Like many of you, I’ve been watching the tragic events that have unfolded in Louisiana, Minnesota, Dallas and around the world, and my initial impulse is to feel helpless and hopeless. In times like these, we want change and we want it now. We want leaders and people with voices to do something.
Sadly, we’ve also seen these moments come and go. A tragedy takes place and it saturates the news (who often exploit it for ratings). Basically, there’s a swell of interest and outrage but often nothing happens. Then it quickly dies down, and it’s back to the same problems and lack of solutions. It’s soul-crushing.
So what do we do? Well, I certainly don’t have the answers, but a few thoughts come to mind and I’m going to challenge myself to share them. Now, I know some of you may not give two craps what I think, and I completely respect that. You want healthy recipes and wellness tips. You want to feel uplifted and you gravitate to me for that.
So this is a risk, and I ask you to respect that it’s not easy to put yourself out there, even for me. Therefore, if I offend you, I’m sorry. But if I make you think, I’m not. It’s because I love our world that I’m taking the time to write this. And as always, I welcome your thoughtful comments because my readers are brilliant.
First, each and every one of us has a voice. And each and every one of us has work to do. If we have anger in our hearts, it’s time to look at it and heal it. If we have judgement in our hearts, it’s time to look at it and heal it. If we have prejudice in our hearts, it’s time to look at it and heal it. If we think we’re better or less than someone else, it’s time to shift that thinking. And if we think we have all the answers, think again.
Rest assured, I’m putting myself through the same paces. I’m also asking myself questions like: What fears do I need to face? And what actions do I need to take to help transform myself and my community? One that comes to mind is to vote—at both the national and local level. Folks worked very hard for our right to have our voices heard. Make sure to exercise that right.
I invite you to seriously examine these ideas and questions. And I’m sure you’ve got a list of your own. Because while prayers and condolences are spiritually essential, they’re not enough. I’m tired of just praying (though I won’t stop). And I’m really tired of how polarizing honest and necessary conversations have become.
This is truly hard for me to admit, but for the first time in my life I find myself writing people off because of their political and social beliefs. I silently say to myself, “Oh, you think that way? Well, you’re wrong, I’m right, and we’re done.” That’s the last thing I should ever say to myself. Those thoughts are the seeds that sow isolation, separateness and strife. Clearly, I have more work to do on myself.
We find ourselves in extremely divisive times and you and I are being called to put our best selves forward. It’s going to take an entire societal shift to raise our consciousness, heal our past and strengthen our future—a future in which unity is a sacred value. But if we want that unity, we’ve got to address some major issues blocking our path to freedom.
We need to talk about and take action on racism. It’s real. And while I never use cancer as a metaphor (because I live it), racism is our nation’s cancer, and it’s destroying people.
We need to talk about and take action on sexism. Women are not property or second class citizens to control, exploit or manipulate. If we wouldn’t treat a man a certain way, we best not treat a woman that way either.
We need to talk about and take action on bigotry—to see past labels of every kind and into the soul of each person. Love is love, and we sure need more of it in the world.
We need to talk about and take action on violence. By any sane standard, we’ve got a problem. Yet working toward solutions has become impossible because all sides of the argument are so deeply entrenched. Isn’t it time we have the courage to tackle complex issues in a holistic way? When any of our dear sisters and brothers are hurting, we’re all hurting. How many more people must die before we do something? Even if doing something means compromise.
Lastly, the energy we bring to this world matters. And when I refer to this world, I include online comments because we are either contributing to the healing and harmony of the planet or we’re stoking the fires of violence and oppression. Don’t be a troll. Let’s voice our opinions in a way that make people think, rather than spewing bile and hiding behind Facebook. What we say and how we say it matters. And if you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face, don’t say it at all. This isn’t about political correctness, it’s about human decency.
Also, by no means is this the full list of what our society is facing, these are just the topics on my mind as I sit here and try to make sense of recent events.
So, while we’re waiting for politicians, celebrities, activists and organizers to do something, let’s also remember our role. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. Be good and respectful to yourself and others during these trying times. Reflect on your own thoughts, actions and blind spots, and I will do the same.