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1 (855) EMPATHY

Life and communication coaching for women.

In the Wake of Vegas: Speaking Up and Out

Wisdom

In the Wake of Vegas: Speaking Up and Out

Marina Smerling

We are heart broken.  
Horrified.  
So many beside ourselves with grief.  

So many struggling to make cognitive sense of the dissonant pieces - the images of horror, the feelings of devastation and of rage, all within a soft, fleshy body containing a heart that longs to love.

You are not crazy - no.  The circumstances are crazy-making.

In the wake of this, it is tempting to shut down.  To close up shop.  To post a sign - "Gone fishing" - perhaps forever.  Determined not to return until such acts are obsolete, and it feels safe again to rest back into our bodies and walk freely on the planet.

And of course, this week's events only gives us a taste of the state-sanctioned violence carried in the minds and bodies of so many people of color in our nation today.  The great grandchildren of the 300 Lakota massacred at Wounded Knee.  The grand-children of the 300 African-Americans whose lives were taken in Greenwood, Oklahoma, when a few courageous souls tried to stop a public lynching.  

Our instincts matter here.  Our impulses matter:

No.
More.
Violence.
Enough is enough.

I want to say three things:

#1: Dare to feel, my friends. To the extent you are able, let it be here - your aching grief, your frozen terror, your holy rage furious and on fire to protect what is innocent.  Let it be here.  You are human.  And this is what humans do.  We feel.  And in the feeling, things move.  We recover our capacity to be, to exist, to function.  

(Note for trauma-ridden, overwrought bodies: if it's too much, and you find yourself shutting down and disassociating, stop.  Be gentle.  Feed your body what is soothing instead.)

#2: Dare to act, even in the midst of profound uncertainty.  So many of us freeze up in hopelessness and despair, having lost a sense that our actions will ever have any impact.  It's time to to act vulnerably, even when we can guarantee no outcome.

One visualization I like: Sit quietly, and imagine your power as a glowing orb finding its way back to you, down from the stratosphere of overwhelm and hopelessness.  As the orb approaches, let it multiply into two, and land softly in the open palm of each hand.  See your power glowing bright, alive with its own intelligence.

What does it want to say?  

Let it speak. Sign that petition.  Make that phone call. Talk to your friends, co-workers, neighbors, beloveds. 

Your God-given voice is beautiful.  Use it.  

#3: Rest.  Our bodies need breaks if we are to be sustainable.  And undoubtedly, we're in this for the long haul.  So act - and then rest up.  You'll need that energy for the next round of organizing.

Here is one way to take vulnerable action today: 

Breathe deep.  Remember your voice is essential.  Then pick up the phone and call your Congress person.  Ask them to pass legislation banning the horrendous device known as a "bump stock," which allowed the gunman in Vegas to turn his rifle into an automatic weapon.  

Don't know have your Congress person's number in your phone?  Dial (202) 224-3121 and enter your zip code.  

Then exhale....

We are here for love.  Our bodies, our voices, our impulses to step forward to protect all life - they are all here for love.  

So may we feel, and may we act - even when we feel vulnerable and scared and hopeless.  We we continue to take a stand for the life force in us that will not be squelched.  That will not be snuffed out.  That will not be silenced.

And remember you are not alone.  There are a thousand hands and hearts at your side, and a thousand more behind you.  

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