“[…]there’s no single answer that will solve all of our future problems. There’s no magic bullet. Instead there are thousands of answers–at least. You can be one of them if you choose to be.” – Octavia Butler
“A balanced spiritual life means taking time out to nurture yourself. Taking time to meditate, pray, and to reflect on the blessings that you’ve received. It also means taking time out to nurture others. Even in challenging times, there’s always some time to be grateful for. Find the light; focus on the positive; believe that you can make a difference.” – James Weeks/Across The King’s River
I didn’t want to talk about Trayvon Martin. I’m weary from it. I know I’m not alone when I say the verdict threatened to break me completely. I don’t know what to say to my children, to my best friend, whose three sons are seen as a threat and hunted JUST because they exist. I wasn’t expecting Zimmerman to be found guilty, because I know our history, and I know what this system is set up to do. But having the reminder thrown in my face, to be reminded that black bodies are seen as valueless and that the justice system is designed and will be upheld to protect white supremacist ideology, threatened to break me – right in half.
And I’m not going to argue about how race was or was not a factor. To deny racism is apathetic ignorance and very dangerous. If you don’t understand how racism is more than calling someone a “nigger,” if you don’t understand that racism lies in everything from the educational system to the healthcare institution, then I advise you to start here, because that’s not what I’m here for. Educate yourselves.
I’ve been feeling guilty about being happy while all of this is going on. Feeling guilty about not immersing in it, about living my life. Moving forward. I laughed at something the other day and guilt sat on my chest like that elephant in that COPD commercial, even though I’m keenly aware of how healing and necessary laughter is, especially for us Black folk. I feel guilty, even in the midst of knowing that living my life and doing so with peace, is active resistance in a world that would rather see me dead, miserable, or locked up in a jail cell or padded room. And as someone who battles depression, the emotional impact of dwelling in all the fuckery of the world can be fatal for me (which is also something that needs to be discussed). And I’ve got kids to raise and oceans to swim in, so #ANGTFT.
What comes out of too-consistent tragedies like these is the urge to do something. We’re propelled into action, forced to right the wrongs. This life is about the constant balance of Darkness and Light, of “Good” and “Evil.” We can never completely eradicate the injustices of the world; Chaos and Peace go hand in hand. But we must act to ensure that the scales don’t tip completely in favor of Chaos.
Trayvon’s murder and the wave of consciousness that it is causing is forcing us to find ourselves, to find and play our role. We’re killing our children; we’re killing ourselves. We need to fix this shit. And we need to start with ourselves. You can’t create a peaceful world if you are dealing with internal chaos. And my personal struggle right now is finding that which calls my spirit, moving in it, and being secure in it – finding my peace.
So in the midst of all of this, I’ve been trying to find my place in the movement for balance. I’ve signed petitions, I’ve shared FB links and tweets, I’ve participated in justice rallies, and I’ve joined conversations about where to go from here, how to heal, and so on. I’ve also been trying to stay aware and engaged with this and other world issues, keeping myself educated outside of, and in addition to, the mainstream media.
But still, I’ve been feeling like I’m not doing enough, that I’m not being enough of an “activist,” that I should be doing…I don’t know, something. Something else, something more to quiet the simmering rage and pain inside of me. I should volunteer somewhere or adopt a kitten, or something …
I know my place. I find peace in spirituality, on alignment with the Universe – or Nature, or “God” or whatever you want to call the divine life force that connects us as beings (and I’m not talking about religion, I’m talking beyond religion) . And moving in and writing from that perspective is my place. But we live in world where a focus on real connection to Life Force, where alignment with our shared divinity, is not a priority. It’s not the order of the day . And because of that, I sometimes feel my role in the struggle is insufficient.
I spoke to a very good friend about how I’ve been feeling, and she bandaged my heart with these words: “So I’m going to encourage you to embrace your personal cause and fight for it, because doing so aligns you to the Universe, and that creates peace. In finding your place in the struggle, remember that you are the fight; you are the resistance.” It is luring to be a front line activist. And if that was my path, I would have been in it with little to no internal conflict. The causes are very real. But I cannot get lost in the noise. I must be clear on my path, my way to contribute to the movement. Because being where I need to be helps others do the same.
All of the things I’ve done DO help, but I need to focus on what it is that I do best, so that I’m giving my full self. I need to get my mind right and remind myself that I am enough. I am more than enough. And what I have to offer to the world, to the struggle, to peace, is valuable. So to myself, and to you, who may be struggling to find your place in all of this, I say: Know your role in the (R)Evolution. Be secure in what you bring. Academics, Spiritualists, Artists, Lovers, Farmers – ALL are necessary, ALL are valued, ALL are warriors. Trust your journey.
And lastly, thank you, Trayvon Martin, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, for sacrificing yourselves in order to wake us up and help heal the world. Your son was not murdered in vain. We will never forget.