We are in dark times. In the midst of our preparations for Christmas (for those who observe), the miracle of Hanukkah, the Winter Solstice, and so many celebrations of light, we are faced with the dark shadows of many, many years of colonialism, privilege, greed, and the misuse of power. In Aleppo, people (many of them children) are dying in horrific conditions even as evacuation efforts are set to resume. In South Sudan, people are also suffering and dying through shocking, ethnically driven violence. In the United States, Native Americans have been under attack by corporate interests and militarized police groups. All over the US, people are facing discrimination and physical/verbal/emotional attack for being who they are.
So here we are, parents, people, citizens. What do we do? How do we address these horrors? First, I hope we are all speaking up, writing letters, donating money, joining service organizations, and using our resources to serve however we can. Please, join me in giving what you can to The Compassion Collective, read this post from Glennon Doyle Melton, In Aleppo, we are the ones we've been waiting for--Please Read to understand why I suggest donating to them and for some inspiration.
Second, we can bring this work into our personal lives.
We do this in many ways. One important revolutionary act is to raise children who are emotionally whole and healthy, We can allow and support our children to develop their hearts, minds, and souls along with their bodies.
We can change the unhealthy and dysfunctional patterns of generations that have led to this imperfect world by witnessing, honestly, the distortions within ourselves and our parenting, by watching the hatred and judgment and fear and control that live in our own bodies and choosing each time we can not to act on those feelings.
We can show up, allowing the experience of parenting to clean us out by making our shadows more visible. Intead of turning away from those painful shadows, we can keep showing up, keep doing our best, keep forgiving ourselves for our mistakes, keep opening our hearts to our children and the world.
We can learn to spend less money, time, and energy on superficial consuming and more on connection, love, and spiritual purpose. We can show our children that we value all people by making ethical choices about spending our money, time, and energy and about how we speak and act.
None of these things will fix what's on in the world, but each of these things matters deeply and tips the balance a bit to a new world. And instead of despairing for what we can't do, please join me in doing what we can do.
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.