Remembering Our Humanity

I’m not much of a political person. If I speak out, I tend to do so for those who cannot- creatures of the world who are at the mercy of the hand of man. I listen to worldly events, however I don’t fall too far into their web, you will find me at the periphery, looking into the chaos, walking away to think things over, but doing what I need to do to keep my heart light.

My mum is an eternal optimist. I like to think that I take after her. No matter what is going on in the lives of our family or beyond, Mum has a gift for finding the silver lining, for knowing exactly how to stand up again and place one foot in front of the other, without turning around and getting bogged down permanently by the carnage that may lay behind. She is a knowledgeable woman, a deeply compassionate woman, yet she is also sensible, she has a trait that I feel is missing somewhat in this next generation- the understanding that life must go on.

I like to think that I inherited these qualities off her to a degree. I like to think of myself as someone who sees the silver lining in equal parts to the dark brooding clouds. I like to think of myself as someone who knows that after the heaviest of downpours, the golden sun will reappear- and that for life to flourish, both are needed.

And yet, I feel my resilience being tested this week, or perhaps this year. I find myself teetering on the brink of falling into the muddled mess that the media creates and consequently losing myself. I find myself quavering in the shadows, wanting to dive in deeper, but fearing my ability to keep hope alive in my heart if I do so.

It’s so very easy to nestle down with the negatives; to throw your hands sky-high and surrender, ‘The world is totally fucked, and there is nothing left that we can do.’ It feels like that sometimes- right?

We see ourselves as a tiny ant, a single cell, an insignificant molecule that couldn’t possibly make a difference. We may even feel that we have the answers, that we see things as they could and perhaps should be, we hold compassion in our hearts and wish that everyone could do the same, yet ultimately, we feel alone, lost, unsure – unsure of how to share this message in a way that shall fall upon listening ears…

When it all gets too much and the world ceases to make sense to me, I often find myself going into hibernation or retreat. For a long time I believed that as long as I was being a good person, as long as I was being the change I wanted to see, as long as I was integral to my own beliefs, that was enough. I was quite proud of this way of walking through the world, and yet the time came when I realized that no, this wasn’t enough.

I was born into a privileged part of the world with education, sanitation, medicine, equal rights, safety- the whole world at my fingertips. If you are reading this, then chances are you too are one of the privileged. I realised that if I truly believed in equality, compassion and unity, then segregating myself from the rest of the world was hypocritical. Me being me simply wasn’t enough to shift the balance.

So here I stand now, still in limbo- wondering how I can keep my heart intact and keep my silver-lined world alive while simultaneously dipping my toes a little further into the darkness, finding ways to speak and act that cause a ripple strong enough to be felt and gentle enough to be heard.

I’m learning how to process things that in the past I would have shunned. I’m learning how to listen, assimilate and share my own views. What I am learning most is that with every set back, every atrocity, every dark cloud, there is indeed a wave of compassion, of loving retaliation, of unity.

In the wake of the Nepalese Earthquake I have been overwhelmed by the love and support shown and the financial aid given to those in need. One friend in particular has managed to raise $5000 in three days to send one of his friends and employees home to Katmandu to his family in need.

In the wake of the Bali executions I have witnessed people come together to grieve- not only for the lives lost, but for the lives lost under an outdated and unacceptable form of punishment. I still see snippets of an ‘Us Versus Them’ mentality, I still feel that the crime committed was done so with clear knowledge of the consequences if caught, I still hear words that shun an entire country for the act of a handful of leaders in power and yet, I see others learning from the harsh example set, I see less drugs on the streets, I see less young people being drawn into the temptation of trafficking. Death is never the answer, yet in cases where the harshest of sentences has been carried out, lessons are all that lay in the wake to be scooped up and carried away. Scattered pieces of a wider puzzle that needs to be made sense of together.

In the wake of the government re-opening the possibility for Coal Steam Gas Mining in the Northern Rivers, I have not heard a single word of blame. I have seen the same words appear again and again- ‘We’re ready- stronger, wiser, more powerful than ever before.’ There shall be no surrender at Bentley, there shall be a worldwide example of people claiming their land, their right to clean water, to health, to the safety of their families and future.

We are rising. We are seeing. We are feeling. We are creating new pathways and paradigms.

Slowly.

I see no point in bickering, in judging, in pointing fingers and giving up.

I see no point in dancing within the media circus and falling prey to their manipulations.

I see no point in anything other than these three things-

Compassion.
Non-judgement.
Unity.

When we understand our inherent connection, that we are indeed all in this together, the boundaries and barriers fade away.

We need to open our eyes to the bigger picture, the picture beyond the television or computer screen. We need to see each person for who and what they are- a mother, a brother, a sister, a husband, a parent, a cousin, a lover, a friend. When we look into the eyes of another human being, this is where the silver lining lives. This is where peace exists. This is the focus. This is the answer. This is humanity in all of its perfect imperfection. This is why we are here.