I read the quote I used as the title for this blog posted on Facebook this morning. It filled me with hope as I related it to everything I’ve experienced recently in living through the COVID-19 Pandemic and an uprising in the Black Lives Matters campaign for social justice. It feels like I’ve been living through a storm of sorts. Challenges and obstacles appear to be popping up everywhere, but at the same time, it’s been an invaluable learning curve.
I think that challenges can really force us into a position where we really have to let go of the bullshit that we carry because in the face of challenges it becomes too heavy. Thoughts about our reputation, what people might think of us, and worrying about how we might be perceived seem to take a back seat when faced with real-life challenges and responsibilities.
Truth has an opportunity to come to the forefront.
“Truth never damages a cause that is just” ~ Mahatma Gandhi
When the truth of what is happening (and of what we think and feel about) is allowed to be at the forefront of what we do it makes life simpler, even in times of great difficulty.
Saying something is easy- when it actually feels hard- is worse than just admitting that it’s hard because not only do you have to deal with what you’re doing being a struggle, you now also have to try and live up to the illusion that you are finding it easy. It’s hard to do this when there are very real dangers and threats being displayed around us and so I’ve learned that it’s much easier to just be honest about the reality of what is happening and if something is hard, admitting it is hard.
Living through this pandemic is hard. It’s been the biggest real-life threat that I have had to deal with in my lifetime and I imagine for many others too. The uncertainty about how to act in times like this has been difficult- as well as assessing the conflicting information being circulated in the media.
“Wear a mask.”
“Don’t wear a mask.”
“Support a vaccine.”
“Don’t support a vaccine.”
To be caught up in the back and forth of what to do and what not to do is enough to give me a headache and so I find peace in looking to a different source of support to guide me in the decisions I make.
The natural and universal source of the energy of life.
The energy that creates and sustains everything.
The energy that supports us in ways we may not even acknowledge or recognise on a day-to-day basis.
This intuitive wisdom that has grown my body and provided it with the wisdom of how to get through difficult circumstances is what I am looking at for guidance and support. This is where I look to know how to make the best choices in trying to navigate through this situation. I imagine I will get things wrong at times, I always do, but it’s been supporting me since the dawn of my conception, so if I’m betting my money on anything, it’s that. The natural wisdom and intelligence that we all have access to within us.
I also think that this wisdom can support us in all kinds of scenarios we face within our lives. Such as the Black Lives Matter movement.
I had no idea that this movement would hit me so hard in forcing me to wake up to and challenge my own ignorance and insecurities around discussing race and promoting social justice.
As a mixed-race woman, I found it difficult to know where to place myself in the debate. I was raised in a town that is notoriously racist and I have experienced racial bullying throughout my life. This treatment conditioned me from a young age that I should never challenge a white person to a point where I might piss them off because I represent not only myself but my entire race. Conditioning taught me that if I make trouble for a white person then that risks me making trouble for another black person somewhere else in the world who might have to deal with the backlash of that behaviour.
I’ve found this debate and process so enlightening in helping me to see through the bullshit of my own ignorant thoughts and that I can be a whole human being in life. That I can behave in a way that might risk pissing people off without feeling like I’m burdening the entire race of black/ mixed-race people with my actions. I saw how I as an individual could live fully and in peace, as a mixed-race woman, regardless of how anyone in the world might view that. I saw that this insight is what I can offer to others in this fight for social justice.
We can live as ourselves in wholeness, in peace, and in love. Our capacity for freedom is not derived from the thoughts and opinions of ourselves and anyone around us. It is determined by our presence and existence in life which is already defined. It cannot be given to us or taken away by anyone. We can only recognise it, or fail to see it for ourselves.
As we wake up to our freedom as individuals we can share this understanding with others. That we are each free to live our lives in peace, love, and wholeness — regardless of our defining features- and we can stand up to injustice where we see it.
I think the quote from Maya Angelou spoke to me because it feels like we’re in a sticky part of the pandemic where everything feels uncertain. There is no real end in sight as yet and no real way of knowing how this is all going to play out.
In the darkness of that uncertainty it can be helpful to remember that even in the darkest and heaviest of storms, the rain can’t last forever.
Lots of love, Shaneen x