I’ll be honest. I was struggling quite a bit at our recent Rise Up racial justice conference on October 18. I was so excited to share with all our participants the progress Penny Lane and communities had made in decreasing racial and social injustices but then my light was dimmed by the horror of October 7.
The Brutality, hatred, and suffering I saw was so overwhelming for me I could not find the words for my opening remarks. And deep down I knew if I was so profoundly impacted, how were the people that had loved ones in the region feeling? And not only was there fear for what was happening there but there was real fear for what was happening in their own communities. I knew many did not they feel safe to send their kids to school. Many were afraid to go to their places of worship. And so many felt silenced as if they couldn’t to speak the truth in their hearts. I couldn’t imagine.
It wasn’t just for the people directly impacted but also for those of us that have chosen or been called to the path of helping others in their darkest times, we recognize and resonate this horror all too well. How many of us have seen a child brutalized? How many of us have seen families torn apart? How many times in our work have we encountered senseless and callous actions towards the innocent? We feel what is happening deeply and want to do something, anything. And as compassionate healers, we don’t get a day off or the luxury of turning away. It stays with us and reawakens old heartbreak.
What can I say? I can only tell you what we were trying to do at Penny Lane. First and foremost, we must check in with those that are struggling. Sometimes just a simple “how are you?” or “you are in my heart” is enough. Other times, making the time to sit down and just be with someone may be what is needed. It’s important to ask, “what can I do to help the most in this moment?”
Secondly, and I say this coming from an agency that is all about taking action, now is the time to take a pause and listen. I think this is especially true for leaders that feel the need to make statements or take a position. Sometimes, and I believe this is one of those times, the best action we can take is to listen to each other.
And finally, we must remember that love, kindness, inclusivity and belonging start in our own workplaces and communities. We need to keep showing up. We need to stay engaged. We need to choose compassion and understanding. And we must be the light in the darkness.