When I arrived in back in the U.S. three months ago, the world was completely different. There was a stillness, a pause, a silence, but it wasn’t silent. People were on edge, hiding in their homes not knowing what to expect and hoping to avoid the impact of COVID.
Now the silence is broken and people are crying out - some from frustrations related to COVID, others for justice, and equality. The eerie silence of three months ago was the calm before the storm.
When I arrived back to the U.S. three months ago, I felt the rumblings inside. I didn’t quite know we were in for a hurricane, but I knew there was a storm brewing. At that time, I began building my storehouses for maintaining peace in the midst of whatever storm might come. One “inventory” item was “Hush” - a Betta fish. I named him “Hush” as a reminder to be still.
Despite this daily reminder...
I have been struggling with all the emotions, heaviness, and unknown. All came crashing down at the end of last week when I realized how much of a toll everything has taken on me. I could feel my immune system weakening, I was getting ornery and I just wanted to hide away from everyone. I don’t like to see people hurting and my natural instinct is to want to fix it, but what we are facing is too big for me, or any of us, to fix alone.
With all that is going on both personally and in the world, I am feeling overwhelmed. I know I am not alone in this. Many people are feeling charged by what is going on in our families, our communities, our nation, and the world. Many people are looking for ways to stand up, speak out, make a change, and yet struggle with how they do it safely and with authenticity.
To each of you, I say “hush”.
Understand the root
Share with others
Humble yourself: Take time to go within and still yourself. Acknowledge any pain, hurt, unforgiveness, fear, doubts, frustrations. Take inventory of your thoughts without judgment - yes even the ones you wish you didn’t have. Sit with them and yourself. Be still.
Understand the root: Where are your thoughts and feelings coming from? They’re probably not new. Maybe the external mask on them is different, but you’ve probably had similar thoughts and feelings in the past. Take a look at this and go deeper. Ask yourself questions. Some may include:
- Are my feelings based on facts or assumptions? - Am I holding onto anger that has been passed on for generations?
- Am I worried about a future that may never happen? - Do I feel a loss of control? - How do I “show up” in the world and does this need to change? - Do I treat people differently because of how I perceive them? - How have I been caring for myself and others that either will help or hinder progress? - What fears do I have about being around others that have arisen either as a result of COVID or the injustices and protests in our nation?
Share with others: While we need time to go within, we can’t keep everything inside. Sharing with others provides a connection and helps to give new meaning to our thoughts and feelings. It’s important to find someone you can trust to share with and it’s also important that that person can challenge you to move forward. This type of sharing isn’t about looking for someone to commiserate with you and justify your past. Rather this sharing should be done in a manner that will help you grow, heal, and understand. Whether they share is about a way of being that needs to change, seeking forgiveness, or the desire to learn and understand, be willing to be just as open, vulnerable and humble with yourself and the other person as you were during your internal examination.
Heal completely: It’s not going to come quickly, but it is possible. You have to be willing to put in the work, have the hard conversations with yourself and others, and be open to standing in the hurt as long as necessary for healing. Don’t run away. Go within but don’t hide. Stand for change, truth, justice, peace, and healing. It may come with a cost but it’s worth it in the end... not just for you, but for your family, your community, your nation, and our world.
There is an underlying spirit of fear that has shaken our world...
Most of us, even those who are well versed in handling crises and negative events, are feeling it whether we are willing or able to acknowledge it. If we don’t take time to “hush”, we could be worsening the situation. Now more than ever, our actions need to be intentional and not reactionary. When we respond while in a reactionary state, our actions and words are often fear-based, short-sighted and often they do more harm than good. If we are going to overcome this virus, the injustices that grip our world and even our own personal issues, we need to “hush” before we respond.
Ubuntu is a South African term that beautifully describes our connectedness to and with others. It is often translated as "I am because we are.” In its fullness, it is a profound sense that we are human only through the humanity of others; that if we are to accomplish anything in this world, it will in equal measure be due to the work and achievements of others. We need each other to bring healing and restoration. We can’t do this broken and yet we can’t “be fixed” without each other. How is it, then, that the healing process will begin?
Hush.... and the answers will start to come.
In love and health.....