Blasting Zones

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I had never been in a blasting zone before, nor had I even heard of them. But on a recent road trip through six states, I traveled through five blasting zones that were strikingly marked with orange warning signs.

The blasting zones are created to clear grass, trees, hills, and other earthly formations to make room for highway expansions. It is the process of permanently removing lush, lovely goodness to promote, in theory, movement, speed, and economic progress.

Similarly, we often blast away parts of ourselves to move forward in our lives. We suppress our feelings, we settle for less than we deserve, we overlook our values, and we try to transform our personalities. These little blasts, while not permanent like those by the roadside, cause long-lasting damage. While it might seem like we are removing roadblocks, we are actually creating superficial limits on who we are and our potential for fulfillment in all of its forms.

Intentionally letting go of feelings, activities, habits, rituals, thoughts, and things that no longer serve us or reflect our true nature can be a healthy practice. In order to grow, we need to make room. But when we remove, diminish, or hide our inner and outer beauty, we are instead creating a gap that will continue to suck out all of the love in our lives. Rather than discovering fulfillment, we will find ourselves empty and unsettled. Changed, but not for the better.

It is not always easy or simple to discern what should or should not remain a part of our lives. Whether or not we choose to remove the right things, the gentle process of letting go is far more forgiving and loving than that of blasting away with anger, frustration, or desperation. When we let go of things, they may float back to us — and we can then decide whether or not to welcome them back into our lives or to continue releasing our grip. When we blast away, the process of reintegration, should we choose this route, is far more difficult.

Letters to a Young Activist: Anger

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We live in a world full of injustice and despair. I suspect that, at least in part, your anger has led you to conceptualize and co-create a different kind of world, one in which all people are valued and have opportunities to flourish.

Anger is indeed a useful, but sometimes deceptive, emotion. It can create awareness, provoke creative thought, and lead to transformation — but it can also destroy all that might be good in this world. While anger is a useful provocateur, it is usually short-sighted when employed as a tactic. Deep, lasting change can only emerge when hearts and minds are enlightened and united in a spirit of growth and universal harmony.

I ask you not to extinguish or ignore your anger, but to nurture it. Feed it with the bountiful blossoms of hope and love. Allow it to transform into something graceful, something that will inspire the creation of a better world. Do not let your anger overwhelm your good intentions, and share only the most beautiful parts of yourself with others so that they may see what is possible.