But I Love ALL People

I often wonder if we truly came to realize how much our apathy, our overt and covert racism, homophobia, genderism (or pick an ism/phobia) hurts us on a personal level — would we finally do something about it? If we found out it was making us sick, if we felt it in our own lives, on our own bodies, in our own homes, in our own minds, would we finally be compelled to do something? Or would we still just be stuck on “right” to save face and suffer silently, or blame it on “them?” I think we put a lot of energy into saving face, and a lot of running from the truth… or even mangling it, covering it up. We think, “I’m not the one; surely it’s not me,” and even get mad when confronted.

We put a LOT of energy into this, and yet we think we remain unaffected by the covering up, the pretending, the avoidance to look at ourselves squarely and honestly. We put on a mask when we go about our daily business outside of the home, but when we return the mask is put away and we discuss all about “those people,” and we have strong opinions on people we can’t even see honestly. We pretend (or do we really believe this) that if we don’t talk about it, refuse to give it attention, that we somehow are not contributing to the racism, the homophobia, Islamic hatred, etc. We tell ourselves and others that we just won’t participate in the discussions because that would be contributing to the problem. But…

WHEN HAS IGNORING SOMETHING EVER MADE IT BETTER?

If you let it, this might set you free from the invisible box you have created for yourself and probably the children you might be influencing…. Do you know that you don’t even have to understand how or why people are who they are to just let them live, and even to love them? And here’s the REAL personal freedom…. Once you are able to embrace that, it’s no effort to embrace them just as they are. That’s where love lives, and that’s what it looks like.

We like to say that we love all people, don’t we? It sounds right, and feels good to say — even seems logical. For added theatrics or emphasis, we even wave our hand when we say it as if we’re brushing off how ridiculous it is to even have to say it out loud.

  • You have a good relationship with your Black neighbor, and your kids even play together.
    • But do you love Black PEOPLE?
  • That Muslim woman in the next cubicle is hilarious, and you frequently lunch together.
    • But do you love Muslim PEOPLE?
  • The Mexican woman who babysits your children during the past four summers is a wonderful addition to your lives and with whom you entrust your children. She even teaches them Spanish!
    • But do you love Mexican PEOPLE?
  • You’re nice to Emily, the transgender checker at the grocery store that you look forward to seeing every week.
    • But do you love transgender PEOPLE?
  • Your love your cousin who is gay and you get along great with him and his husband.
    • But do you love gay PEOPLE?

I’m sure you’re onto me by now, and may have already begun making excuses before you reached the end of the list or stopped reading the list altogether. Hopefully none of that’s true and you get the point. But if it is true, I hope you ask yourself why that is, and I hope you go even further and begin really thinking about this. One thing that can happen is that you will start showing up as the person you’ve been saying you are. You remember — the one that loves all people!

I get it. (I don’t, actually, but I do know something about this personally.) You’re secretly afraid of what other people in your circles might think. You don’t want to admit it, but it’s true. You’re afraid of what you will lose, and this is a driving force for so many of us that causes us sometimes to double down on the excuses, and why so many of us turn to apathy, ignoring, or defending all the “good people on both sides.” We are more afraid of how we might look, what we might lose, or even who we might have to talk to in a new way.

Freedom. That’s what you get. You get freedom from the excuses, freedom from toxic ideas and people. You get new vision, and you get to do the work of self-repair, self-reflection, and self-love instead of the arduous work of covering up, the laziness of apathy and tolerating, and the sweat-work of defending terrible people, systems and ideations. You get freedom from the pain of giving and being an assist to systems that hurt other people. You will lose some; you will. And then you will be free from people who won’t operate on a higher level of humanity.

Operating from this is also work, but it isn’t the kind that hurts us on a soul level or the level of hurting humanity. In fact, it’s actually restorative on a cellular level. And the best part of all… you will be on your way to telling the truth when you say, “I LOVE ALL PEOPLE.”



Together. Apart.

Impressions



Walking & Thinking #8

What’s in a name?
That which we call a rose by any other name would smell just as sweet.
Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare


So, what IS in a name?

