As a 50 year black woman, single mother, entrepreneur and leader who has worked in predominantly male industries for the last 25 years, I could walk around being offended every day, all day. But I don’t.
I’ve been quietly watching as we flood our social, emotional and physical spaces with an ever-growing set of rules for how to be together as human beings, and I’m left with the experience in many ways of feeling more separate and alone than I ever did before.
Losing the ability to hug in an effort to save lives is one thing. But having to do an extensive google search on the latest terms and symbols, what they mean and who they may or may not offend by there use, can take a toll on my ability to live a heart-centered existence.
So my apologies if I’ve offended you. It’s not from laziness or lack of caring about you or what matters to you.
I stand in my desire to live a heart-centered life and to see you as the magnificent being that you are, even though I’ve been conditioned to see you as either a threat or opportunity as it relates to my own self-interest.
Like me, you are someone who has the right to self-realize and to experience love, unity and connection just by nature of being born (not because you’ve earned it, had to protest for it and demand it, or because a member of your family, community or people had to die for it).
As well, you’ve had experiences that I have not, and you have a way of interpreting your experiences that I do not. I’m curious about you. I’m willing to listen with you, to learn from you and to share my story if you’re willing to listen too.
But I’m watching as so many good people give away their power, energy and love in the minutiae of second-guessing and double-checking every word they say or write.
There is so much judgment and criticism to go around; so much emphasis on having to get it right, that many good people who were already a part of the solution are sitting on the sidelines in fear that they will inadvertently be seen as part of the problem. I have to wonder, what the long term impact will be.
During the #metoo movement, I watched many of the amazing heart-centered men that I worked with at the time start to get smaller and more self-conscious so as not to offend. And I’m watching it play out again now.
I agree we’re not so great at loving and relating to ourselves and each other. But that tendency extends far beyond race. I wonder if we’ve gone too far down the rabbit hole of judging and chastising each other.
My reality check is always, How does it makes us feel as humans, a community, a society? How does it impact the way we relate to ourselves and each other?
Do you feel more authentic, connected, powerful and loving? Or do you feel smaller, more self-conscious and separate, or more angry, afraid or exhausted?
Before we rush to judge each other, to accuse and assume, can we take the time and create the spaces to get to know each other’s intentions and values? Can we start by assuming positive intent, and if someone has really stepped in it have the courage to call them out with respect and grace, in the same way you would want to receive that feedback?
For the record, there are a lot of things I am opposed to, but I’m not interested in being anti-anything. The mind responds to the clear pictures we create in our imagination. For example, what happens, if I tell you not to think of a pink elephant?
What is the picture that you create in your mind, when you hear the word anti-racist? Does it give you an indicator of how to be a more loving human being, and to live in a way that doesn’t just take care of your own self-interest but also honors and respects all life on the planet?
Tell me, better yet, show me who you are and what you stand for. If you’ve been walking around unconscious and are just now waking up, I’ll give you the grace to know that it’s not always going to come out right. You’re going to make mistakes, you’re going to fail.
In the effort to fight for the rights and equality of my people, I may have given you the impression that I have a right to be righteous in pointing out the error of your ways. But I’m human just like you. I make mistakes all the time. I’m perfectly imperfect.
Failing is that part of our human experience that we don’t give enough space for or credit to. It’s not an excuse for continuing in our self-centered, unconscious march through life. But we can’t let it stop us from taking action.
More than anything I want to live in harmony with you my fellow being. I don’t have perfect answers for how to navigate this movement in a way that helps us feel more alive, powerful, loving, authentic, equal and connected. But I’m willing to learn and fail with you. Will you join me?