it feels like every time some unspeakably sad thing happens, there are those who respond from a genuine place of sadness, anger, grief…and then come the scarcity of solidarity folks:
“why are people only talking about this thing here, and not this thing over there?”
there is enough pain to go around, and people are moved to emotion by different things – starving children, murdered children, a ruined artistic genius, an ongoing genocidal injustice, apartheid, the human onslaught against nature…where is it written that we must have a hierarchy in our pain? where is it written that we are allowed a finite amount of empathy?
it is particularly sad to see attacks on the ‘mal-educated’ consumer…capitalism underdevelops our relationship building capacity, while upgrading our fear on a slow and steady path towards paranoia and gated living. capitalism survives on certain guidelines of fame and fear that dictate aspects of our emotions whether we like to admit it or not.
rather than railing against those who express their grief, their solidarity of emotion with the struggle of another living creature’s suffering, contribute something meaningful to the discourse.
instead of smashing on folks for not having your precise analysis of power and injustice and -isms in the world, or not choosing to respond emotionally to the thing you think is most important or tragic, make a connection. show me what you feel, move me, make a connection between what moves you and what moves me.
I have not found a limit to how much my heart can ache, how grief stricken I can be. there is some efficiency, in fact, to opening up the heart to the grief it needs to feel, instead of comparing incomparable pain, or repressing it. once I let my heart feel the pain, I can move back into the work I do in the world, the small way that I can do such work, to transform the world by transforming myself.
and sometimes a distant sadness can render me human again, when I have been too involved in tasks and not in being, feeling. the pain is all related in my heart, that of losing a loved one, that of acts of violence from one human against others, from a government against it’s own people or others, or of one person against themselves. the pain is born out of the loss of something I love…life. this loss, and the grief that accompanies it, in all different forms and conditions and expressions, it’s ALL part of our human condition.
it’s all ours.
if there is a pain you think is being missed, don’t list it as an also-ran anti-solidarity bit in a thread of thoughts about the most current tragic news-trend. shout it out on its own merit, let it draw its own response from the abundant pool of human solidarity and emotion.
more importantly, feel it yourself. let it flood through you.
don’t build up a wall between those we should feel love, compassion, empathy and grief for, and those we shouldn’t.
it’s the separation that is a myth. it is the hierarchy of suffering that keeps us from each other. the borders, those are the thing to rail against. it is humanity that died alone in a house in London, whose song could not save her. it is humanity that was attacked on that island in Norway, in the streets of Norway, every day in Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, humanity is starving in Somalia. humanity is hurting.
we must transform ourselves to experience the world, all of it, as a whole of which we are a part. we have our walls and fences and passwords and keys and we have forgotten much of what it means to be community, to experience solidarity with each other’s joys and sorrows at a somatic level.
whatever it is that gets us outside ourselves, feeling something because of the suffering or loss of anything, let that be. that pain is sacred, and educational. it takes nothing from your pain.
let it be.
p.s. this is not in any way to say, read more mainstream news and immerse yourself in things you can do nothing about. you know how i feel about that. it is instead to say, sometimes feeling IS what you can do. most of the time, feeling and then sharing the story with another is what you can do. when you share, do it from abundance, not in competition with another’s pain or need, but because it is what you, and your community, can do.