– Marianne Williamson
“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” ~ Rumi
“Blessed is the man who has suffered and found life.” ~ Gospel of Thomas
This has been an extremely emotional two weeks for me and anyone else who is sensitive and wanting to see our society change. When I’m feeling emotionally overwhelmed, I want to escape into a book, a movie, a game, or just sleep. But the time for all that is past. I need to wake up and ask myself the hard questions about how I’ve contributed to racism.
I guess I started the process when we were asked to stay home because of the virus. It seemed like the perfect time to dive deep into myself to heal all the old wounds I thought I’d healed long ago.
Healing takes a spiral path. Part of the wound gets healed, then when more growth has taken place, the old wound circles back around and more healing can take place. So what’s happening now is just giving me another opportunity to heal more old stuff.
I have a theory about how we can make some progress toward personal and social healing. We white people have to acknowledge our part in the problem. We have to allow ourselves to feel shame about that and then become vulnerable, and imagine what it’s like to be a person of color. Even if we imagine just a little bit of the fear they feel, the preparation they have to do to even go outside, then we’ve made a start to detoxing from being white and not having to think about what an encounter with a police officer will bring, or a white neighbor, or someone in a coffee shop, or even just someone on the street.
I love Brené Brown’s work because she addresses these kinds of issues. Reading her books has helped me uncover long held beliefs and attitudes I didn’t even know I had. If you don’t know her, here’s a little info. She the Endowed Chair at the University of Houston’s Graduate College of Social Work. Her work is groundbreaking because it’s all about courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy. She’s also a visiting professor in management at McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin. She’s written several books, most of which I’ve read, The Gifts of Imperfection, Daring Greatly, Rising Strong, Braving the Wilderness, and Dare to Lead. She hosts a podcast, Unlocking Us, and her filmed lecture, Brené Brown: The Call to Courage, debuted on Netflix in 2019. She burst onto the scene a few years back with her TED talk on shame and vulnerability. It’s one of the top five most viewed TED talks of all time.
You may have seen her photo on social media this past week of a sticky note which reads, “The system isn’t broken, it was built that way.” She’s right. We have to go back to the founding of this country to unravel all the ways our systems were built to benefit whites and keep people of color in their place.
What’s happening now has come to the surface again and again, been squashed and come to the surface once more. Each time a little bit more progress has been made, but now I think lots of people, whites and people of color are becoming more united in tearing down the old systems so we can create new ones that work for all of us.
Brené Brown is only one of the current teachers that have helped me along my awakening/healing process. Gregg Braden is another one. About thirty-five years ago, I read his first book, Awakening to Zero Point, which he revised and republished. I think the new book is titled, Fractal Time. In any case, in that first book, Braden, along with other writers I was reading at the time, predicted this time of awakening of humanity. I was excited to witness the awakening not realizing the turmoil I was going to have to live through. I was naive to think I would just stand by while the change happened around me.
At the moment, I’m reading Braden’s book, Wisdom Codes, in which he gives mantras and prayers from all the great world religions to help us navigate the most difficult times of our lives. His theory is that words are keys to connecting us to our emotions, which is how we communicate with the Divine.
I’m currently on the section on love and he uses only one wisdom code from the Gospel of Thomas, which was discovered in it’s complete form as part of the Nag Hammadi Library in 1945. It states: “If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.”
Braden points out that to truly love others, we have to practice forgiveness, for to love is to forgive those who have harmed us, and to forgive ourselves for the harm we’ve participated in.
If you don’t think it’s possible to forgive the most horrendous crimes, here are some examples from Braden’s book, Terry Waite, who survived 1,763 days of captivity in the hands of Hezbollah extremists, Alison Botha’s miraculous survival following being left for dead after the brutal attack that is the subject of the 2016 documentary Alison, and I add Immaculée Ilibagiza, surviver of the Rwandan Holocaust which she relates in her book, Left to Tell.There are so many others of course which you can find for yourself.
I’m in awe of people who can forgive after such horrendous experiences. I’ve had a hard time forgiving being maneuvered out a job that I thought was my destiny. It wasn’t and I’m happier now, but by comparison, I see my experience was small potatoes. And yet, a counselor once said to me, trauma is trauma. There is no scale from worst to least. It’s all in our perception.
So, we have to forgive and love each other for all the perceived and real hurts we’ve caused each other. But to do that we have to dig deep inside ourself and try to walk in the other persons shoes.
Love to you all. I hope you are safe and healthy. Thanks for reading, liking and commenting. Blessings to you.
Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2020
Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards.
Have you ever experienced life shattering events? Yeah, most of us have. In The Space Between Time, Jenna Holden gets slammed by her fiancé walking out, her mother’s untimely death, and losing her job all in one week. But she receives unexpected help when she finds her three-times great-grandmother’s journals and begins the adventure of a lifetime.
The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords and for Kindle at Amazon, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news when the audiobook version is published.