Creating a New World

do the thing equity truth Jul 12, 2021

Have you noticed? 

Lots of shitty things happen in the world. Our African American citizens are under attack, women are still paid less and treated like objects in our culture, the big predator animals of our planet are being hunted for sport and killed at unprecedented rates, etc, etc. - there is plenty of bad news to choose from. Take your pick.

In the past, when I would read these news stories, I would feel outraged, and then that would quickly turn to despair and helplessness. For a while I categorically ignored the onslaught of bad news in the name of 'staying positive', but I would still feel slightly sick when I would see a headline about the latest abuse and degradation of women, freedom, non-human nature, or our own citizens. 

You are not helpless. 

I recently decided (in the face of all the injustice and suffering our African American communities are subjected to) that just getting angry (and then feeling helpless) or ignoring the harsher realities of our world was unacceptable and not truthful. Perhaps I had finally done enough of my own inner healing and work to know that as humans, we have the capacity to hold the incredible joy and beauty of the world in our hearts as well as the tragedy that befalls our fellow beings.

In order for the darkness to not fester and create pain, my experience is that we must recognize ourselves as the powerful alchemists that we are and transform our anger and our outrage into light and love-filled action. 

What to do with your anger, outrage, and grief.

Don't ignore it. Emotions, especially strong emotions, are your good friends. They are an indicator that something important has happened. When something shitty happens {this week, the senseless and inhumane killing of Cecil the lion. Last week, Sandra Bland's arrest and death} the anger that you experience is an invitation to personal action - to let the shock and sadness and outrage change your individual behavior, to empower you.

Let it catalyze your understanding of yourself and the role you wish to play. I noticed personally that some things that would run through my head are, "I don't have enough money to help." "It's so far away, it's not really my problem." "I don't have the energy to get involved." The theme being, "I'm not enough." Which would make me feel even more helpless and angry, which would fuel me not wanting to read the news or know what was happening. 

The "not enough" story is so old and so ingrained, but I know it's not true. Here's the thing. I DO care. I don't want to be angry or outraged all the time (nor do I believe it's healthy or necessary) - I want to be a catalyst for love and light and healing in the places our world needs it most. I see my values for human and non-human life demonstrated in the places I get fired up. I learn more about my own shadows, I am invited to heal, to take action in alignment with my values. What else is there? 

Turn your anger and grief into something beautiful. Yes, that's right. Turn it into something beautiful. If you assume that your anger and outrage are pointing to deeply held values, then there it is. What kind of world do you want to live in? For me, it's a world where all life, human and non-human, is treated with respect and dignity, and importance. This information provides you an opportunity to take action - to transmute your anger and grief into powerful action that is aligned with your values. To cultivate the world that you want to live in. 

So much tragedy, so little time.  

Here's the thing. Not every tragedy and pain point in the world is going to call to you and that's okay. If you feel like you *should* do something and it feels heavy and oppressive, maybe it's not your work to do. Bless everyone involved and move along. There is plenty to do - whether it's women's education and empowerment, racial equality, or the restoration of a respectful relationship with non-human nature - choose your path. You will know it's your work to do when you feel that deep fire in your belly when tragedy strikes. Your anger and outrage will guide you to the spaces where you are being called to bring light and love-filled transformation.   

Practically speaking

So, how do you take small actions aligned with your values? First, focus deeply on what is right in your world. Stay grateful and recognize the ways that you are supported in having the life you want - affirm that you want that for other beings as well. For those tragedies that fuel your inner fire: Research ways you can financially and/or politically support organizations that are already working on behalf of your cause. Reach out, start conversations, empower yourself and others to act in alignment with values. Don't entertain the "I can't make a difference." voices in your head. Choose to work locally. Ask yourself, how can I help to create the world I want to live in? Then do something.

Change happens one action at a time. 

I find that letting anger remind me of my values is priceless. The small actions that I take {Today, I sent a letter of petition on behalf of our Colorado wolf populations and made a donation to a local wolf sanctuary, prompted by the death of Cecil the lion} are not only empowering for me but support the world I wish to live in. They personally transform my anger and outrage into light and love for this magnificent world we live in and give me tremendous hope for the challenges we face - we ALL have this power available to us.

I wonder what kind of world we would live in if these instances of violence, hatred, and destruction of life invited each of us to feel empowered to take a small action in alignment with our values.

That is the world I deeply, madly, and truly want to live in. 

Tell me, what kind of world do you want to live in?  What kind of actions do you want to take to make it happen? Let's discuss and support each other in fueling the world we want to create.

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