This Is How Love Works.
The world is in a state of rebirth.
As with all major shifts, these times of sadness, war, fear, hatred, divisiveness, anger, and mistrust are here to awaken a new state of consciousness. As a people, we grow through pain. As a species, we heal through growth. And as spiritual beings, we awaken through healing.
This time will be an historic time. You can feel the energy pulsating in every headline, in every election, around every dinner table, at every protest, and in every pounding heart. There is a magnetism surrounding the world that is shifting, and its pull is over all humankind. Its pull is toward greater compassion. Its pull is toward deeper understanding. Its pull is toward fuller connection. Its pull is toward higher consciousness.
Blood pressure is up. Tensions are high. Fear is rampant. Anger is common. Exhaustion is spreading. In these conditions, people tend to feel hopeless, helpless, and overwhelmed. Across all nations and within all religions and political affiliations, there is unrest. There is tumult. There is discord. There is restlessness.
But it doesn’t have to be this way!
If I could leave any legacy on this earth after I am gone, it is this: You have control over your experience. Not necessarily over your life circumstances. Not over what others do to you. Not what happens around you. But over your experience of life, you have complete control. In recognizing and owning this truth lies all the power and freedom the Universe has to offer.
“I cherish my own freedom dearly, but I care even more for your freedom.” ~ Nelson Mandela
Every now and then, something happens — more likely, someone happens — which causes us to turn the mirror on ourselves. In the United States in particular, we are being forced to face our gritty and unsavory past of racism, bigotry, white-privilege, and inequality in ways that have, for the most part, remained politely tucked away from the public eye for hundreds of years. Our new president has shed light on the dysfunction that has persisted even within our revered democracy. Beyond white-privilege, we have been collectively blinded by our unique form of American-privilege. We are not equal. We are not post-racial. We are not classless.
On February 2-4, 2017 in Washington DC, I was fortunate enough to attend the Sister Giant summit hosted by Marianne Williamson and Derrick Harkins. While my hope was to feel inspired and emboldened — which I was, by such speakers as Rebelle’s own Vera de Chalambert — there was also a sense of moral superiority that did not sit well in my gut.
On Friday night, we screened a film by director Roger Weisberg, hosted by actor and comedian John Fugelsang. The documentary Dream On is an investigation into the American Dream and what it means for people today. Of the many touching stories of struggle, despair, triumph, and tenderness, there was one story which particularly compelled me. It was when John met with white-supremacist leader and immigration opponent, Jared Taylor.
At various other periods in the documentary, the liberal Sister Giant audience applauded freely. They praised the struggling family as they longed for a better life for their children. They cheered and congratulated the imprisoned black man who earned his college degree and seeks to be an example for his nephews.
But when Taylor came on screen and he was being asked honest, probing questions about his beliefs, you could hear snorts, laughter, and tangible derision. Hatred and self-righteousness was rising such that one could not even hear Mr. Taylor’s remarks. My heart ached. Though you may not agree with his stance. Though you may find his arguments to be uncomfortable or ignorant. Though you may firmly believe he is wrong on all counts. Does this man deserve less respect as a human being than the struggling couple? Does his perspective garner less compassion than the imprisoned man who, though convicted for past sins, seeks to live a higher, more aligned life?
“No man chooses evil because it is evil; he only mistakes it for happiness, the good he seeks.” ~ Mary Wollstonecraft
People are taking to the streets to march with signs saying, “Build bridges, not walls.” And yet some of these same people will sit in a room full of 1500 of their closest allies and mock those with whom they disagree.
Sister Giant was advertised to be a place where peace and love were being brought into politics. The goal was to educate people on political and social issues, and to provide strategies or pathways to change. In this gathering of sharply left-leaning progressives, I was reminded of just how much the world is in need of growth and a leveling-up spiritually. There is no love in mockery. There is no education in judgment. There is no change in goading each other on in anger.
This is not how love works.
At the inauguration, alt-right leader Richard B. Spencer was punched in the face during an interview, and people cheered and defended the act.
This is not how love works.
At water coolers and in living rooms across the country, if not the world, people mock Donald Trump’s intelligence, mental health, and appearance. As if who he is as a person is evil and offensive.
This is not how love works.
And yet, I see no cause for alarm. I see no reason to gird up our loins and march into battles waged in anger and fear. Because, good always prevails.
It is our job as the higher consciousness community — creatives, yogis, seekers, meditators, mindfulness practitioners, witches — to spread light. Compassion spreads by having an open heart and an open mind to understand and hear the other.
And this can only happen if we take control over our experience, own our emotions, and stop pinning them on other people’s wrong, bad, evil, or oppressive ideas.
“You have very little morally persuasive power with people who can feel your underlying contempt.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
At a soul level, we are all connected. At a scientific level, we are all minuscule, inconsequential clusters of atoms. At a universal level, we are all that has ever been and will ever be here. We owe it to ourselves and to our collective consciousness to seek to understand rather than deride. To seek to love rather than to hate. To seek to exemplify peace rather than blame others for our unease.
This is not to say that we should ignore when something is wrong. One could argue it is our moral and ethical responsibility to speak up when something insults our soul. But speaking up is not tearing down another. Speaking up is rising, in our words, actions, and thoughts, to a place of connectedness and peace.
So take this legacy with you into the streets and metaphorical battlegrounds over the coming weeks and months: You choose how you will perceive the world. You choose how you will respond to your perception. You choose how you will show up in your response.
This is how love works.
Jennie Willoughby is a former-school-teacher-turned-mindfulness-warrior from Washington DC, whose passion is the resiliency of the human spirit and the ability for all students, young and old, to reach their highest potential despite adversity. After quitting her job and selling off her possessions to travel the world, Jennie began writing and speaking about the benefits of mindfulness, meditation, owning your choices and creating an intentional life. Her work facilitating an orgastic future can be found at Borne Back Ceaselessly.