When events are shocking, tragic, and heart-breaking as they are right now, I can't forget to look inside. I connect with the terror of the victims instantly, imagining their fear and pain and opening my heart to them. I imagine the children, the parents, the brothers and sisters, the friends and lovers, who are hearing this horrible news, and I recognize my love for them even though I don't know them.
I also connect with the dark ones. Where are the roots of this hatred, this violence, this intolerance in my own heart? How am I the shooter, the rapist, the self-serving politician? I don't need to look far to find pockets of self-righteousness, anger, and intolerance in myself, and I turn toward them to really see and allow them to begin to transform.
I recognize that my own choices, strong and weak, can affect the world. Where do I need to change my behavior, my voice, my choices to create a safer and more peaceful world? On a personal scale, I look to conflict within myself and my family, with people I know well or may only experience when I'm driving or in a store. By looking honestly, I discover where it is important to stand more firmly and clearly and where my work is to soften and be more loving.
I also look at the broader scale, how am I supporting or not supporting justice with my time, energy, and money? Am I sure that my none of my money is ending up with the NRA? Can I be sure that every vote supports real change? How will I use my time, energy, and money to better support the transformation of our world to a more peaceful place? That's part of what I will be working on today. Perhaps you will join me?
I'm a mom, wife, daughter, friend, and teacher who has long struggled with the desire to be the perfect person I imagine that I should be. Practicing mindfulness has changed my life, helping me to make peace with myself as I truly am and to appreciate my family, life, and the world as they actually are.