Today an old legend came to mind. While its origin is murky, the story is relevant:
An old man is talking with his grandson and says there are two wolves inside us which are always at war with each other. One of them is a good wolf filled with kindness, courage and love. The other is a bad wolf, filled with hatred, anger and fear.
The grandson asks “Which wolf wins?”
The old man answers, “The one you feed.”
The story comes to mind in the context of Love Not Fear, because the very premise of this movement rests on the wisdom in the story. If you feed fear, fear will win. If you feed love, love will win. Here are three paths Love Not Fear will take to feed love, not fear.
Social Media. “Feed,” of course, carries a new meaning in the social media age, as we talk about our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds. Just as we control which wolf we feed, we have the power to control what our social media “feeds” us. A project I hope Love Not Fear can complete in 2018 is bringing tools to our page that help social media users better shape their Facebook feeds, so that they in turn will be fed by them with love, not fear.
Real life gatherings. In The Economist‘s 2018 look-ahead, Bill Ridgers makes a point about social media that points to its limits to help us feed love and not fear:
Stress seems to have been exacerbated by social media. Those without social-media accounts worry less about the political future than those with one, according to the APA. Two out of five American adults say that political discussions on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have produced anxiety. According to John Cacioppo, a loneliness expert at the University of Chicago, social media work well for those who already have an abundance of friends and family to interact with. Indeed, for such people, Facebook and the rest are likely to add to their happiness. But they have the opposite effect on the lonely. For them, these are merely a way to watch other people socialising, which entrenches isolation.
So Love Not Fear will continue to look for ways to gather people in real life ways that help build true connections to reduce fear.
Encountering others. When Creative Loafing Tampa Bay asked people for their 2018 wishes, I was stunned to see this:
Jacqui May, Grand Central District Association: To personally and professionally, support, represent, and wherever possible, elevate those who have not yet found their voice. We need to keep the dialogue going so many topics, in particular notions of “the other;” we need to identify where those ideas emerge from, why they are problematic, and how individuals and communities can be agents of change to end hatred and violence born out of a lack of awareness and understanding. I am proud to be involved with groups centering on notions of diversity, including the emerging Love not Fear movement, based here in Tampa Bay which focuses on changing cultural perceptions about those different than themselves and to build a community. Maybe I’m naive, but I can’t help but hope the world will be a less scary place if we accept that we’re all in it together and look at what we as silly humans have in common vs. focusing on “the other.” lovenotfearmovement.wordpress.com
Last year, Love Not Fear participated in an interfaith encounter at the Florida Holocaust Museum called “Love Lives Here: No Place for Hate,” and in the process developed a playbook that can be used in other communities and on other intersections of “others.” While that was a big event that we may try to replicate, we’ll also be working on models for smaller events like “diversity dinners” to create healthy environments to get to know people you might otherwise have thought of as “different” or “other.” We’re also looking to showcase ideas for other bringing people together to see our common humanity while learning from what makes us each unique.
This is, you might say, open source. Love Not Fear hopes to be a platform to launch the ideas of anyone willing to work on these issues. Let us know what you want to do together!