I don’t know much about racism, but I know a lot about violence, peace, and what it takes to achieve big, world-changing goals.
As a strategist focused on inner and outer peace, I’ve learned that no amount of focusing on a problem will create a solution – for an organization, community, country, or individual.
Don’t get me wrong – a basic tenet of planning is to clearly identify the problem. We must absolutely understand the most gross and subtle aspects of the challenges we face in order to account for the factors that may both enable and derail our success.
The difference is that when it’s time to move towards a solution, we need to fundamentally change our way of thinking and being.
We must courageously embody the solution.
We must hold a vision for what is possible instead of what we find intolerable.
As Dr. King said, “I have a Dream…”
Unfortunately holding a vision is harder than it sounds.
It’s hard for individuals, let alone multiple people, groups, and cultures.
- Because we have long-standing habits of thinking, acting, and feeling that focus on what is – not what could be. We are taught to respond-and-react; not to create.
- Because change is scary when you’re not practiced at feeling the ways you might have to feel once you do – even the good feelings.
- Because fear and pain do funny things to humans.
At our deepest level, I believe we all feel the truth and oneness of our shared desires to be loved, respected, safe, and free.
But under the influence of fear and pain, logic and reason are forced to take a backseat (historical reference intended).
We naturally recoil.
We vacillate through shame, blame, pity, and anger – from wanting to hide, to lashing out and fighting back.
When humans feel vulnerable, ashamed, or powerless, we usually do everything we can to avoid these feelings. Then we find any opportunity to feel powerful again – even if and when that means doing things that don’t align with who we intend to be or even make sense, like being apathetic or expressing anger.
That is no excuse. But it is a natural reaction.
Luckily, through compassion for ourselves and others, we can see beyond our fear-based responses and make different choices instead.
We can choose to honor, witness, and acknowledge.
Because pain demands acknowledgement.
Injustice needs to be heard.
Discrimination needs to be seen.
Long-lasting wounds created by centuries of covert and overt warfare and violence need to be healed.
By all of us – together.
Our challenge is to – individually and collectively – have the courage, wisdom, and strength to recognize our innate humanness. To stand in the vulnerable space of our fear, anger, and hope and powerfully choose to create a shared vision for the future.
Because the strength of our vision will pull us forward.
We may not be able to outrun the past. But we can be invited forward by a better future – a shared future.
A future we must create together, right now.
A future that requires trust, compassion, and faith.
Start now, with you:
- Get steady in yourself. Practice feeling your innate connection and shared oneness with others. Because when you feel safe and connected, then you can offer compassion and understanding to others. Use the meditation below to practice feeling safe and compassionate towards yourself and others.
- Meet others with an open heart. When you are steady in your felt sense of truth, love, and compassion, then you can bear strong and present witness to the pain, anger, and healing of others. People need to express, be heard, and be seen. You can honor their experience and perspective – however different from yours – without muddying it up with your own fear by coming from a place of openness and love.
- Support the vision-holders. Find the people in your community, state, or area who are actively creating a new vision for the future. Do everything in your power to support their efforts.
Because without vision, we have no future.
Be free. Be brave. Be YOU!