Let me start by saying I believe if you slap your child, you’ve slapped me. And your next door neighbor. Your third grade teacher. The lady behind you in line at Target. An old man in a VA hospital. A first responder. Someone sleeping soundly halfway around the world. A newborn taking their first breath. And your grandma. If you slap one face, you’ve slapped all faces.
Fortunately, the same applies to hugs.
I believe our every action—our every thought, really—shifts the world ever so slightly, for better or worse. Our kindness envelopes the world, grows compassion, and nourishes the earth. Look into the eyes of someone struggling and offer love, and everyone’s burdens lighten a bit. Sneer at a homeless person and admonish them to go get a job, and you add ballast to everyone’s load.
We live in a world gone mad. The news offers daily stories of the horrific acts humans commit against one another. Against all of us. Against themselves. We hear the words and take in the images, and we grow heartsick. We grow angry and sad and confused. We feel overwhelmed and we feel powerless.
We are anything but powerless.
There are countless opinions and arguments about what’s happening out there, and what needs to be done to stop it. Better mental health care. Fewer guns. More guns. More prisons. More Big Brother. More bombs. More mind our own business. More waterboarding. More it takes a village.
For my two cents, I think we need to pay less attention to what’s out there and more to what’s inside. Inside ourselves. What do we harbor there? What fears and prejudices do we hold? How we think, behave, interact, vote, and shift the world depends on all of what’s stirring within us. What we feed.
I think we—each and every one of us—need to take stock and own the ways in which we contribute to this world. Do we make it a harsher, more frightening place or are we willing to move softly? Are we adding ballast or lightening loads?
What we give to the world can and must be whatever we are. We cannot give what we don’t have. If we are hateful and scared and separate, we pour that out and it spreads. If we feel and trust in the truth of our connectedness—all from the same source and made from the same stuff—we can’t help but offer love, for that’s the stuff we’re made of.
Maybe it’s all fixable. Maybe we’ve just wandered terribly far away from who we are and we’re struggling to remember the way. One thing is certain. We need to remind ourselves that there is no them. There is only us.
~*~ Today’s images courtesy of pixabay ~ Free and fabulous. ~*~