By Lisa Catania, LCSW
Recently I became disheartened when someone I love and respect said that they weren’t sure if they could get behind forgiveness given the state of the world. This broke my heart a bit because this person is generous with understanding and optimism, and is the voice of reason in almost every situation.
Flashback to 25+ years ago: My heart was so ready to have children, but I was in a real state of depression over the ills of humanity. I feared that I would be adding to overpopulation, depleting resources and dooming my children and possible grandchildren to a sick, dying, polluted earth and so much suffering. A kind–hearted, church-going woman heard my angst at the right time and said, “We need good people in the future.” Simple, yet freeing words. I had the bravery to have my children and I have tried my best to help them be good in this deeply troubled, yet still-so-beautiful world.
People are in a state of fear and polarization, and teetering on hateful rage, right? How do we find the right path when it is so easy to hate right now?
I don’t know the answer, but I know deep in my soul that it has to do with the revolution/evolution of the collective consciousness and empowered action. And that it starts from within. We need to show up where we live first, within ourselves, and eradicate our own voice of entitled justification to judge and condemn. I invite you to stop and ask yourself repeatedly: Whatever I want to condemn, do I possess that in myself? And: How am I adding to the collective problem? And: How can I be the change I want to see?
On my personal Facebook page, I recently went on a small rant about people making a million forms of pollution on a beautiful beach. Friends cheered me on. But then I had to call myself out – I am as much a part of the problem as everyone else. Sure, I pack up my plastics, carry them from the beach and place them in the garbage. But then the garbage goes to a dump and flies up in the air and lands on the beach, and when I see it, I’m blaming other people. I got humble and walked the beach, picking up a big bag of stuff. I said hello and smiled at each person I met, thinking, “I am you, you are me, we are each wonderful and awful, and so worthy of respect and compassion” and hoping that they could feel something stir in their soul that might propel them to see our collective mess and grab a garbage bag too.
We each need to wake up, stop being so complacent/detached/disempowered/critical and look at how we are perpetuating the problem. We need to take steps to create what we value. It is a big, but essential, endeavor requiring a lot of humility, self-compassion and self-forgiveness, and a lot of accountability and action. And it’s also surprisingly empowering, softening, and hopeful.
Please don’t give up! Please continue to love, hope and forgive. Please be accountable and responsible. The world needs YOU to be the difference. Anyone want to join me in a new movement? #letmetellyouhowiamtheproblem and #whatiamdoingaboutit.