As November rears its head and signals the onset of the final weeks of 2017, I wanted to issue a rallying cry for the crucial work that I think needs to be done in our families and communities, so that the year ahead tells a better tale than the massively difficult one we’ve either just crawled or been carried through. But something called me to do it in video form.
Years of television and stage experience aside, I am painfully shy and introverted, and recording a video this intimate (in my bedroom, sans the buffer of professional lights and editing, make up, and all of that jazz) made me so uncomfortable. But like I flesh out a bit in the video, it is crucial for even the shyest of warriors to speak out in this time of global suffering.
In a nutshell, what I talked about (for seven entire minutes):
Think about the decisions we have to make in our lives—the major ones, and the teeny tiny ones on a daily basis.
How many of those decisions are we making out of fear? How many are we making from a place of love and compassion?
Here in New York, when a homeless person approaches another individual on the street or subway, more often than not, the latter moves away. I don’t think it is because they are heartless; but because their primal reaction is one of fear. Fear of what they do not know or fully understand. Fear of safety.
White supremacists rally violently against immigrants. Why? Because racism, too, is a product of fear. Again, fear of what they do not know or fully understand. Fear that their homeland is being increasingly inhabited by people who do not share the same upbringing as them. Fear that decades of their unfair treatment of people of color may somehow be reversed.
Leaders of nations are ruling by propagating and instilling fear in their countrymen. Taking lives and scaring society into submission. Using both exaggeration and vagueness to create chaos and keep people afraid so that they might present themselves as a “savior”. Terrorists do the same thing.
Can you imagine if these people were able to discern the difference between reacting from fear, and reacting from love? From ruling with fear, and ruling with love? If they were able to catch and assess themselves and adjust how they responded to such situations?
The homeless person would receive much more compassion, and be able to hang onto some form of hope, which is the basis for all healing.
The white supremacists would be more open to understanding different cultures, accepting refugees into their cities and communities, and find ways for everyone to get stronger together.
Presidents that set the example of compassion and kindness could change the entire tone of a nation, and kickstart the overdue processes of peace, both at home and with others.
But what will it take for us to get to this place?
Self healing. It begins with every one of us. Each individual must do the inner work, to get to a place of true balance and abundance by taking a very honest dive into their places of pain. It is only through processing that, and becoming empowered and whole, that we can give of ourselves selflessly.
Basically, spend a year of your life fixing your life so that you can spend the rest of your life doing more for others. Become whole, truly, so that you may be a giver and not a taker.
If all of us get to a place where we are givers and not takers, deciding out of love and not fear—humanity would be shining at its brightest.
How can you help?
Many ways, but here, we suggest starting by simply sharing your story and empowering a reader out there to feel less alone. By leading the conversation and showing that vulnerability might just be humankind’s greatest strength.
If you or someone you know has a story to share, please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or click on the submission tab on our homepage.
Happy to give you a platform to do your own healing work.