"We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools." - Reverend Martin Luther King Jr
Just as the pandemic is shedding light on things previously unseen or ignored, the pain inflaming cities and hearts across the country, has much to tell us about who we are. As we’ve witnessed so graphically with the spread of COVID-19, there is no escaping the truth that we are all connected, what happens to one of us impacts all of us.
With life presenting multiple challenges and hardships right now, we all need to be mindful that however open our own hearts might be to the suffering of others, there is also the human tendency to feel insecure and unsafe in the face of disruption to our every day lives.
We all have this shadow side that can be triggered by basic survival fears:
An inner voice operating from a position of “there’s not enough to go around” that warns us that resources are limited and that if somebody else becomes empowered, if somebody else “wins”, it will take something away from us. Then, the voice says, we will get less and then we will suffer. This reactive and closed mindset has led to many of the world’s ills, creating unjust structures and systems that oppress and destroy others for the benefit of the few.
The irony is, of course, as events unfold today it is blindingly obvious that the exact opposite is true. When we support systems, either directly, carelessly or apathetically, where other people are kept down so that we can take more and feel better about ourselves, we are creating a world that is increasingly painful. A world built on injustice will always, as history teaches us and as we are witnessing, reach a boiling point. This not only compromises our safety and security but directly impacts our quality of life in every conceivable way, physically, economically and spiritually. No matter who we are, no matter how powerful we feel, the quality of all of our lives becomes increasingly corroded. It’s a lose lose situation.
We all have a choice to make our world better. Nowhere is this more graphically illustrated than in the uplifting sight of police kneeling in front of demonstrators versus the devastating images of force and brutality. By recognizing and putting aside our need to control other people, by moving beyond the fear of other people’s power, we can support others to be the very best they can be. Each and everyone of us has a unique gift to share and it’s not difficult to see how much better the world would be if we all had the opportunity to operate at our best. If we all encourage and support one another to reach our fullest potential so that we can share our gifts with one another, quite simply our lives will be better.
We are living through days of tumultuous change and historical significance. Let’s make our mark on history by coming together and empowering one another to do better, be better and make our world a better place for each and everyone of us.