Recently I became disheartened when someone I love and respect stated that they weren’t sure if they could get behind forgiveness given the state of the world today. This broke my heart a bit because this person is generous with understanding, optimism, “being the solution”, and is often the cornerstone/voice of reason in almost every situation.
Flashback for me to over 25 years ago: my heart was so ready to have children but I was in a real state of depression over the ills of humanity and feared that I would be adding to overpopulation, depleting resources and would be dooming my children and possible grandchildren to a sick, dying, polluted earth and so much damn suffering. A kind hearted, simple, church-going woman heard my angst at the right time and said to me: “We need good people in the future”. Simple, yet freeing, I had the bravery to have my children and I have tried my best to help them be “good” in this deeply troubled, yet so-beautiful-still, world.
Also recently, I was sitting with a-soul-I have-the pleasure-to-grow-with and we were having a deep conversation about (what else?) the state of the world, the purpose of suffering and strife, and how to make sense and find the right path when it is so easy to hate right now. It is so easy for each and every one of us to point a finger at someone (and so many more) and want to condemn them in some way with fierce justification as the wrong-doer, or the problem.
We are all in a state of fear, polarization, dehumanizing someone, and tittering on hateful rage. Right?
Even those of us who are peace-keepers are losing our patience as another atrocity guts us once again… “If only we get rid of __________ (you fill it in), we would be so much better, and could move forward on the right path”.
I don’t know the answer, but I know deep in my soul that it has everything to do with joint responsibility, humility, big compassion, forgiveness, generous love, bad-ass hope, revolution/evolution of the collective consciousness and empowered action. And that it starts from within and locally first. We need to show up where we live first…within ourselves, and eradicate our own voice of entitled justification to judge and condemn. I invite you to stop and ask: whatever I want to condemn, do I possess that in myself? And: how can I be the change I want to see? I believe we need to ask this question repeatedly within a day, and bring it back to how we are showing up, and how we add to the collective problem.
A small example: on my personal Facebook page recently I went on a small “justified” rant about the ignorance of all these (bad) people making a million forms of pollution on the beautiful beach on the night of the 4th of July. Friends cheered on my truth telling voice as I am usually the gentle peace- keeper, love-always-prevails person. Shortly thereafter I needed to call myself out – I am truly as much of the problem as everyone else. Sure, I package up my disposable non-degradable plastics and carry them from the beach and place them into the garbage… and then it goes to a dump and flies up in the air and lands on the beach or the in the water and then I see it and, I’m blaming other people because that sure wasn’t me! So, I got humble and walked the beach and picked up a big garbage bag of stuff. And I said hello and smiled at each person I met, thinking inside “I am you, you are me, we are each wonderful and awful, and so worthy of respect and compassion” and hoping that they could feel something stir in their soul that might propel them to see our collective mess and grab a garbage bag too.
The bigger bottom line, staying with my trash metaphor, is that we each need to wake up, stop being so complacent/detached/disempowered/head-up-our-a**/critical and look at how we are creating the problem and what little step we can take to create what we value. Let me tell you it is a big, but essential, endeavor requiring a lot of humility, a ton of self-compassion and self-forgiveness, and a lot of accountability and action. And it’s also surprisingly empowering, softening, and hopeful…
Most importantly, from one compassionate soul to another: please don’t give up! Please continue to be bad-ass and continue to love, hope and forgive. And be accountability, responsibility, and integrity personified. Please? The world needs YOU to be the difference. The future is now, and you and I are those good people who are the change we seek. What are you doing today to be that change? Perhaps start by donating, as generously as you can, to “Suenos Sin Frontreras”, a compassionate drive for supplies for those hurting at the border, hosted at Beverly Therapists by Jennifer Lara (see link below). And then, look for the next good thing… And do that next good thing again, and then the next, and the next next :)…
Learn more about the author of this post: Lisa Catania, MSW, LCSW