By Heidi Darras, Mystic Dreamer Tarot
I was feeling kind of down when I posted in this reading series a couple of days ago, so I wanted to write again and balance things out a bit by sharing more perspective.
My feelings about my new job have been very complex. Yet, I am grateful for having a job. And when I think about it further, working in retail may not be ideal, but it is not a bad job. In fact, it’s a relatively easy job. Many people in the world work at far harder jobs for less money, and I am very well aware of the privileged position I am in.
Having been unemployed in these recent times, having been one of the many Americans who were laid off in this shaky economy, and then faced with a severely limited job market, I feel grateful to have work. For a long time, I wasn’t able to find ANY job.
And I know many people are still jobless, still searching. I know that there are many people who thought that higher education would lead to better career options, and have found themselves with interest laden student loans, no available work, and no way out. So many people in the world are struggling in terms of economics and money.
One of the best things about where I work is that it seems to be a microcosm of society. Because it is such a large retail store, vastly different people – young and old, rich and poor, black and white, all in between – walk through the door. My co-workers are very diverse, and come from a wide range of different ages, races, and experiences. We’re all in it together.
I find it very interesting that this grouping seems to avoid the hierarchy and clique mentality that accompanies so many communities. While there are power differentials, there is also a high degree of respect. The eighteen year old cashier has the same value as than the sixty year old cashier, without any regard to gender or race or class.
Some supervisors are in their early 20s, others are in their 50s – they have the same responsibilities, the same pay rate, and are promoted solely by their work performance. In a way, it is kind of refreshing. It gives me hope to how we engage with each other in society when all these other things are broken down and we are truly equalized.
I’ve given a lot of thought recently to cliques and some of the things that I mentioned in my last post – how some communities of people band together into an inclusive group and hold their esteem of each other high by simultaneously putting down other people and exerting power and control by manipulation, gossip, and exclusion.
What I don’t understand is why other people do not seem to care, and instead of feeling disgust – they actually are fueled by a desire to join the group. They are desperate to be IN instead of OUT, without even questioning what they are so desperate to get into.
When people attach to a group because of their need for acceptance and validation, the group becomes a representation – a warped ideal that has no basis in reality. Often, this kind of group is divisive and feeds upon conflict and drama. The entire group is built upon projection, presentation, and fantasy. Peel back the layers, and one is left looking at people who are hollow, shallow, and desperately insecure.
When we think about society, about how change can happen – it is important to recognize how we engage with others in our personal relationships. As a teacher, especially one with an early childhood concentration, I have a very strong interest and intimate knowledge about how we learn as a society. We teach our children how to learn, how to behave and how to interact in their individual lives as well as in society.
It always concerns me that what we are teaching our children in schools is not necessarily what we are teaching our children in home and in social groups. In school, children are taught that everyone is equal, that everyone has worth and value. Yet, we do not behave that way. Our very system of government is built upon a group hierarchy and the discrepancy between the “haves” and the “have-nots”.
In school, children are proactively taught that bullying is bad. Yet, children develop cliques – often implicitly encouraged by adults who model this behavior. It is unfortunate how many sports teams, dance classes, and scout troops have become a breeding ground for clique mentality under the guidance of adults who want their children to be “popular”.
I think the reason why these types of groups bother me so much is because I just feel that it isn’t necessary. It is harmful. It’s a model we have used from childhood. It’s a model that is reflected in our overall engagement with each other as human beings in so many different ways. We can do better.
There are people who do band together and create groups who accept everybody, who value and respect each other, and who do not rely on the immaturity of a “popular crowd” to sustain the dynamic of the group.
People in these communities generally also have a high degree of self-worth. They are not seeking validation or acceptance, per se – they are seeking genuine relationships. They want to expand and grow and discover. One of the best ways to do that is through positive social interaction and communication with others. In this model, the community is a positive force and can be a powerful tool for individual and collective change.
Today, I want to share three more poems – poems that focus on the light, what balances us by lighting the darkness in our lives.
Click here to read a few poems which speak to the light.