By Erin Taylor
If I’ve gained any clarity or sense of conclusion around what we’ve been experiencing collectively as a planet in recent times, it’s that now is a time for action. In talking with my own inner circle, I’ve been hearing a lot of pain, anger, hopelessness and fear. Fear of being wrong or of being judged for what comes out of their mouths next, and many asking questions about what the right next steps are. We’ve had a hell of a year so far. We started off hearing about the disastrous wildfires that swept through and eliminated so much of the animal life that resides in Australia and it was devastating. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, people around the globe have lost their lives and we’ve been quarantined for months. And now, a huge uproar of discomfort has been resurfaced in a way that it hasn’t for a long time as we question our ways of social injustice. While those issues may vary in content, what lives at the core of each matter and the collective response remains connected. Each devastation has asked us to look inward and embrace our humanity and while I believe we have such an incredibly long journey ahead of us, I have seen goodness in the darkest of places.
I see people reaching out and offering their services, whether it be in financial support or otherwise. In previous posts, I’ve talked about the power of intention and creativity around how we can be there for and with one another, even when “being together” means not physically. I’ve seen and experienced what it’s like to be launched out of our comfort zones and being gifted the opportunity to look inward and ask ourselves, how do I contribute to this? How can I do better? How can I be better?
Now is a time for action. Uncomfortable action. In order to create a new reality, you must do things you haven’t done before. This means shifting your mindset and from that, your actions. And it is HARD! From where I stand, because I can only speak from my own experience, I am embodying every emotion all at once and it is overwhelming to say the least. I’m angry and appalled at the way we treat one another, even in just the words that we choose. I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s not a single thing that one human being is not willing or capable of doing to another. And while that anger inside me festers, there’s another part of me that feels hope. There is a real sense of hope inside me that knows we can choose to be better, collectively.
“Hope is not magic. Hope is work. Let’s get to work”. -Deray McKesson, On the Other Side of Freedom: The Case for Hope
I realize that everyone simply has the capacity to see the world through their own eyes and that while I can do my best to influence or educate from my perspective, the only power I have is over myself. And the power that I choose now is action. Action, to me, during this time has been rooted in education and self-reflection. I want to learn the ugly parts of our culture so that I can try to reframe some of my own learnings for myself and move forward with more knowledge than before. Before we can change it, whatever “it” may be, we have to name it, and I’m working on navigating through that stage right now. I’m reading people’s stories, I’m watching documentaries, I’m listening to podcasts and I’m participating in protest. While I only know what it’s like to be me, and while I think a big part of our blindness stems from being consumed by our own daily experience, we are all human, which means we all experience the same emotions and it’s important to not strip ourselves of our capacity for compassion and empathy. I want to remember that while I am me, I am also a we, as we are all connected and that though we may differ through language, sex, and skin color, there are in fact more things driving us together than there are tearing us apart.
“I am also a we”. – Netflix Original, Sense8
I feel like it’s not enough to just be angry about the things around me that I don’t like anymore. It’s not enough to feel devastated and disgusted with our history because while we sit here and learn about the ugliness that is our past, if we let the moment pass us by, the present we are living today will become the history of tomorrow that is still left unchecked and unchanged. In that, I will not forget the good that surrounds us all. I will not forget the helpers that I see and the love that I have felt from strangers and the ones I cherish most. Nothing, in any facet of life, is black and white. It is gray. We are gray. We are “good”, just as we are “bad” and what we do when faced with the truth simply stems from what we believe within. I believe in love and I believe in kindness and while I am only human and have much to learn, I will never stop trying to both see and create the good in the world. I believe that when you leave a place, it should be left in better standing than it was when you found it. Nothing will ever be fixed 100% but we can get pretty damn close if we try.