in me. I’m human, so I’ll always have these parts of who I am, we all will. Which will we embrace most?

    Given that we do all seem to have shepherd, sheep, wolf, and sheepdog within, awareness of this can help us to consciously choose to seek to understand those various roles in others, as well ss our selves, praying for those we fear, asking the Power of Love to reach these people and things in ways we seem unable to ourselves alone. It may seem counter intuitive. I’d counter that by saying that its most likely counter intellectual, running counter to our compartmentalized minds more than our open-minded intuitive selves. It’s not completely counter intellectual but running counter/ running away from(?) our open intellectual natures, those facets of self that remain open to new perspectives and possibilities in scientific, social, spiritual, spheres, not at all mutually exclusive, but absolutely intertwined and including every part of our souls and selves as individuals and groups, those seen as “separate,” “different,” “other,” keeping us feeling alone and afraid, an easier prey to terrorism, victimization, terrorization, even terrorizing. Some things to think about.

    We need each other in this life. And, like it or not, comfortable with it or not , it does seem to me that what those who blindly claim to hate us, &/or vice versa, need love and compassion more than anything else in life to have the chance to change perspectives, attitudes, values, words, feelings, actions to those more life affirming generally. None of us are alone in this. None, not one. Both the problems and the solutions exist in our hearts, minds, lives. When aware of which part(s) (shepherd, sheepdog, sheep, wolf) is dominant in us in any given instance, we become more able to choose whether or not we want to stay in that role, whether a change would benefit us, who might help us to change, heal and how… Some thoughts, shared with hope and love.

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