In these times, the wisest people in my life are teaching about love, "Love is the answer." And I fully agree. But love doesn't come easily in dark times, does it? Especially not the sweet and gentle kind of love.
I'm not trying to respond to racism and baiting with a kind of love that is nice, polite, or comfortable. And I'm not trying to find my 'tough love' or harshness, or a love that's binary--open to 'good' people and rejecting those who offend, open to the good parts of myself and people and rejecting the messy or dark parts.
The love I need to grow is the one I sit with when I'm feeling my own painful emotions. That's a courageous love that's willing to go to the dark places and heal them. When I take care of my feelings, I don't love the feelings themselves or the crappy thing I did that I'm upset about, but I practice accepting myself anyway, recognizing the pain I caused and still sitting in company with myself. The pain and anger and dark places in me don't disappear, but they are changed by the love, by the light of my love.
This is the same love that I need for the world right now. The love of being present with the pain and the savagery, with the fear and the anger. Sitting in company, in a shared humanity, with those who committed the crappy, savage, horrible acts and those who are directly suffering from them. Not accepting the racism, not accepting the violence, holding people accountable for their actions so they have the possibility of returning to their full humanity.
I recognize the humanity that's within even white supremacists and fascists by touching the dark and scared and scarred parts of my own being. With courage (which is, of course, a quality of the heart), I sit with my own darkness and hold it in love, I sit with the nation's darkness and hold it in love.
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 helps me find peace with my imperfect journey--being with myself as I truly am, loving my family as they are, and showing up for a messy world with openness and compassion.