WITH THE RELEASE OF the first annual Starfield Press WORLDSTORY 2013 Treasury—a various author compilation sharing the experiences of growth and change 2013 brought others all around the planet—I decided to go ahead and share my chapter contribution from this project here as well.
It takes a lot of reflection, introspection, and meditation to review and recap the major lessons and themes of a year… And it takes even more bravery for one to open and share very vulnerable places and emotions within themselves. I’m very proud of all who exposed themselves for this project, and encourage everyone to read the stories they have shared, taking what applies to you to reflect on and process your own experiences and change…
• — • — • — •
Lloyd Matthew Thompson
IT WAS IN THE year of two thousand thirteen that darkness touched me, firsthand.
It was then I realized just how deep a darkness people are capable of.
Before 2013, sure, I saw how awful this place could be, how downright horrible and devastating. But even then, they were really just stories; I still held the highest faith in people. I stubbornly insisted that people were inherently good; that above all, people would always choose the best for everyone involved—Grinches with bejeweled hearts secreted away.
I probably even imagined them taking out those precious hearts, and enjoying them behind the safety of closed doors—they just didn’t want anyone to know about it, right? Bullies are supposed to really be teddy bears, once you get to know them.
I know I trusted they would act from this space of kindness at the end of the day, when things came down to the wire.
But I had not yet been put to the personal test of experiencing such things in my own life.
What I should clearly have known—what movies and stories endlessly attempt to portray to us—is that the “bad guys” are bad guys for a reason, and will most likely remain the bad guys, defiant and insistent on it to their very end, spitting curses at the hero as their very body dissolves into a gulf of flames.
I discovered that Grinches, with all their heart-growing-at-the-end-of-the-episode, seem to be the exception, not the rule.
But that is not really the point of my story here.
It is easy to accept the fact that there will always be hateful people. It’s easy to voice that you know there will always be somebody trying to weasel anything free out of anyone they can; that there will always be those who will not bat an eyelash at harming others physically, emotionally, or spiritually, if they believe it will gain themselves something—even if those others are their own families and children.
It is also easy to read and study and fancy yourself “practicing” a higher set of standards, telling yourself you are living by them, when in reality all you’ve done is imagine them—imagine what you would do if certain situations came to your life.
When the reality of those certain situations—at times very difficult and impossible situations—hit you for real, as real, it is then that you discover exactly what your true colors are. You begin to see what you really have inside.
And I found my natural response to hatefulness was… hate.
Irrational ranting and plotting.
Where did that come from?
How did I drop so quickly to that?
Twelve years of meditation, studying, and patterning myself to make sure I was a gentle, compassionate, and unconditionally loving person were instantly overridden by an emotional, chemical, and primal nature the moment my family and myself was threatened.
It is extremely difficult to maintain the view that certain people are “simply hurting and hopeless, and just need more love shown to them” when they are stomping on your face and holding your most precious treasures hostage for the sole purposes of controlling you or getting something they want from you.
And I feel that in 2013 I truly real-ized: until one has come face to face with an experience of something, and has gone through it directly, one cannot know how one will react in a given situation. One cannot know what one is talking about. One cannot claim to be an expert at it. One may have the knowledge of and historical facts on the best and worst ways to handle a thing, but until they have been tried, tested, and burned by that thing, one simply does not know.
You see yourself in a whole new light when you reach this point. You come to the crossroads of deciding you’ve wasted your time for years and should throw it all away, since bullies and manipulators seem to always get their way without consequences anyway, or to continue believing that although the world is full of spew, every ounce of light beamed from even the most insignificant of people does make a difference, gather your resolve, and transmute the crap into fuel to spur even greater feats of strength, untouched.
So now that I know, and now that I see… which do I choose?
In sitting with the pain…
In sitting with the character I wish to embody, and have worked so diligently to become…
I strip away each, and frantically search for what rests at my core.
And I find…
All the work I’ve done for thirty-five years has been able to be done because it is who I am.
It is what I always return to, always bounce back to, no matter what, because it is what I am.
I find an incredible peace in honestly and nakedly discovering that it is no act put on for my readers, no show performed for the clients I heal, no ruse to pretend I am a good person—I truly am… this.
I choose to carry on.
Am I stronger now, thanks to 2013?
Surely I must be.
I know myself—my dark and my light—better than I ever have before, because of these experiences.
Is that then the purpose of “bad guys” in the world, these people spewing and vomiting filth on this otherwise amazing planet?
Are they here for more than the vague textbook answer of “to bring balance” and be the dark’s opposite to the light?
Do they volunteer and choose to come be nasties here, so that those truly aspiring toward higher realms will have catapults for their ascensions?
If this is so, it would mean that the “hatefuls” are the most benevolent Bodhisattvas in the world—those holy beings who willingly stay behind to assist others in growing ahead.
Now isn’t that a trip to consider…