Sellouts: Hippie Flower Children & The Establishment
Often I ask myself, where have all the flower children gone? Where are the young men and women who fought for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? Where are the people who burned flags, bras and draft cards; who marched on college campuses and on Washington DC so their voices could be heard? I find it hard to believe the thoughts and values they fought so valiantly for have disappeared and are only a fond memory of a golden age gone by. Have they sold out to the government and the powers that be?
Growing up, as a child of the 60’s, peace, love and harmony were the words being chanted by the hippies, flower children and all who questioned authority and were against the Vietnam War. I remember thinking how I couldn’t wait to grow up. I knew in my young mind it was only a matter of time before these youthful rebels would age and mature and eventually be able to take their place in the world of politics and public opinion. With it, they would be able to change all the things they saw wrong with the “establishment” from a place of power and influence and not from the streets.
I recall my excitement, thinking what a wonderful world it will be, knowing that these brave crusaders were blazing a trail before me, their radical new views and opinions becoming a reality. And at that young age, I recognized I would be the first generation to reap the benefits of their efforts. I felt blessed to be born in such a historic time.
Wow, was I wrong.
Often I ask myself, where have all the flower children gone? Where are the young men and women who fought for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? Where are the people who burned flags, bras and draft cards; who marched on college campuses and on Washington DC so their voices could be heard? I find it hard to believe the thoughts and values they fought so valiantly for have disappeared and are only a fond memory of a golden age gone by.
This point has become painfully obvious in recent days. As I work with clients and talk with friends I hear the sound of hopelessness in their voices. They watch as gas and food prices soar. They gaze in disbelief as senseless violence escalates. They stand by helplessly as their jobs are moved overseas and their personal freedoms are taken away one-by-one. In the end, they are left feeling impotent because they are unable to control the path their lives are taking and feel powerless to change it.
It’s interesting, because on an individual basis, all we want is to be happy, healthy and live our lives in integrity. We want to know that we will have a job to go to on Monday. We want to be able to feed our children, breath the air around us, drink the water and step outside our homes. Instead, we have become increasingly alienated by the harsh reality of our world, a reality, which creates conflicts between how things are and how we would like them to be. Thus, we end up feeling dissatisfied and give up all hope of a better, simpler life.
Hopelessness is a hard emotion to experience; one we have all embraced at some point in our lives. It seems to happen just before we hit rock bottom, when we cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel or when life seems futile and we just want to give up. It is a natural part of the human condition.
Over the last six months, the feeling of hopelessness has become overwhelming for many of us. Every time we turn around there is a crisis. Someone we love dies, we loose our job or our child falls ill. After the situation we are facing is handled, it is not long before another challenge steps into our lives and once more the drama begins anew. With this unrelenting pressure, we are left feeling tired and disillusioned – transforming the most optimistic person into a pessimist.
Today, the pressures being experienced are not only coming from our personal lives but also from a much larger community – the world of big business and the political arena. As we watch what is going on in the world we may think “What can I do to change or affect what is going on?” Unfortunately, in our state of hopelessness, the answer we receive is “nothing”.
Because we believe our lone voice will never be heard, we end up conceding to the futility of fighting the establishment. And in our sea of inner disquiet we realize that we are being coerced into accepting a system which does not support us and the greater good of society. It is from this perspective that we surrender our power and feel we are unable to bring about change.
It is said, that it is always the darkest before the dawn. For many of us, the truth is we cannot even see the light at the end of the tunnel. We are living in the midst of darkness, hoping and praying for even the faintest glimmer of light to emerge. And so while this period in human history may not be fun, there are many blessings that will come from it.
The good news is hopelessness causes us to go within. It forces us to reflect and evaluate our lives. It provides us the opportunity to uncover steps necessary to alter our life course. As a result, we find a strength which helps to build our inner resolve and restore our faith.
We also have to realize that we are not alone. There are countless millions who are feeling trapped, hopeless and at the end of their rope. What the “Powers-That-Be” don’t realize is that it is only a matter of time before they push us far enough into a corner that we will have no choice but to take a stand. When that happens, it won’t matter what they say or want us to do. When we determine enough is enough the strength of our unity as a whole will make a difference and a change will begin on all levels.
So for all of us, the sick, the tired, the forlorn, remember…It’s just a matter of time. Things cannot keep going the way they are. Change is inevitable. So, whether today, tomorrow or next year, we must let the light shine into our darkened tunnels to lift the veil of hopelessness and despair. With this newfound sense of hope, we will be able to walk peacefully through the darkest of night. We will find through our renewed courage, fortitude and sense of self that we will be able to create a world of change.
Maybe it is time to bring back the flower children.