How to Get the Good Back

Dear You,

You in this letter who may also be me. You, the person feeling disappointed in the world, grieving for the way we treat ourselves. I feel much the same.

Today, I sat and breathed with my hand over my beating heart, just so I could feel a realness within me. I listened for proof that I existed, that there was blood still flowing in my veins. Because in the midst of this violence, of this clearing dust, I felt small and swallowed and wholly un-real and wholly helpless. For a moment, I was afraid I disappeared completely.

There are things we can all commit to doing.

We can speak out against injustice, big or small, when we see it happening in front of us.

We can write to our leaders and demand our rights and the rights of others and fair and equal treatment under the law.

We can stand with our brothers and sisters, peacefully, when they are in need. 

Those are things we should all be doing on a regular basis, knee-jerk reaction, no hesitation when we are faced with the moment. That is how we define our lives — how we make ourselves real.

But when the moment is not before you. When you are alone, or working your regular job, or passing people on the street, or just lucky enough to be carrying on with the mundanity of every passing day of your life, everything blissfully soft and silent as you do nothing more than shop for your groceries — does the commitment still stand? When you are no longer in the eye of the moment, how do you make yourself real?

When tragedy is before us and we are all riled and ready to go, necessary action is easy to come by. But action does not have to end with the passing of the week.

Let us honor the tragedy by committing each and every moment to mindful loving kindness.

No agenda. No conversion. Just straight up, pure as hell love for our fellow selves. Compassion for those who are hurting. Compassion for those who have hurt because surely they have seen the depths of pain as well.

Cutting each other down, whether in actions or words, even a passing comment on the street or online, only serves to cut our entire human body down.

Not one of us succeeds when we continually stab ourselves in the back.

We will bleed out. 

Justice is a funny thing — a thing with which I sometimes struggle to see the value. Seeking justice in a vengeful manner will always leave the scales unbalanced. You took something from me and hurt me and my own; now I take from you and hurt those you love.

Of course, evil cannot go unchecked. It cannot be allowed to fester and grow under our skins. But this old idea of an eye for an eye screams of a time we have long evolved past.

How to check evil? How to replace evil intention with good? Right the wrongs you see without an expectation of retribution.

Good deeds done with an expectation of a trade-off are not good deeds after all. Justice sought with the intention of destroying the other party is no kind of justice at all.

The truest good is done without hesitation, without the hope of a payoff. It is done simply because it is right.

So here’s what I commit to do today, all day and everyday, to the best of my very human ability:

I resolve to walk through this world with kindness in each step. I resolve to look mindfully at my world and stay awake to my choices and actions, and to make choices and act in ways that bring positivity and compassion to this grieving world. I recognize what I can and cannot control and what we can all control is how we react, both in the face of adversity and in the face of our every day, grocery-shopping lives.

I commit to living each moment as a fundamental tribute to loving kindness.

I have no expectation of doing this perfectly. But I will try.

Let us grieve. Let us be kind. Let us love.

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