Sending love to the world (again)

Image by the fantabulous Caroline Chappell
Image by the fantabulous Caroline Chappell

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.




Feeling your feelings

Feelings are just feelings. They can be clues to help us adjust the way we’re doing things and make improvements we might never have considered if not for that anger, sadness, grief or frustration.

Which feelings are you most comfortable with?

Which make you most uncomfortable?

How might you be more welcoming of even those feelings? Not to act on them (lashing out etc) but to pause and think about how you can support yourself (or ask others for help) through them?

If you hurt your knee, you wouldn’t keep trying to run and jump, ignoring the pangs of pain.

You’d rest it, ice it, bandage or do whatever it needed (and maybe see a doctor and / or physiotherapist).

We know that ignoring and pushing through physical pain can lead to injury.

Yet we often try to ignore emotional pain (‘Oh, I’ll just have another packet of crisps / whisky / something else that perhaps isn’t the healthiest of options’).

So you might want to experiment with it, if even just for a moment.

Next time you notice an ‘unpleasant’ feeling, give yourself permission to actually FEEL it. You may need to cry, punch pillows, stamp your feet, journal or whatever else you think of.

Play with it and you may be surprised by how quickly, once you stop resisting it, the feeling shifts…

Metta x