Update: I wrote this two days before the Alton Sterling murder. And while I still think we all must heal our wounds, I want to call out my nice-white-lady friends and urge us all to tend to the wounds of our friends of color who are bearing the brunt of these ongoing atrocities. To say, “I see you.” “I’m sorry.” “May you be safe.” To offer meals and retreat space and kindnesses. To post on the pages of other white ladies and make sure we all know the ways our siblings are being persecuted. And to to more than post as well. To write letters, and call congress. To stand alert and present when officers confront people of color so they know we are bearing witness. To hold picket signs and attend protests even if they seem to accomplish little — because they Give Voice, and because as I know first-hand, nothing staves off police brutality like a row of nice white ladies at the edges of a protest group.
Let’s all do what we need to heal ourselves and each other, friends, one bumbling, listening, wholehearted step at at time — while we rage that the steps are coming far to slowly and too, too late. -R
I have confession to make.
I haven’t listened to the news — well, practically since Jon Stewart left the Daily Show.
Part of it is because that I stopped commuting by car, so I no longer catch an hour of NPR during carpool. Part of it is because my empathic heart has made a commitment to learn about one local community and one international community. This is the only way I can engage with the global amounts of info coming in on a 24 hour news cycle. But if I’m honest, this self-imposed news blackout is also because it all just got to be too damn discouraging.
I often feel bad saying something like that, because really, nice white lady, you’re too discouraged by the bad news?! What about the people who are ACTUALLY LIVING the bad news?
That internal messaging is always going to be a part of this learning-to-live-globally project. It’s a reality that I as a privileged person can turn off the news if I want to, and pretend for awhile that it doesn’t affect me. (Although, of course it does. Because, humanity. Because, earth.) And….and it is also true that it is correct to practice self-compassion around this news censoring. Why?
Because your pain in the hearing of the news is real too.
I used to deny my own pain a lot. It seemed so small in the face of Rwanda, and Syria, and the homeless encampments that are popping up on every corner in my own hometown. Then my soulsister, Jen Lemen, taught me something very important.
Every person’s pain is their own.
Your pain around not having a partner — or not having people understand that you’re totally down with not having a partner.
Your pain that the job you wanted didn’t come through — or that the job you have isn’t paid at a respectful sacred exchange.
Your pain that your child is sick, or your mother is dying, or your dog has cancer, or you own body seems to be rebelling on you.
These may not be epidemics, or plague, or warfare. (Thankfully.) But they still hurt.
And the epidemics, and plagues, and warfare may not be in your own body, but they still cause pain.
The pain of listening to your brother suffer is still hurts.
The heartache of knowing a sister is without still aches.
The news is still heartbreaking.
All those sorrows deserve a place to breathe. Because an authentic life–a shalom (whole) life–requires that we tend to all of life. The hot and the cold of it. The ebb and the flow of it. The magic and the mayhem.
Everyone once in awhile I run into a soulcare tool that truly helps with the mayhem. And thankfully, the same wise sister who taught me to honor my own pain, has something new in her kit to help us all weather the Trump/Syria/Baghdad/Pulse news. So we can keep moving forward. So we can keep offering care. It’s called SOUL SNACKS and it’s Jen’s curated plate of 11 days of hopeful food for the soul.
So your spirit is given a few solid nutritious meals.
So your resilience gets amped up.
So you can make space for the magic and mayhem.
If your tired of all the bad news. If your brain is going into overdrive at the thought of all the craziness happening in our world. Come get fed with SOUL SNACKS. I’ll be there, nibbling with you on a batch of magic cooked up fresh everyday. As Jen says, “the really nourishing things, on the top shelf of the cupboard, right where your mom kept all the really, really good stuff she didn’t want you guys to eat all at once.”
I’ll see you there. It starts Monday.
And in the meantime, you be kind to your tender news-battered self, and I’ll be kind to mine. Because it’s like I always say, “There’s no place to go, but together.