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The events of the last week have left me with a heavy heart and lots of questions. As I watch the commentary on the news and social media, I am struck by the hopeless and helpless we all feel. We all want to ‘take action’, ‘do more than just pray’ etc. The issues of mass shootings, hate, violence, mental illness, terrorism, gun control, foreign policy are vast and complex.
Over the past few months, I have been on a quest for compassion; specifically self-compassion. In the wake of all of this violence and complexity calling for more kindness and compassion just felt hollow. It felt like putting a band-aid on a gaping wound. And then, as I watched the news I noticed that the stories of the survivors of the Orlando attack showed that loved prevailed. It was love that saved lives. It will be self-love that will help the survivors begin to heal and grieve.
Then I realized it isn’t so much the sentiment of love itself that is hollow it is the amount we say the word ‘Love’ without much action behind it. The word love is thrown around so much we don’t even think about what it means. We all say, “The world needs more love” and at that moment we mean it, but LOVE is a moment to moment choice.
A conscious choice.
- A choice to let the guy in who didn’t get over in time on the freeway (and not cursing at him the whole time).
- A choice to take care of yourself. To share with others when you are overwhelmed and tired so you can show up without an underlying sense of anger and resentment.
- A choice to stop cooking dinner so you can bend down and look at your child as they ask you a question
- A choice to listen to someone who has a vastly different view from yours and trying to understand where they are coming from rather than just calling them stupid.
- A choice to pause throughout your day to allow yourself time to breathe, rest and re-group so you don’t walk through the door at the end of the day ready to pour all your frustration out on your partner.
- A choice to notice your thoughts of hate, fear, doubt and work to change them rather than blame other people for your issues.
- A choice to be patient in line at the grocery store, while the older person in front of you sorts their coupons at the check out counter…bonus love helping them to their car.
- A choice to not engage in blame and shame but get curious on why that is your first response and what you might need to change to shift that.
Yes, we do need change on a large scale we need to evaluate gun laws, foreign policy, the qualifications of our elected officials, AND we need kindness. We need love.
At a time when life feels out of control, and it feels like we are living in a world gone mad, we need big sweeping actions, AND we need small gestures…both need to come from love.