The human heart is the first home of democracy. It is where we embrace our questions. Can we be equitable? Can we be generous? Can we listen with our whole beings, not just our minds, and offer our attention rather than our opinions?
– Terry Tempest Williams
As I observe our world and reflect upon events of the last year, in particular, I continue to ask myself what I hope we are all asking ourselves — this essential question: who are we?
This year has been an interesting one to observe. As the anniversary of the horrible events in Charlottesville inches closer, I keep coming back to the essential question. As I see what is happening to so many people here in the US and abroad at the direction of our government, I am reminded of a few things.
One; we can’t know everything about all that is happening. I wish we could and I know it’s not possible. Two; human rights, the condition of the planet and many other issues which need attention are taking a big hit, while more and more money continues to accrue to the most wealthy at the expense of these. Yes, I know this isn’t news to all of you. And three; until we heal ourselves of the wounds that we carry so deeply and which cause us to react angrily and to project shame and blame onto others; the broader peace, grounded in love and acceptance of others will elude us collectively. It begins with each of us. We must ask ourselves the questions offered in the quote above from Terry Tempest Williams.
When we forget that politics is about weaving a fabric of compassion and justice on which everyone can depend, the first to suffer are the most vulnerable among us—our children, our elderly, our mentally ill, our poor, and our homeless. As they suffer, so does the integrity of our democracy.
– Parker Palmer
Not sure what you have to heal?
Start with that judgmental thought, those harsh words for someone who looks different, or dresses in a way you don’t approve of. This is an old and ingrained habit in our society. It is an effective way for us to keep ourselves separated from others. Somehow, we believe we are safe there. The late Wayne Dyer once said something that really helped me check myself on the habit of judgmental thoughts or words. He said adding, “and I am that, too,” at the end of a judgmental thought or words about another, can wake us up to what we need to see and heal within. It is true. Try it the next time you feel that negative, judgmental thought or those negative, ugly words about another, beginning to rise. Then try it again. And do it again the next time. It works, if you commit to it. You will become a more powerful observer of all of life, when you can lift yourself from the negativity of judgments.
We can do this. We really can. One step, one word, one thought at a time.