If you are hurting and confused right now, try this

This has been a stunning and deeply painful week for me, and I imagine for many (though perhaps not all) of you.  I spent yesterday and much of the night before in shock and sobbing intermittently.  If you did too, I hope I can offer a virtual hug and a bit of healing and hope in my small way.  

Side note:  If you are politically conservative or just didn’t think much about this election, and are genuinely confused about why people are so upset, send me a private message or check out my Facebook page and I’ll do my best to help you understand the grief and fear. I am not here to judge you.  I have conservative friends and family and I know many are struggling to understand the level of grief being expressed.

This summer when so many Black people were killed at the hands of police—and so many white people just couldn’t believe that it had anything to do with racism—I was devastated, like I am now.  The pain felt too great to bear.  I couldn’t stop crying.  I was getting ready to start this blog and I remember saying to my husband, “I actually don’t know how to Thrive for Equity.” 

We self-help types, we create what we need for ourselves.  The main thing I’ve learned since then is what I have been writing to you about in the past few weeks. 

Called as we may be to work for social justice, as human beings we need what we need.  And if you’re here, you are probably quite a sensitive soul who actually does experience the world a bit more intensely than others.  So you need more intense protection and more investment in healing.  You may wish that weren’t true, but that’s irrelevant.  You need what you need. 

The difference for me between my old ways of fighting against racism and sexism and my new ways is that the new ways are more accepting of who I am, more trusting that I was made as I am to do this work in my way – and my way is rarely out on the streets.  It’s deep within my own soul and then out to you.

In the past 2 days this has meant the following things for me:

1)    I’ve cried a ton.  I’ve cancelled appointments and dived deep into grief.  I’ve made comfort food and taken a bath and connected with my family. I’ve spent hours not being “productive.”

2)    I’ve sought encouragement from like-minded people who I knew would encourage me to seek love and healing and not hate, while allowing space for the anger and grief that is a valid reaction to the hate that has been and is spewing out all over the nation.

3)    I’ve done my best to let my friends of color, LGBTQ friends, my Jewish friends, my Muslim and immigrant friends know that I grieve with them and am committed to standing against hatred – through personal contacts and on Facebook and by supporting Our100.

4)    I’ve also done my best to challenge the white conservative Christians I know who voted for Trump to act for love. These are my people.  I should be the one to speak to them, not people of color or LGBTQ or Jewish or Muslim people. It’s my job to challenge them to protect those who are now being threatened (and to challenge them to question their views as well, but that latter part is a long process.) I’d rather not, but I feel called. I did this through a Facebook post, but I know there is more to come.

5)    And I’ve told these same white Christians that I believe them when they say that they did not vote out of hate, but out of their perspective on what is good, that they are not just evil bigots. I strongly disagree with their perspectives and choices, but if I am going to tell them they should love all people, that means I’ve got to find a way to love them too.  Again, for now, I did this through a Facebook post, but I know there is more to come.

6)    And I am doing lots of looking inward to see where I am like those I want to hate, where there are parts of myself I am rejecting instead of loving them, so I can start the healing in myself and then send it out into the world.

If you are deeply hurting right now, you might try these things:

1.     Feel what you feel.  Grieve.  Cry.  Seek comfort.  Don’t believe that you have to soldier on and fight the fight right now.  Scream.  Rage.  Find others who can hear you, don’t bother for now with those who can’t.  Just feel what you feel.

2.     Remember what it is that you—you personally—need when you feel deep anguish and make sure you get it.  If you’re here you probably need more than what you think is reasonable to need at this time.  You need more quiet, less action, more silence, less news, more time—not because you are avoiding the pain, or because you want to hide in your safe bubble (if you’re white, Christian etc. and mostly not the target of the hatred being spewed), but because you are so sensitive that you already feel it ALL.  It’s your job to get what you need, so you can bring you strongest, most hopeful, most joyful, most whole self to the battle for love and healing.

3.     Look for the parts of yourself that you want to judge and reject, just as Trump has judged and rejected parts of the human community. Start loving those parts in yourself, the ugly parts that seem like they don’t deserve love.  I believe that we can’t send that kind of love and acceptance out into the world without starting with ourselves. 

4.     Then act to bring love and light in whatever way you personally feel called to do, big or small. I still believe that love will win. 

May you be happy.  May you be well.  May you be free from suffering.

Much love and here’s to thriving,