When thinking about those who show great courage by doing what is unthinkable, unpopular, near impossible, I wonder what compels such behavior.
What makes somebody go into war zones and save children?
What makes somebody hide Jews from Nazis or Tutsis from Hutus? What makes people walk in the front of the line peacefully on a bridge in Selma knowing they could be beaten and perhaps killed? How did the people protecting Standing Rock endure water cannons in freezing temperatures?
What makes a child stand with another child who is being ridiculed by her peers? What compelled my wife to get down on the street in Austin last month to save a man's life instead of walking over him like the masses around us were doing?
Courage, from my point of view, occurs when one's integrity and heart are in alignment and perhaps it is that alignment that creates empathy. And perhaps empathy, feeling the pain that others are experiencing, is what makes us do the unthinkable, or what is humanely right, and what we deem as courageous.
The beauty and challenge of the time we live in right now is how much courage is required. How much pain we have to witness and endure at the hands of those without integrity.
How our hearts have broken wide open to bare witness to the helplessness of families whose sons are innocently murdered by police as the justice system fails. The pain of the bigotry in New Orleans over confederate statues. Imagining the fear our immigrant neighbors feel each time they leave their homes. And knowing in Chechnya, Gay people are being murdered because of who they love. That if I lived in Chechnya, my family would be encouraged to murder me.
The truth is that none of us are well, if any of us are unjustly suffering. Regardless of how many places I travel to, how many friends I have, how great my business is, even if my health is good, if any member of my human family (as Obama put it) is suffering, we all suffer.
Each time we awaken to the suffering of others, each time we donate to a cause or a campaign, each time we pick up the phone, or show up for a protest, each time we encourage each other to be kinder, each time we stop needing to be right in order to be in relationship - we are changing the course of our history.
Courage shows up in acts big and small. In loving vulnerably. In reaching out when it's hard to do. By trying different. By experiencing pain and joy as it hurts to be this awake and it's in full integrity to be this awake.
TODAY'S EASY ACTIVISM
1. If you haven't yet, watch Obama's acceptance speech for the JFK Courage Award.
2. It's Town Hall season again as MoC are home for recess. Connect with your local Indivisible Group to find out what you can do when and where. And for us in blue states with blue representatives, continue expressing thanks for voting against #ACHA and for humanity.
3. The EPA and Department of the Interior are firing those with the facts. They are reducing these two agencies, whose purpose is to protect the environment and our public lands, to garbage dumps. Let your Representatives know this is acceptable. Give to environmental organizations like Greenpeace and Earth First. And call the EPA (202) 564-4700 and Department of the Interior (202) 208-3100 and demand protection for our water, air and public lands.
VIVE LA FRANCE!
In love and gratitude -