Be the Light in the Darkness


light-in-darkness

I feel like many of the people who follow this blog are spiritually minded, empathic, lightworkers, healers and peace loving people. I like to think that you read my posts to look for insight into life and living as a better person. I try to share my own experiences in exploring spiritual growth and self-awareness. I occasionally get a bit ranty about social injustice, but for the most part it has been an introspective journey.

Now, I suspect that many people who think (or feel) like I do have hit a wall. The state of the world and the blooming of racism, hatred and social injustice has left a huge, painful hole in our heart. Those of us who are extremely empathic may literally feel the effects physically. We are at a loss for what to do.

I have historically tried not to be too political on this blog (ranty bits aside), but this may mark a change in that policy. Not so much to argue which party is better or worse, but because I feel that the time has come to stop being a quiet supporter of human rights and become a more vocal supporter. It is one thing to simply believe. It is another to do.

water-drop-384649_640I think that part of the problem is that most of us who are highly sensitive, loving people tend to try to avoid negativity as much as possible. We avoid it because of its effect on us physically and mentally. (Not to mention, people might notice us!) We try to spread peace quietly and unobtrusively, but we don’t want to cause too much fuss, not ripple the water too much. Certainly not make any waves.

Unfortunately, it would seem to me that the time has come to break out of our comfort zones and start making sure that EVERYONE knows that we stand up for peace, social justice, and humanity. Too many politicians take for granted the words of a vocal few ignorant, hateful people whose ideals match their own. We need to make Humanity the new political party. We need to do our parts to not let the last 150 years of civil rights and social justice backslide any further than they already have.

What can we do? Find the niche that speaks to you. Write about it. Call your government representatives. Counter messages of hate and disenfranchisement with those of love and inclusion. Learn more about religions that are different than yours and speak up to defend them when you hear someone speak disparagingly about them. Come up with ready responses to hate speech, racism, bigotry and intolerance. Be an example.

How can we protect ourselves from the emotional and physical impact this is bound to have on us? I have written a few things on this you can refer back to, and I’ll try to share more helpful information going forward. Meanwhile, you can check out this post:

I feel like one of the important things to try to remember when we’re working to counter intolerance is to not let ourselves drop to their level. It’s so easy to feel defensive and argumentative, to let hateful words spark our own hateful responses. Rise up. Try to keep your words calm and rational. This is why I recommend having some prepared responses for certain situations, it allows you the opportunity to step back and respond rationally, with less emotion. Don’t be condescending.

Do your research. Don’t believe everything you read on the Internet (even things you agree with). If you’re going to share educational information or statistics, make sure they’re accurate, maybe go one step further and provide resources. Be the smart one.

candle-1338927_640For my first step forward into the darkness, I will be attempting to use this blog to bring awareness to social issues and hopefully sharing some ideas for what spiritually minded, empathic people can do to help. Additionally, I will continue to try to encourage and support you with guidance on self-awareness and spiritual growth. It’s time to step out of the shadows and do our parts to bring light into the darkness. Be the beautiful lightworkers you are.

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Good News Day 37: Homeless Man Protects Young Woman, Changes Her Outlook On Life


When a young woman found herself stranded on dark streets, a homeless man found her a safe place to stay and changed her outlook toward the less fortunate.

Source: Homeless Man Protects Young Woman, Changes Her Outlook On Life

Good News Day 28: 5th-Graders Ditch Recess For Sign Language Club So They Can Chat With Deaf Classmate


For these students, connecting with a classmate was far more important than playtime.

Rhemy Elsey, a fifth-grader at Mark Bills Middle School in Peoria, Illinois, is deaf and primarily uses sign language to communicate, along with the help of an interpreter, WMBD reported. Some of his fellow fifth-graders decided to give up their recess once a week to form an American Sign Language club in order to chat more effectively with Rhemy.

Read more here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/fifth-graders-ditch-recess-for-sign-language-club-so-they-can-chat-with-deaf-classmate_us_56d06c1ee4b0bf0dab31c1cc?pbx=25&te=Upworthy

Good News Day 16: Harvard Launches Free Online Class To Promote Religious Literacy


Sales of the Quran skyrocketed in the United States following 9/11. Perhaps it was a search for answers, or a desire to parse out certain stereotypes, that made some people turn to the Muslim holy text.

