…we focus on learning rather than teaching?
…we could act as stewards rather than bosses and masters of our children, fellow humans, the animals, and the Earth?
…we could watch others blossom without wondering how they will impact us?
…we could mind our beeswax and take our own risks to express who we are rather than expect others to express how we want them to?
…we could be there at the ready just in case they fall and cry, love them for taking the shot, and encourage them to try again instead of being so afraid for them and ourselves that we encourage them to shrink just enough to keep them contained for our convenience?
…we could understand that we don’t understand the entire context from which someone else responds and behaves, especially those closest to us?
You’ve heard the saying, with freedom comes responsibility. So true. But how do you get free?
We hear this word a lot these days, and it’s because we need to hear it again and again right now. It’s imperative.
In order to work for the freedom of every human, we need to own our freedom. We need to get vulnerable first. To get uncomfortable. To crack open. To understand it’s a necessary thing to be here to make real change. We need to get free.
In order to unleash ourselves from our own bondage, we need to take these risks. But we’re afraid to fail and look stupid. We’re afraid to be judged. We feel safer to be slaves of facade.
The more I try to tuck away my “shortcomings” (my stupidity) and only show my shiny side, the more suppressed I feel… and the duller I become. I may not show my stupid, but I certainly feel stupid.
The moment I own myself and show my stupid card, I feel free. Free to be me, to make mistakes, and to try anything. I move forward and move others with me.
Dignity is being worthy of respect. Of being human. Of mattering.
When we feel that in ourselves, we move and act with a different energy than we do when we don’t feel it.
When we offer it to another, we move and act with a different energy than we do when we don’t offer it.
So do they.
It gives everyone an opportunity to become who they were meant to be in the most expansive, serviceful, powerful, humble way.
When we ask ourselves, how can I treat myself and the other person in the most worthy way? Knowing that each of us is unique in our own way, neither of us more special or important than the other?
When we act with dignity, we unlock equity and a sustainably growing abundance. Because we are so woven together, we impact each other with every decision we make. Extending dignity benefits all of us.
Dignity is the opposite of poverty. It’s true love and abundance.
It doesn’t matter what the circumstance, love opens up solutions. Hate is an endless battle.
Love has compassion, but it isn’t always mushy, and it’s never enabling.
It is fierce and explicit. It comes from its clarity and focus on what it wants, its persistence, and its follow through. It directly protects justice because it protects equality and the greatest good. Love knows that your pain is mine and mine yours. There is no lukewarm in love.
If you feel swallowed up by anger or impotence..
where instead of being able to harness it with love,
more energy goes to hating the derivative crimes over the original,
or towards protecting bystander fragility (this isn’t compassion or empathy),
Check in with your heart. Know where your energy – your “fight” – is.
I know I’m not qualified to talk about this. Anything I can say feels as empty as politicians’ words when they say that their thoughts and prayers are with us. But I am going to try because a wise young person told me you gotta take the risk of making mistakes, saying stupid things, and being called out to become the ally you need to be.
I’ve had conversations with active protesters who throw themselves between cops and POC. They organize care for protesters getting released from jail, giving them water, snacks, portable phone chargers, and a safe ride home. They take care of each other by passing out nourishment and squeezing hand sanitizer on each other’s hands. They don’t fear for their safety around each other, whatever color they may be, and whatever neighborhood they come from. Because they know they have each other’s backs. That’s the positive. Allies are out there in large numbers who stand for each other. They could use more.
I’m beginning to understand how much black women throughout history have stood up to advocate for ALL minority. They deserve the same fierce love back. A thousand fold. If you’re not feeling intense discomfort as you work through this process for yourself, you might want to take a closer look at the strength behind your words of condemnation against injustice.
Here’s some things that I learned that we could do to become true allies. Because I had no clue.
- if you got the guts, physically place yourself between the cops and POC in a protest.
- donate to organizations like The Bail Project. Donate to Black Lives Matter.
- make protest kits and get them out there.
- instead of posting sentiment, demonstrate it instead. Disseminate information on social media, like phone numbers for protesters who get arrested to get bailed out. Or protester’s rights. Don’t assume they know them because many don’t.
- take the risk of saying the wrong thing out of privilege. Don’t let fear shut you up. It’s how we all learn.
- catch yourself condemning derivative crime (like looting) and just stop. Not talking about it doesn’t mean you condone it. But talking about it does put into question why one would be more horrified and unsettled to focus on the looting over its cause, which is police brutality against black people. What’s the message here, property over lives?
- educate yourself