As a community, we have endured so much in 2020. I have been using this year to do a lot of introspective thinking. I do believe that all events, even negative ones, have a lesson to teach us. Some lessons continue to pop up even after we think we have learned them. In this case, I am not sure what the lesson is, but I think I may have found one of the answers. Or at least a partial answer.
I'm sure by now you have heard about the protests due to the continued use of excessive force and killing of African-Americans by the police. This is also about the way some members of our society use their privilege to purposely harm those who would dare step out of their place. This is not new but it has been denied for a long time. Thanks to technology and social media, it is now being put in the face of the rest of the country.
I have had to step a little deeper into my thoughts this time. And to be honest, I'm not ok.
As much as I have tried to work through this in my mind, I just can't.
I am angry.
I am beyond angry.
Angry at a world where people feel so entitled that they have no care whatsoever for the life of another human being. There is never a good reason, never a sane moment in hatred.
But this isn't hatred, not all of it. Some of it is and we cannot ignore that fact. But the brunt of my anger is toward the people who know they have the upper hand and use it to purposely hurt someone else. Hurt someone who they believe is inferior to them, hurt someone just because they have a different belief, or look a certain way. Hurt someone because they are in a position of power and their actions will not have consequences.
Our systems of belief need a change. Our way of living needs a change. Our way of being needs a change.
When you cannot see someone, who is different, as another human being, it's time to stop and re-evaluate who you are.
YES, I SAID IT!
And when you can watch so much inequity and injustice, and just be glad that it's not happening to you, it's time to re-evaluate who you are and what you stand for.
Don't get me wrong, each one of us has a right to take the time we need to understand and feel our emotions. That is what I have been doing. Honestly, I'm still trying to figure out how I'm going to contribute to the improvement of the situation and our institutions.
When people in power continuously use that power to hurt certain groups of people, those people will get pissed off. And then to be told that they shouldn't be pissed off, shouldn't be angry, shouldn't use their constitutional right to protest, shouldn't do or say anything against the very people who have hurt them.
Imagine how you would feel.
Really sit back and think about how you would feel.
To know that a group that you belong to has been targetted and you are expected to sit down and shut up every time something happens. It is absolutely fucking infuriating!
But it is also a critical pivot point in our lives. It is right now that we can make the decision to continue to do what we have always done, which is to get mad, make a few social media posts (for those who do), and then move on with our lives.
Or we can honestly ask "How can I change my actions to make this country better?" "What is in my sphere of control?" "What can I do today to get started?"
While I don't know how I can change our systems, or if I can. I know that I can do something.
I do believe in the power of meditation and mindfulness. I do believe that compassion is needed right now. And I believe that we, as a whole, need it for ourselves as well as offering it to others.
It is with this in mind that I have decided to lead a 2 week (14-day) FB pop-up group, Compassion and Action. In this group, we will learn about unconscious bias, how it impacts the way we relate to others, and actions to challenge our biases. Change cannot come without awareness. I will also share a guided meditation to increase compassion.
Just for a moment, imagine the difference it would make if just 10% of the population increased their level of compassion and awareness. Now imagine that each person shared their experience with 2 people, who try it and then share it with 2 more people. The effects of this simple practice could be incredible.
There is no cost for joining Compassion and Action. However, I do ask that you commit to doing the hard work of becoming aware of your biases, work to challenge them, and do the meditation every day for 2 weeks, whether it is with the group or on your own.
If you'd like to join us or would like more information, please click here. You can also email me directly, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let go of the anger.
Let go of the anxiety.
Let go of the fear.
Only together can we make the changes that are so desperately needed in our society.