But the increased circulation of the Quran due to the recent Paris attacks and rise of the Islamic State has not always helped people to better understand and respect the faith. If anything, fear and prejudice toward Islam has risen.

This is one example of the “widespread illiteracy about religion that spans the globe,” said Diane Moore, director of Harvard Divinity School’s Religious Literacy Project to The Huffington Post.

To combat this illiteracy, Moore and five other religion professors from Harvard University, Harvard Divinity School and Wellesley College are kicking off a free, online series on world religions open to the masses. The courses are being offered via an online learning platform called edX, which Harvard University launched with Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2012 …

Read More Here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/harvard-world-religions-online-class_us_56c76b55e4b041136f16dd0a

Good News Day 10: 8 Photos That Inspired Action


We’re one-quarter of the way through 40 Days of Good News! It’s not hard to find heartwarming posts, pictures, short news clips, but I do find it a little bit of a challenge to find something with a little more content, a little more “meat on its bones” that inspires and gives hope.I hope you’re finding hope and inspiration in these posts as much as I am!

Here is another one that shows the positive power of art. ~Tricia


National Geographic Photo Blog

Source: 8 Photos That Inspired Action

Good News Day 7: Pazamanos – Using Creative Arts Installations to Help Us See Each Other’s Humanness


Art as a means of social awareness instead of angry words and shouting … priceless. ~Tricia

We would like to kick off our mission to shine a light on what’s positive in Colombia with Pazamanos, a 4-year-old organization working primarily in the poorer neighborhoods of Medellin. Pazamanos, meaning peace through hands, aims – through creative arts

Source: ‘Changing the world is tough but it’s worth it’ Interview with Pazamanos

What Do You Do With Your Anger?


MP900385327Anger, while generally labeled a “negative” emotion, does have its place in our repertoire of emotional responses. But, how productive is it to use your anger against others, even if it is for a just cause?

Without delving into a mound of research on emotions and psychology, the basic purpose of anger seems to be to drive us to respond to situations that we perceive as unjust, cruel or harmful; perhaps also feeding our sense of self preservation.

It’s good to have this emotion give us a sense of moral outrage, drive us to react, press us to defend ourselves. On the flip side, it can cause us to lash out at people, say things without thinking, even lead to violence. Perhaps it is a good idea to think about the difference between acting because of anger and reacting in anger.

As a child, if you misbehaved and were shouted at in anger, you might have cried and even felt fear. You probably learned not to do the misbehavior again, but perhaps only because you were frightened and not necessarily because the interaction was positive and educational.

Angry shouting in the workplace creates tension and anxiety. Employees work hard out of fear of eliciting an angry reaction rather than because they love their work or because they simply want to do the best work they can.

MP900399201 Social injustices around the world, from slavery to women’s rights, to Apartheid and more, were positively affected by people who were angry about the cruelty and injustice. Were these problems solved because these angry people shouted in the streets, took shovels to the heads of the offenders, or otherwise reacted in anger to the situation? Some of this no doubt happened, but it is likely what eventually solved the problem.

It was the intelligent, thoughtful, angry person – who was spurred into positive action by their anger, that likely made the biggest difference. These people educated the masses, debated the laws and got involved on the grassroots level, rather than in defensive, reactive ways.

Shouting, bullying and berating, and certainly violence, do not win people over to your cause. It prevents them from interacting with you about it at all. They don’t hear what you are saying over your shouting. Perhaps they even avoid a cause they might have otherwise supported, simply because of a bad interaction with someone reacting in anger.

Whatever your political, religious, or social beliefs, whatever makes you angry; stop. Think first. Is this angry response really going to have the effect that you are hoping for? Or is just going to alienate your cause and drive away potential supporters? Or, worse, hurt someone?

MP900430643 Find positive ways to approach what makes you angry. Accept that there might be people that you simply cannot change, let them go and move on to the people you can. Publically flogging transgressors went out with the dark ages. Private (or calm public) discussions and negotiations are likely to be much more meaningful and effective. Treat them with respect and they will respect you, and your cause.

While it is by no means easy to always remember to stop and think before reacting in anger, it can help to keep the simple Serenity Prayer in mind (insert favorite deity as desired):

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

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