This morning I was in my warm bed reading, thinking and enjoying the quiet. It was wet outside after last night’s thunderstorms. It was pretty much the perfect Sunday morning. These are the times I get reflective. I was trying to figure out what has felt off to me in some of the recent conversations I’ve had about the racial disparities in our community. I realized that many of the conversations have been very heady. I’ve been missing the heart in it.
There is discussion about who is doing what and if those people are doing the right things, in the right way and with the right strategy. Heady.
There is debate and conversation about what should be done and how it should be done. Heady.
Some question things like why change isn’t happening fast enough, where the problem started and who should be responsible for what. Heady.
To me this is all very important. And yet, it isn’t what lights me up fully. Don’t get me wrong, I love strategy. I love business planning and organizing, yet what really lights me up about these discussions is the personal piece. There is something that calls to me more than the act of creating a plan, putting it into place and managing the results.
I want to see positive change in people. I want to grow with my neighbors in an authentic way, together. I don’t think change can come from someone or a group of people. It has to come from inside our own hearts. We have to be inspired to make changes. I don’t want to create change in others. I want to inspire change. I want to create change in me because I know that I have to be the change I want to see in the world. And I have to live that change out loud. I ‘get to’ live that change out loud.
Personal growth (sounds kind of heady). Growing is different than improving. I’m not trying to be better anymore. I’m a recovering self-improvement junkie that is learning to be happy with who I am, accept myself for who I am and believe in my heart that I’m perfect right now the way I am, including all my imperfections. My imperfections make me ME! And since I know my Mom loves me just the way I am right now, why can’t I? Sometimes I’m in alignment with that and sometimes I’m not. Because I’m not perfect and this is what growth looks like.
Growth is constant and it can be fun and I embrace it for what it is.
I loved self-improvement until I realized that I never felt good enough. And that felt shitty. Feeling shitty doesn’t really serve my happy self. But growth feels good. It allows me to try something new that I won’t be good at, perhaps fall down and then allow myself to celebrate what I learned from the experience instead of beating myself up for not getting it right the first time. I am done beating myself up. It hurts.
I recently talked with someone who doesn’t share the same optimism that I do in that people care about the unfair disparities and discrimination issues that our community faces. He believes that people have their heads down (in their bubble), working on their own problems and don’t see how the disparities relate to them or have an effect on their lives. He believes that it is our job to make a case that will allow them to buy into working towards the solution. I chewed on that for a little bit but it just didn’t feel right. It had a sense of superiority to it. Like I know what other people need and should do to solve the problem.
I imagine that everyone has experienced a moment of not feeling good enough. That everyone has experienced being judged, especially when looking in the mirror. Whether it was a moment after losing a job, feeling like they failed in a relationship, or they weren’t living up to their own potential.
If one person suffers than we all suffer. Is that something that people believe? I believe it. I can’t imagine I’m all that different than other people. I can’t imagine that there are people who really don’t care. If the community of color is suffering then we are all suffering. He disagreed with me again. And my heart felt sad. And I admitted out loud that I might feel depressed after meeting with him. He was quick to encourage me to remain optimistic, but I felt like he was just saying that. And I saw myself through his eyes as an idealistic hippie chic with purple in my hair, refusing to wear a suit and wanting so badly to change the world. I noticed that it felt belittling until I realized that this thought was coming from me and not from him. So I sat up straighter and felt the power surge through me again. I celebrated my rebellion of status quo and then returned to the conversation from a place of love and strength.
I want the middle class environmentalist mom that goes out of her way to make sure she is serving cut up organic apples for snack to stop judging the mom that just drove her kids through McDonald’s. It is toxic. I want moms to support each other.
I want the strong weight lifting woman at the gym to stop judging the fuller bodied woman that doesn’t want to run a half marathon this weekend. It is toxic. I want all women to celebrate their bodies.
I want the teenage mother that is struggling with her 3 year old who is having a tantrum in the parking lot to get looks of love and support from every single person that walks by.
Judgment creates superiority and inferiority issues and it separates us as moms, as people. If we were both on a bus that got hijacked, how quickly would we come together as strong mothers that would do anything to protect our children? We would work together; we would support each other and I pray that we would help each other. Why does crisis need to happen for the toxicity to be wiped away?
Why aren’t we accepting of each other? I think it is because we don’t accept ourselves. I’m contemplating the deeper issue of learning to accept ourselves for who we are, to let go of our own inner critic and to practice self-compassion and self-love.
Love thy neighbor. Duh. Yet, how can we love our neighbor if we don’t love ourselves? I sometimes feel like it is selfish of me to work on loving myself. I could be spending my time better. I envision ways we can create more love in the world and break down stupid barriers like the color of our skin or if I want to marry a man or a woman. Humans thrive with love and compassion. It becomes clear that spending my time learning how to love myself is the right path to get there. If I skip that step of loving myself and accepting myself, then how do I really think I’ll be able to accept my Republican neighbor and love her for who she is? Keepin’ it real.
I don’t think it is a small step. I don’t think it is woo-woo. It would be awesome if someone can change a policy in their company that will help eliminate discrimination, sexism and racism. And at the same time, I’d like to acknowledge that a policy won’t do jack if all the people in our workplace live in fear and hatred.
My passion is learning to live in love, compassion and abundance. It is my practice. It is my path. It is where I feel happy and free. And I would love it if we could do it together! Tell me I’m not alone!