I am writing you today with a heavy heart. I imagine your heart may be feeling heavy too. I have been struggling with wanting to write about the social unrest that has recently flared up in America, yet feeling like I don’t have anything to add, and that I certainly don’t know how to fix what is very, very broken.
In the past, I’ve attended Black Lives Matter meetings, contributed to the NAACP, and spoken up when I hear racial slurs. Yet those actions are so tiny in comparison to the enormity of this festering problem. Again, I find myself feeling that my voice is small…what could I possibly say to the Create Vibrant Health community that would matter? What do I really know about being discriminated against because of my skin color? This morning, I woke up with the words of one of my favorite speeches of all time running through my mind:
In a way, to be indifferent to that suffering is what makes the human being inhuman.
Indifference, after all, is more dangerous than anger and hatred. Anger can at times be creative. One writes a great poem, a great song. One does something special for the sake of humanity because one is angry at the injustice that one witnesses. But indifference is never creative. You may even at times respond to hatred. You fight it. You publicly criticize it. You disarm it.
Indifference elicits no response. Indifference is not a response. Indifference is not a beginning; it is an end. And, therefore, indifference is always the friend of the enemy. It benefits the aggressor. It never benefits his victim, whose pain is magnified when he or she feels forgotten….In not seeing [the victims] as humans, we become less human, too.
Indifference, then, is not only a sin, it is a punishment.
~Elie Wiesel, The Perils of Indifference
And so, I must speak. I may not say anything new, but sometimes repeating what has already been said—with great passion and intention—can move people from indifference to the Love that always lies in their heart. Even when—or maybe especially when—they’ve lost access to it.
I recently published a book called Wild World, Joyful Heart, writing about the “regular” wildness of our world. Little did I know that I was writing that book for what would turn out to be the most wild and tumultuous year we’ve seen in a very long time in America. And as I was re-reading my own book at the wee hours of this morning, searching for solace, direction, something…I came across these words:
Indeed, our modern landscape is crying out for more health, balance, clarity, and Love. For more harmony and grace. For more space to hear the beating of our faithful human heart. There’s nothing as powerful as an idea whose time has come; and the time has come for us to awaken to our innate health, joy, and interconnection—our innate well-being. And to live that with courage and passion.
We’ll never have a perfect world, and it would be impossible and dangerous to seek one. Aside from perfection being a myth, it would be challenging at best to reach consensus among the billions of members in our human family on what perfection looks, smells, tastes like. Yet evolution, from a place of integration and inclusivity—while honoring individuality and differentiation—is possible and needed. You are the one we’ve been waiting for.
My invitation to you is this: more often in your days, choose Love over fear, choose mindful over mindless, choose empowerment of others instead of power over others, choose honesty over lying, choose curiosity instead of toxic certainty, choose compassion over judgment. Choose to more joyfully inhabit your life, adjusting your dimmer switch so that your light shines and contributes to a more Loving and more sane world.
The NAME of our country is the UNITED States of America. United. United we stand, divided we fall. For people to be discriminated against due to the color of their skin is not only sad and outrageous and criminal, but it goes against the very fabric of being human. We all manifestations of the same Light in our days on this earth. We are all humans Being. As Mr. Wiesel so eloquently said, when we turn down the dimmer switch of that inner Light—through violence to another, through discrimination, or through indifference—we become less human.
George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor. We say their names, while remembering the countless Black lives that have senselessly ended before them. We stand in solidarity with the Black members of our human family, and we won’t continue to tolerate the inequality, the violence, and the injustice that are a part of the systemic racism that damages and dishonors our country, our human sisters and brothers, and the humanity of us all.
This uprising is not to be ignored. It’s been a long time coming. I don’t know the answers, but I do know how I feel: heartbroken. I don’t know the answers but I do know that indifference, silence or rejection (“It’s not my problem”) is not the answer. We must create positive change in the very fabric of our country’s collective heart…TOGETHER.
With love in my heavy heart,