Two weeks ago, Monday, May 25th, George Floyd was murdered by a police officer. Two others restrained him, and a fourth kept help away.
This incident, unlike so many, has ignited protests and forced those of us who are White to look at our privilege.
Here in the U.S. I may have taken my privilege for granted but when I was in Nepal in 1993, it was moment by moment clear. The color of my skin set me apart, elevated me, protected me. When I was in the mountains in the Everest region, I was allowed into places the local Native people were not. I was “special”. I hope that’s changed.
When my children were young, I was a Terwilliger Nature Guide, trained to spot snakes and plants, and shout out just like her, “Something Special”, and yet, of course, everything is special. A weed is a plant growing where someone chooses not to want it. We now know the nutritional value of dandelions. Many always did.
Yesterday I was guided into my body to feel what’s going on for me. At first, I felt my jaw drop down into a pouch like a pelican pouch. Putting my thoughts there, monkey mind, I could feel the draining out of excess like water, but also how thoughts could be digested, used as needed, and eliminated as purely waste which most are.
Now, the murder of a man on the street is asking us, requiring us, to pay attention. We’re noticing our responses, habits, thoughts. Difficult as this time has been, I am awake. I wake in the morning, alert, feeling myself 360 degrees around like a tree. There is no front and back, no separation. I’m immersed in a world that asks me to be awake to it, to shine a light on my shadow and examine how I am in this world, my relationship to where I live and how I connect, listen, and receive, so I can be clear in how I give.
What I felt yesterday when I paused to feel is that I’m bruised inside. This is trauma for all of us as we come together to heal wounds visible and invisible. This is no attempt to compare wounds, or how each of us bleeds, but simply to say my current mantra is Thich Nhat Hanh’s poem, “Please Call Me by My True Names”. It carries the compassion needed to heal our times.