The Decline of Rights: An Impact

By  Vanessa Webb | 


The word “pandemic” used to be one of those eye-popping, mouth-gaping jingles, limited to 1960’s Sci-fi thrillers and novels like 1984, or Brave New World; always stimulating delightful horrors of mass hysteria and zombies, aliens and popcorn.  But as I write this, the word “pandemic” has twisted its way through 6 o’clock news broadcasts…rarely, but as if networks are testing out the possible reality of our times.  I have a further question about “pandemic” though:  Does it need to be limited only to mass physical illness?  Are there other levels of our experience, where a pandemic could already be spreading?  My thoughts: Possibly. I am beginning to consider society’s ever broadening disinterest in “something greater than ourselves” as being a moral and psychological break in our humanity.  Not only muddling up our understanding of how to relate to others, but how to relate to, and understand, our very own selves. This, to me, is as valid as any global physical illness, stemming from green reptilian sea-monsters.  

image credit: poster-merchant.myshopify

To lose this connection within our personal nature is like cutting off our right arm.  It makes us sick with diseases like self-centeredness, elevated pride, depression, isolation, and anxiety. To lose the understanding and experience of something greater, is giving up our life force; it's giving up our passions and our dreams…including the natural emotions that make those dreams real.  We’re slowly giving up what is integral to our survival in any kind of thriving, autonomous way.  Resulting in a tragic loss of those gifts of humility, forgiveness, patience, faith and trust.  

Consider "Rights of Passage": the main ingredients here are courage and bravery, for the very reason that they require faith and trust….in what? In something greater.  The very nature of a "Right of Passage" commands our own faith and trust forward...and it’s parents and grandparents who toss the kids into these situations!  Such elders are not worried about being the child’s “buddy”; instead, they have the wisdom to know that it’s more important to teach a child how to walk through life having faith in something greater, and to have an understanding of where we fit in to the larger scheme of things, than it is to be friends with the child. When we need to be liked by our children, we’re depriving them of living life with an inner sense of themselves. Rights of Passage are marked experiences that set us up for the journey ahead, they seed that relationship with something greater.  They’re moments of endurance that cultivate courage and independence to face life's challenges. They ignite the faith that something greater is walking with us.  They teach the humility that keeps us in our rightful place.  This is the only way we understand the purpose of a challenge, and the meaning it’s trying to bring to us. This is essential…for everything.

Rights of Passage are marked vows, they're commitments to something sacred.  Without them we lose that urgency to be accountable to how we live, to be accountable to ourselves or each other. There is a great sadness in this, a devastation, which we can see in places where humans have impacted the Earth. We lose our sense of place, our sense of home, the anchoring that’s brought by comfort, and the wild innocence of wonder and awe. We rarely find things truly special because we’ve lost that intrigue of where it all came from. 

image credit: flickr

We’re at a point of needing to re-inspire ourselves. To hold ourselves up to the courage to love….to truly love….an other.  Few people know what this is.  Being courageous enough to give your heart and soul is a power that gives return in ways we can’t predict.  We have this courage to truly love when we know where we fit in to the larger scheme of things and when we know where we came from.  This awareness helps us land a solid foot on that threshold into the future, a threshold we approach each and every day.  Placing that foot there is a decision, and in that decision do we have the resources we need to step through?  We never know until we’ve done it.  So when we’re about to do it, all we can do is trust, trust that we’re not alone and that the path is much more adventurous when we surrender, when we stop toiling around in a self oriented indifference thinking that we’re at the helm.

"If we fill our lives with things and again with things, if we consider ourselves so unimportant, that we must fill every moment of our lives, with action, when will we have the time to make the long slow journey across the desert, or sit and watch the stars, or brood over the coming of a child. For each one of us there is a desert to travel, a star to discover and a being within ourselves to bring to life." Anonymous