What a week it’s been for practicing mindfulness. Vandals painted the “N” word on LeBron James’ Los Angeles home, a white supremacist in Portland, Oregon, killed two men and injured a third when they defended two teenage girls—one of whom was wearing a hijab, and someone left a noose in the Segregation gallery of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. And that’s just this week.
These events take my breath away. But then I remember that breathing is exactly what I need to do to keep hopelessness at bay. I pause and put my mindfulness tools to use. Waves of anger, sadness, anxiety, outrage, and disbelief surge through my body as hate-related stories seep more and more frequently into the news. I read or hear about the latest event. I feel the emotional impact in my body. I sit with those sensory feelings until the wave passes. And then I ask myself what action I can take.
What are my options as a middle-aged white suburbanite mom with no training or position to fight hate through the justice system?
When I view this question through a mindfulness lens, I realize the only control I have is over my own actions:
- I can be kind to people of all backgrounds, circumstances, skin color, sexual orientation, religion and, yes, political affiliation.
- I can donate to reputable organizations whose mission is to fight hate.
- I can attend marches and share photos to spread that positive, loving energy around.
- And I can make my own voice heard.
It’s a SIGN!
Two months ago I planted my “Hate Has No Home Here” sign under the dogwood tree in my front yard. Let me put this in context. It’s the first time I have ever displayed a sign in my yard. First. Time. Ever. In 23 years.
So far my home has not been vandalized. I intentionally let go of that fear-based worry as I poked the metal stand through the mulch and into the earth.
Fear is what motivates haters and I’m not going to add to the supply of it.
Like the scene in Dr. Seuss’s Horton Hears a Who when every last tiny voice was needed to prove the little planet’s existence on that speck of dust, my little voice will join others in a chorus I know will ultimately prevail. . .
“We’re hear….we’re here…we’re HERE!!!!”
So if you’re listening, world, don’t give up on us! The majority of Americans, who value tolerance, compassion, peace, AND environmental protection to save this planet for future generations—we are still HERE.
The day after Donald Trump’s inauguration, Aziz Ansari hosted Saturday Night Live. In his brilliant monologue, after noting the obvious that we are all Americans and should be able to treat each other respectfully, he continued, “The problem is there’s a new group. I’m talking about this tiny slice of people that have gotten way too far out in this Trump thing for the wrong reasons. I’m talking about people who as soon as Trump won were like, ‘We don’t have to pretend like we’re not racist anymore! We don’t have to pretend anymore! We can be racist again! Woohooo!’ Whoa whoa whoa. NO! NO! If you’re one of those people please go back to pretending!”
Unfortunately, the opposite seems to be the case. In a recent interview with the LA Times, Richard Cohen, President of the Southern Poverty Law Center, said, “There’s a virus in our country. It’s a virus called ‘hate’.”
Not in my front yard, or back yard either. I hope you’ll join me in standing up to hate. Making our voices heard is mindfulness in action.
If you are a local reader, let me know if you’d like a “Hate Has No Home Here” sign for your own front yard and I’ll pass your name along to my sign contact. And if you’re not local, try Googling it to find another supplier!
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