“Darkness cannot drive out darkness. Only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate. Only love can do that.”

Rev. Martin Luther King

I’ve always been a bit, ok maybe more than a bit, of a talker.  They didn’t call me Chatty Cathy for nothing!  And I’m a natural teacher, question asker, puzzle doer and problem solver.  As you might imagine, putting these ingredients together, I spent a good part of my life “fixing” what I perceived as wrong or broken.  The operative word here is perceived.

There have been times when that particular combination of talents, along with a quick wit and sense of humor, were helpful and appreciated. There were other times when they were, let’s just say, not.

As I’ve grown as a therapist, coach, teacher, friend and mother, I do a lot less telling people what to do, whether that be my clients, my kids, my friends or my family than I used to.  I avoid phrases such as “you need to, or you should, or you have to” and instead, invite those I love and work with to “consider or open up to or imagine” a different way of thinking or acting.

As I continue to work on letting go of my own attachment to the outcome, and trust that they have their own journey, own learning and own guidance to follow, I feel less inclined to try and fix anyone.  I’m learning the difference between caring and carrying.

I understand that we each come to this human life with our own history, perspective and Soul journey. I believe that each person has their own connection to inner guidance and higher knowing. I do my best to support them in deepening that connection to their unique inner guidance system.

I try to be conscious of not “shoulding” all over myself or anyone else.

Until now. My heart has been broken over and over these last few months, and I know that many of you feel the same way.

The times that we are in, with the murder, violence, hatred and divisiveness that are being experienced throughout our country and our world on what seems to be a daily basis, call for a different response. I feel a need to speak my truth more forcefully.

In the midst of the horror and pain and heartbreak, I am also lifted up by the love that I see, hear and feel expressed by so many people and communities.  Even though I struggle daily to live into my own higher knowing and can find myself falling into the same divisiveness and hatred that I am railing against, this is what I know to be true.

I must love more, not less, in the face of violence and hatred. And yes, this includes love for the ones who are perpetrating these heinous acts.

I must do the inner work that will allow me to open more fully to these truths.

I must question the familial, social and cultural beliefs that keep me separate and thinking that I am different from my brothers and sisters.

I must see each human being, at their core essence, as a holy and unique expression of divine creation.

I must listen more and speak less, listening with ears of love to hear the many ways in which we are the same rather than to how we are different.

I must speak out against hatred and bigotry in all its forms, even when it is inconvenient or uncomfortable.

I agree with this powerful distinction made by Marianne Williamson,

“Love is not the absence of violence. Violence is the absence of love.”

In my first draft of this post I prefaced all of the must statements with the word WE.  And then I realized that, no matter how strongly I feel, it is still not up to me to tell anyone else what they must think or do.

I am solely responsible for my thoughts, beliefs, choices and actions, as you are for yours. I rewrote those statements in the first person to reflect that I can speak only for myself. And if how I carry myself or what I say or do, touches or inspires anyone, then so be it.

I wish you peace and send you love in these difficult times.

From my sacred heart to yours,