In the Heart Lives Justice

You can enslave a body.
You can even trick a mind into believing it’s so.
But you’ll never enslave a heart that knows its right to be free.

You can cage a body.
You can manipulate the mind to believe it’s locked.
But you’ll never smother a heart from being free.

You can cast a body into darkness.
You can convince the mind that it’s in an abyss.
But you’ll never consume the light from the heart.

You can refuse to see the effects of bondage.
You can let your mind choose deafness.
But you’ll never silence a heart that longs for justice.

You can turn away from the past.
You can silence your mind to the facts.
But the heart that has been chained will not let you rest.

You can busy the body endlessly.
You can overwhelm the mind with details.
But you can’t silence a heart that grows toward the sunlight.

You can use a body as a barrier.
You can chain a mind to the fools.
But another’s heart you cannot own.

You can kill the body.
You can kill the mind.
But the heart’s beat will be heard beyond its life.

You can take a body.
You can take over a mind.
But the heart chooses why it beats.

You can jail a body.
You can incarcerate a mind.
The heart roams where it wants.

You can beat a body.
You can gaslight a mind.
But the heart is made of freedom.

You can chain a body.
You can warp the mind.
You can’t fool the heart.

You can blind the body.
You can persuade the mind it’s captive.
But the heart will always know it beats for the whole.

You can keep a body in poverty.
You can train a mind to believe it’s stuck.
The heart will always know it belongs to the universe.

You can separate a body from its birthright.
You can teach a mind to hate.
But the heart yearns to be free from that bondage.

You can engulf the body in hegemony.
You can train the mind to ignore bias.
The heart absorbs the toxins.

You can dress a body like it’s free.
You can teach a mind to live in the masses.
But the heart will continue to cry out: No justice, no peace.

Debora Lynn Garcia


White Stone Ceremony 2021

When "Just Love" Is Just Words Instead of a Verb

ūüíó

There’s a lot of requests to “just love” in the past couple days.

This is popular when there is a tragedy, whether it’s a large scale disaster, or something that just hits local or home. Notice the word “just” is put in front of the word “love” to indicate that it really is a simple thing, that it really needs to happen, and that it will really make all the difference.


I don’t think it’s surprising that this request comes in droves when a major tragedy occurs.¬† Not at all.¬† Nor do I think it is somehow wrong or inappropriate. We are touched and moved in various ways by these occurrences, and so it seems natural o reach out in this way.


But why aren’t we doing this every day regardless of circumstances? Why aren’t we doing less talking and more listening in the first place — and in all places and for all people? Why do we wait until a terrible thing that showed us what a lack of love and conscience looks like, to remember to “just love?”¬†

What does your “just love” look like? What does it mean?¬† Are certain individuals or groups left out? You see, if our “just love” is meant to invoke a loving change or a change for more love, then it begins with you, me, the person stating it — not “them,” or over there somewhere. If your “just love” is meant as a plea or a reminder for people to change their hearts and minds, this must also apply to you. Otherwise it is an empty plea.¬†

“Just love” doesn’t mean that you have to start agreeing with everybody. What it looks like (if you actually want change) is the willingness to hear people that may think or act or look differently than you. It’s real easy and a cop-out from your statement to “just love” the same people that you just loved the day before the tragedy. There is absolutely no change in that. So when the dust settles from the current tragedy, guess what we have! We have the same thing we had before the tragedy — the very thing that we said we didn’t want to see any more of.

Is your “just love” just words, or is it a jump into action?

Do you have a plan to include those you left out before? I think that most of us know that one of the best ways we can show love and respect for another is to give them our attention and consideration. When we minimize, ignore, or ridicule another person’s experience based off of the simple, and simple-minded, fact that it is different from our own, that is absolutely not “just love.” It is, at its least, thoughtless. At its most, it shows up as tragedy in various forms and depths.

 

So the next time you broadcast “just love” as a mend, please make sure it’s not “just words.” Love is, after all, a verb, too.

ūüíó

A Smattering Is a Big Measure

I grew up in a culturally diverse neighborhood, and probably not all that surprising, my family is quite diverse as well. ¬†We are multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-religious, multi-generational, multi-political, feminists, gay and lesbian… you name it, we’ve multi’d it! ¬†We share a common public service theme, i.e., teachers, healthcare workers, therapists, social workers, cops, and firefighters. ¬†We love our music — all types, and I can’t think of one of us that won’t cut a rug when a tune plays whether anyone else thinks we look good doing it or not. ¬†Essentially, we have a smattering of just about every socioeconomic group you might think of… just about. ¬†I think that makes us special, and I know it is a blessing.

