Trite and hippyish as it may sound, sending love / loving kindness / metta etc isn’t easy.
Sometimes, it can be hard enough to wish ourselves well let alone people we see as ‘other’ or worse. It can be really challenging to see people we disagree with and attempting to send compassion and loving kindness rather than judgment.
I mean, who does that (be it ploughing into innocent people crossing a bridge and stabbing a policeman or boiling a prisoner alive… I could go on with horrors from just this week but won’t)?
And then, of course, there’s the judgment about how we ‘should’ all react. As if we could legislate our feelings even if we wanted to.
Over the years, I’ve learned that allowing myself to feel whatever I’m feeling is the best way through it. Judging myself for crying more over London than Mosul (I was born there, lived there for years, am in every week and passed through on Wednesday) wouldn’t have helped anyone.
Far more lives were lost in Mosul this week and I consciously feel guiltier as ‘our side’ is responsible yet, I can’t control what I cry over. Similarly, my tears for London were different to my (more intense) sobbing over the murder (and lack of his murderers being charged) of Darren Rainey in Florida and Timothy Caughman in New York.
I feel compelled to state, aloud, that (I hope!) most people who look white DON’T think like the awful white supremacist who killed him. I also feel rage at the injustice that as a white looking woman, I’m not expected to have to speak out against that in the way that, for example, peace loving Muslims are expected to denounce attacks that extremists undertake.
I feel hopeless when I think about terrorists but I don’t feel as afraid of them (nothing – that I know of – I can do to control or even influence their actions) as I do about a certain English woman who is passing off her hate speech on US telly as the norm for (diverse! Inclusive!) London.
However we feel, whatever our reactions – to global or more personal tragedies – we have a right to our feelings.
The more we give ourselves a bit of time and space to process and grieve and heal, the less likely we are to mess things up even more badly by lashing out at people we disagree with.
This is something simple, though not easy, that we can all do (should we want to) to contribute a teeny bit towards creating a safer, more peaceful world for all of us.
What might you do to be extra kind to yourself today?
Feel free to share below.