Conspiracy vs Fuckup - thank you Dad

My amazing father, whose memory now darts in and out of the conversations like a hummingbird, had a saying when he worked for the Federal Government. He spent his career after law school nudging the tail of the elephant to do good as a bureaucrat in the Executive Branch. One of his colleagues shared his saying with my sister and me when we became old enough, namely:

“Given a choice between a conspiracy and a fuckup, always choose a fuckup.”

When I first heard that phrase, years ago, I felt a frisson of glee that my father would use such language at work. I felt proud that my father used the word choice, when I know so much the importance of choice in seeing the world. I did not grok until recently the incredibly astute wisdom and power of the phrase.

Let us unpack this statement… and let us start with “a conspiracy” - such a buzzword these days. The conspiracy of the opioid epidemic, the conspiracy of the secret illuminati cabal running the world, the conspiracy of the immigrants stealing our jobs, the conspiracy of us vs them, of danger coming from somewhere with guns and knives that will snatch us from our beds in the night. A hallmark of a conspiracy is that you are powerless, you are the victim, you are afraid of an unknown, you will be harmed by the evil perpetrators and the perpetrators MUST BE STOPPED.

Even writing that paragraph makes me feel ill to my stomach. Conspiracy is the nauseating feeling of helpless and victimization that makes you want to lash out - to fight - to run - to hide - to protect yourself at any cost (by building a border wall, for example.) That feeling in my stomach, that energy of hate and fear, justifies to those in the thrall of such a feeling evil acts. Conspiracies vindicate evil acts. Heinous acts are suddenly okay because you are protecting yourself from some unknown terror.*

So that is a conspiracy - a huge energetic ball of terribleness. It is a vortex of fear, hatred, rage, and madness that feeds upon itself and when you respond with energy that passion makes the mad maelstrom multiply. What a mess.

A fuckup has very different energy. Even saying that word aloud is fun (try it - it rhymes with hiccup). Fuckups happen when people are unconscious and not aware of intended or unintended consequences. Fuckups happen when mistakes are made - at times big mistakes by a whole bunch of people moving together unconsciously or out of fear (the same thing ultimately). Fuckups happen when you move too fast and don’t think (which happens to me all the time). Fuckups happen when you don’t listen to your belly telling you to stop - or to your companions telling you to slow down - or to the earth telling you to pause. Fuckups happen when you move fast and fall into a big pond not knowing where the ripples will spread.

Let’s use this phrase on the opioid crisis, a ripe one. Recently, the founder of Insys Therapeutics has been found guilty of a racketeering conspiracy with some of his colleagues. “Kapoor, 76, was found guilty of running a wide-ranging scheme to bribe doctors nationwide by retaining them to act as speakers at sham events at restaurants ostensibly meant to educate clinicians about its fentanyl spray, Subsys. Prosecutors said Kapoor also directed efforts to defraud insurers who were reluctant to pay for Subsys.”

So, here you are, a sales rep in a pharmaceutical company. You just bought your first house and your wife is pregnant. In order to meet your requirements for your salary you are told by your boss that you need to increase your sales of Subsys by 12% by the end of the year. So you call a pharmacy and pretend to be a doctor to get around some of those silly prior authorization requirements for pain medicine. Remember when you broke your leg and your mom thought it was just a sprain and all you wanted was some really good pain medicine? Wouldn’t it be nice to go on a babymoon before your wife gives birth? On and on and on… the tripping into the pond when suddenly you are swimming in the new pond because everyone else is doing it and wow that was a great bonus and who care about ripples as long as they don’t effect my family…

As A Course in Miracles told me yesterday (lesson 352):

Judgement and love are opposites. From one Come all the sorrows of the world. But from The other comes the peace of God Himself.

Forgiveness looks on sinlessness alone, and judges not. Through this I come to You. Judgment will bind my eyes and make me blind. 

Making a judgement about a fuckup feels too strong - because a fuckup is just a mistake, it is just an overshot, a misstep, a trip, a stumble. We have all stumbled. We have all misstepped. Using the word fuckup is a soft kind way of reminding yourself not to judge, not to condemn… and peace comes from that choice.

Here is the part when I dork out because all of the fingers are pointing to the same moon. Just as ACIM says judgements make you blind - they also are the energy that feeds the miasma and helps it grow according to Rob Wergin’s latest call series entitled Overwhelm (which I highly recommend). Rob teachers teach that the key when faced with the energy of overwhelm or conspiracy is to recognize the energetic whirlwind of fear, lack, rage, etc and then not feed it. The key for now and in the future as more overwhelm, more conspiracies, and more fear create miasmas of energy is to see those miasmas clearly for what they are - an energetic construct that we can either feed or not. We need to either be neutral about what is happening or to send love to what is happening because sending anger, fear, victimization, distrust only makes the miasma grow. (that does not mean you cannot be morally outraged.)

This feels counterintuitive because your knee jerk reaction when faced with a scary miasma is to put up a wall of energy and freak out (judge it)- but that is not going to serve us. I truly believe that the nervous breakdown that we are witnessing in our world, among so many people, in our own neighborhoods, and in our own lives - is, as Rob Wergin says, “an accelerant for spiritual growth.” The choice is becoming so clear of whether we continue to feed the inherited energies of hatred, fear, and anger with such or if we can look at what is happening, help if we can, and either be neutral energetically or send the situation love.

Once again, we are back to Truth is Truth. Think of all of the phrases that you know that talk about this. Two wrongs don’t make a right. Turn the other cheek. Let him who is without sin cast the first stone. Do onto others as you would have them do onto you. Now you have a new one.

“Given a choice between a conspiracy and a fuckup, always choose a fuckup.”

Thank you Dad.

*I am going to stop for a minute and cry as my heart wails for the children and mommas separated at the border by our government. Read this if you want to learn more about how to help them.