“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” — Mahatma Gandhi
I’ve spent the last week listening and learning. I’ve witnessed the injustice, violence, pain, courage, humour, wisdom and leadership of the #blacklivesmatter revolution. I’ve felt angry, sad, shocked, culpable, inspired, transformed. Mostly, I’ve felt deep love for every individual and all of humanity.
My eyes, ears and heart are wide open. I’ve read, listened, donated, shared, watched, discussed. I’ve talked with my four kids to hear their views and shared with them my take on what’s happening in the world.
I’ve been obsessed with understanding human behaviour since I was a child. At 12 I began immersing myself in learning about the Holocaust, the civil rights movement, slavery, the assassinations of the 60s, feminism, apartheid, serial killers, cults, and every facet of the dark side of life I could find. I wanted to understand how people can hurt people — how we can be so violent towards each other. I wanted to understand how we can do better.
I focused my studies on the leaders — Martin Luther King, Jr, John F. Kennedy, Nelson Mandela, Gandhi, Mother Theresa, Gandhi, Frida Kahlo, and many more — the catalysts for net positive change in the world. I’ve studied the ancient wisdom traditions and what they have to say about good vs evil. I’ve looked to literature, film, art and music for guidance. I wanted to understand what makes one person become Hitler and another Jesus. How does this happen?
The conclusion I’ve come to is that we all have the same capacity for love and hate within us. We all have a little bit of Hitler and a little bit of Jesus and a little bit of every single facet of human behaviour within us. I am that. Sometimes I’m mean, I judge, I’m angry, I’m scared, I hurt others, I’m hurt, I’m kind, I’m fun, I’m sexy, I’m boring, I’m playful, I’m loving, I’m compassionate. The one constant message I’ve received from everything I’ve learned is that who we become depends on the seeds within us that get watered. Fear begets fear. Hate begets hate. Love begets love.
As I point the fingers at others, I ask myself, how are they “just like me?” How have I behaved in that way, maybe to a lesser extent, in the past? How might I do the exact same thing, had I had their life circumstances? One thing I know for sure is that hurt people hurt people. At the root of all evil is a human who feels deep fear or pain.
“If each of us would only sweep our own doorstep, the whole World would be clean.” — Mother Teresa
As I reflect on how I can do better, be better, I begin with me. I have devoted my life to doing the deep inner work to clear my vessel of the trauma, wounding, samskaras, that cause me pain and create the illusion of separation from others and from the source energy of love. I’m committed to lifelong learning about the experiences of others, today and throughout history. I am deeply committed to raising four extraordinary humans that I know will be love leaders out in the world. I’m more committed than ever to the work I do with leaders (and I believe that every human has the capacity to be a leader, through your example) to help you heal your pain and get clarity on your purpose, vision and values, so you may be a vessel and an amplifier of truth, love, compassion and kindness in the world.
I see you, I’m with you, together we rise!
“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” — Nelson Mandela