Today, however, I’m not wanting to talk about how special we are or why. ¬†To be straightforward, we buried my mother-in-law yesterday, and I’m feeling drawn inward by the whole experience. Today I want to express why being special in this way and having this blessing is really two other things: an opportunity and an obligation. ¬†Depending on the day, I may feel stronger about one or the other, but my mind will never change about the importance of either. ¬†People don’t often like the word “obligation,” and I’ll bet a lot of people tuned out when they read that one. ¬†It’s not a bad word — just something to live into, not always up to. ¬†This is the case with a family like mine. ¬†This is where people are missing the boat, so to speak. ¬†My family is special, but we are not unique, and we are becoming less and less unique as time flies by. ¬†That’s why this feels so important to me. My own family’s demographics are much like the rest of our country’s, just on a smaller, easier to view scale — a microcosm.

The opportunity in a family like ours is a rich one, not unlike our total human family. But the opportunity doesn’t exist at all if we refuse to listen to each other. This is true of the human existence overall — no different than my own special family. ¬†If we refuse (I won’t use the word “can’t” here, because it really is a refusal.) to validate each other’s individual life experiences we are truly doomed. ¬†Our family is doomed. ¬†This country is doomed, and you can follow the trail from there. ¬†Because we don’t look the same; because we don’t worship the same; because we have lived in different parts of the country; all these things have given us different experiences — ones that we don’t all share. For some reason those of us who don’t share them feel that those experiences somehow don’t exist or lack validity. ¬†We pick and choose simple arguments to prove our points, rather than just simply listening to our loved one’s experiences. ¬†Isn’t that crazy? I personally find it near insane and completely unloving that we’d rather pick a random article, written by a random unknown person to prove our preconceived notion than to lend our loved ones our ear, much less grant them some validation, or better yet, give them some credence and climb on board.

I posted this the other day after watching some family and some friends do and say some very destructive things, and also out of worry for another whom I think could be selling herself short:

Don’t limit yourself by listening only to those who you know are already in agreement with you, and be mindful of surrounding yourself with limited thinkers. ¬†Growth and learning don’t happen in the dark. ¬†Open your heart and soul to the light of others.

Then in response:

I used to think it was common sense, but not anymore. ¬†I really think it’s a learned skill, and a heart condition that is WILLING to hear another’s experience and validate it, even in the possibility of learning that we might need to admit we need to change our own thinking. ¬†Most people just can’t align with this. ¬†We’d rather stand in our rightness and righteousness than to admit we might be wrong or not understand something fully. ¬†It’s sad.

I realize there is a lot of obligation wrapped up in this post, but I hope that the readers can recognize how much opportunity there is as well, and that they actually go hand-in-hand. There is ALWAYS obligation if you want opportunity. ¬†However, often when we associate obligation with family and close friends it may feel like opening the door to be trampled upon, or like extra work. ¬†That is not at all what I’m suggesting, nor am I suggesting that you do the trampling. ¬†But if you can’t own up to the obligation of who you are in your family, and even bigger, the world, you absolutely will miss out on the opportunity to love and be loved for who you are as well.¬†¬†You absolutely will miss out on blessings that will undoubtedly enrich your life. ¬†If you can see the differences only as something to immediately dismiss and/or disagree with, you are ultimately selling yourself short, though you may at first be selling the other short. ¬†You will be the one who loses out in the end. ¬†At any time and any place in life when you deny someone their right to just “be” in their existence, to allow them the space to have an expression of how life occurs for them, you are also shutting the door on yourself. ¬†Imagine that it would be like an opportunity to step through a door that takes you on a trip through a place you’ve never seen, but choosing to just shut the door instead.

It’s real comfortable to go through life only with people that already agree with you. ¬†It’s easy to read only things that you already know, or things that sound like what you already say. ¬†It’s even easier to spread posts and articles without drilling down and researching what is being put out there simply because we like what it says. ¬†How does this enrich your life? ¬†Where is the learning? ¬†Where is the discovery? ¬†Where is the growth in this kind of behavior and thinking? ¬†This is actually inaction at its finest, and it’s also sadly the stuff that is not worth hurting people we care about over, yet it happens daily. ¬†We are quick to be indifferent to or minimize someone’s experience when it is something we don’t know, and adamant about standing in our own opinion even in the face of losing someone, even in the face of limiting our own experiences. ¬†We humans will do all this, risk all this, avoid all this — ¬†because we would rather be right than to just listen.

We could change the world, but we refuse to even change our minds.  A smattering is more than you think.  We can only change the world one mind at a time, but we forget we must start with our own.  Give yourself the opportunity of living into something more than what you already know.

A Smattering of My Beloveds