Here’s what I want to say about last week, because a lot of shit went down and I’m sure I’ll need the reminder again (probably this week).
Homo sum, humani nil a me alienum puto.
I am a human being, nothing human can be alien to me.
(thanks to Maya Angelou for introducing me to this beautiful quotation from Terence.)
We are all human. And we are all human together. Everywhere you look you’ll find proof of our humanity. If you can’t find it, pause and try again.
You are a whole and complete human being, worthy of love and belonging.
That’s true right now.
You do not need to lose weight, be prettier, be happier, earn more money, be more productive, or anything else in order for me to regard you in this light.
There is nothing you could ever do to make me love you more than I love you right now. I love you so much my heart breaks.
If you choose suicide, that does not change my regard for you. If you choose not suicide, that does not change my regard for you.
I refuse to participate in a discussion that makes anyone’s sovereign decision wrong or less than. The hardest part of last week was that we spent time shaming and hating people and making them wrong. We forgot that humanity is not about desperately avoiding death at all costs; it’s about showing up and living your life in all its complexity. Leaving doesn’t make you wrong.
Generally, my preference is for you to be alive. I like incarnating with you. But your life isn’t about my preferences; your life is about your preferences. Your continued incarnation is the world’s privilege, not our right.
We all have stuff. We are all working on our stuff. It’s a process.
You are not responsible for anyone’s experience but your own. I will always defend the sovereignty of your soul and the legitimacy of your decision.
I’m here. I love you. I don’t care if you need to stay up crying all night long, I will stay with you. If you need the medication again, go ahead and take it – I will love you through that, as well. If you don’t need the medication, I will love you, too. There’s nothing you can ever do to lose my love. I will protect you until you die, and after your death I will still protect you. I am stronger than Depression and I am braver than Loneliness and nothing will ever exhaust me.
– Elizabeth Gilbert
I want you to have whatever you want, truly. I want you to have a life that is vibrant and exciting and full of delight.
There is no definitive proof that being overweight precludes that state of living.
Health and wholeness exist at every size, and I will not shame you for how your body chooses to incarnate. Anyone trying to make you “healthy” through guilt, shame, anxiety, and fear is a fucking parasite and you should physically, emotionally, and psychically reject that message and turn away.
That is not your should.
To whomever is “in charge” in Ferguson, this is not our first goddamn rodeo.
We all understand that having the authority and need to use lethal force against citizens places you entirely in grey area and judgment calls. But you do not get to take the life of a citizen in anonymity. And this shooting did not occur in a vacuum. There is more here.
In the aftermath, you reacted to your fear and discomfort, you chose to not trust us as human beings, and you missed an opportunity to act from wisdom.
You forgot that we’re all human here. We are all capable of mistakes, we are all capable of wrong and lethal decisions, we are all capable of forgiveness.
We also have a vision for justice. That vision does not consist solely of bloodlust for one individual, but rather a change to the collective.
I am not God. I do not know the mystery and hidden meaning behind what you’re going through now.
But I see you.
I trust you.
You are a sovereign human being.
You are not broken; you do not need to be fixed. You do not need to be saved.
We are all in this together.
This week I kept coming back to this quotation by Carlo Levi:
The future has an ancient heart.
As Sugar so eloquently states,
who we become is born of who we most primitively are.
And Robert A. Johnson writes of this internal battle:
The dragon battle is always between progressive and regressive forces within one’s self. Dr. Jung used to pound on the table and say, “It is always a matter of who, never a matter of what.” When I understood who I was in my dragon battle, then it was relatively easy to face the practicalities of what to do.
If you can do nothing else, be a witness to humanity. Come back to your ancient heart and find humanity again.
Witness the good stuff, the mundane, the hard, the struggles, the individuals, the collective, the harrowing, the violent, the incomprehensible, the fear, the defenses, the love, the courage.
Even if you have no words, or even if the only words you have are, “What the actual fuck?”
You don’t have to do anything. You don’t have to pass judgment. You don’t have to fix it. You don’t have to be the first to share your opinion.
In fact, the world might be better off if you didn’t. (yet.)
We could use more people who can pause, standing embodied and unafraid in the face of humanity, and say, “This is who we are. There is nothing about this that is alien to me. I am a citizen of the Earth, and I will not turn away.”
Big changes are possible from this place. Wisdom originates here, in this place.
We are human, we are here to be human, and there is nothing about humanity that is foreign to us.