In the past few days, I have listened to news reports that tell the story of those fighting for their right to have the opportunity to live a healthy and productive life, and those who recognize and honor their own pursuit of happiness, but not the pursuit of others. I threw my hands up in the air at the report of the continued arrests of the activists protesting against the keystone pipeline. My stomach turned in knots as I listened to interviews with parents and youth involved in the kids for cash scandal in which a few judges received monetary payment from the owners/builders of private juvenile facilities, and in return sentenced youth to harsh punishments to increase the number of inmates in the detention centers. I felt indignant as I heard the expected ramification of the North American Free Trade Agreement, would be, in fact, the displacement of millions of Mexican and Guatemalan farmers and their families.
In the face of so much destruction, injustice and greed, I ask myself what can I do? I am inspired by the work of activists and spiritual leaders, and by those who practice kindness each day. In my life, I will continue to stand up for what I believe to be best for our earth and our communities. I will speak this through action, prayer, my vote and my dollar. I realize though, that for me the work of tolerating what is intolerable is much simpler and yet, more difficult than I had imagined.
My work is to look each person in the eye and see them as they stand before me, not through the lens of socially-based stereotypes. My work is to walk with more grace and less fear, and to listen, hear and feel. My work is to pay attention to how I communicate with myself and others so as to not add to the collective violence. Lastly, my work is to continue to believe positive change is happening. There was a time when life-enhancing values were the societal norm; I will work to hold those values in my heart as we move away from the dominator/dominated society we currently function in, and into a paradigm where love, physical and mental health, equality and peaceful living are of highest value.