Some people don’t like their own given name, and sometimes we don’t like someone else’s name. Sometimes we are in wonderment at how someone might have arrived at a particular name, or notice that a name has a funny ring to it, or sounds like it might be from another language than our own, etc.  I remember disliking my name when I was young. I much preferred nicknames to my own given name when I was a teenager. That changed as I grew into an adult, but not necessarily for the reasons this post is about… until now.

Our family has another grandbaby on the way — our third. So it’s an exciting time! I was teasing the kids about naming the baby after me — even if it was a boy — or combining mine and mother’s names — DeboRosa. Yeah, I know how it sounds. My former husband says it sounds too much like “ambrosia,” which I still feel qualifies it for the possibility list. (I’m seriously just kidding.)

When I was out for my walk the other day, I was chuckling to myself about that conversation. Then I started thinking about our children’s names. All three boys are named after beloved family members who are not only loved, but strong in character. The lone girl’s name was chosen because it sounded pretty (and it is — almost as pretty as her). Our first granddaughter is named the same way, and our first grandson is named after his father and has a middle name with a very special meaning in Spanish. Anyway, that’s the context for this post.

As I and my thoughts meandered around the neighborhood, it occurred to me just how much I love our kids’ names, and how much they mean to me. I started thinking about the things I mentioned above about my own name, about times when I couldn’t imagine why someone would name a child “that,” or when I heard someone making fun of a name because it sounded “foreign.” I know people who have changed their names because they didn’t like them, and others because the name they were given at birth did not match their gender identity. I know some who have changed their names because they wanted a more American-sounding name. (That makes me sad for a few reasons.) I also recalled some people whose names make me personally feel a particular way — upset, angry, sad, fearful, anxious. And there are still others when I hear them, I feel joy, love, warmth, happiness. But I couldn’t recall ever hearing a parent say that they regretted giving a particular name to their child/ren.

I worked in various positions in healthcare, primarily women’s health for many years. Names were important, and spellings of those names were extremely important. I used to keep a list in my drawer of the peculiar or unusual ones. Some seemed thoughtful, but others still have me scratching my head to this day. Nonetheless, someone cared about those names enough and whatever was behind them to dole them out to a most precious gift.

How do people respond to your name? How do they feel when they hear it? How do you feel about your own name? How will you hear names after this?

When your parent/s gave you your name, it sounded like love in their soul, like music to their ears, a song etched in their heart, or a sweet memory worthy of sharing. It meant something to the person that thoughtfully gave you your name, and they heard something in it, knew someting about it no one else could hear, see, or feel quite the same.


My name 🙂

The Thing About Suffering…

When you set out to cause suffering in another, you double your own and invite more of it. You cannot escape the suffering you put on others until you give up the practice of causing it, and give up your addiction to that savage, satiating feeling you think fixes you when you cause it.

This manufacturing of suffering is a vicious cycle for all involved. Life brings suffering at times on its own, this is a fact. But the manufacturing of it is something else. It’s abuse, for one thing, and manipulation. But more than that, it’s a whole cycle. The one inflicting the suffering circumstances (manipulator, abuser) is already suffering. What a horrid way to go through life — perpetrating hurt and pain on others. I’ve heard victims say that they don’t understand how the abuser lives such a good life, or gets away with their behavior. I can see how it appears that way, but I think this is mostly false.

Once the cycle starts, the target will find ways to avoid the circumstances and abusers will double-down on their victims, but the suffering continues to return to the manipulator and multiplies by a factor of their own and the person/s they’re hurting. One’s own suffering can’t actually be cured or satiated by inflicting more suffering. And if you’re the abuser, frankly, you give up your right to be angry at the change in people caused by your endless refusal or inability to be decent, or their willingness to go to great lengths to stay out of your line of fire. That’s part of the price you pay. So… more suffering.



Walking & Thinking #7

‘Tis the season to be… whatever YOU make it. Let your heart be the biggest, brightest thing in the room!

Happy, merry all of it.

Aunties, Uncles, Safe Harbor

It’s just the way I grew up, and I thought everybody had this, and I still think everybody should. Be good to your people. It’s just a thought for the holidays.

Growing up, my aunties and uncles were safe harbor.
Sometimes kids need a safe harbor that isn’t a parent.
Everyone benefits.

Happy all of it from my home to yours.