George Floyd – A Path through Silence – Grief, Empathy, Hope
What to say when you don’t know what to say. Like many, I was stunned into horrified silence by the brutal and unjust murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Even now, I write and rewrite this. There are no words. Grief steals them from me. Even the word ‘grief’ isn’t fair or adequate.
Many condolences to the Floyd family and every family who has lost someone to hate.
Words feel feeble when faced with the mountain of injustice that has been ‘normal’ for centuries.
The extent of this wound is deep. And it affects everyone. I have a few ideas I share below on how lightworkers, healers, empaths and allies can use their greatest gifts of compassion and empathy to begin the healing process. And to do so in a way that keeps you grounded in love, courage, and action.
Honestly, I don’t want to go back to the ‘normal’ life I had. The life from what I call The Before, where I could numb out the pain of injustice or plead helplessness because every action and word seems so tiny. I now see how powerful tiny acts of courage and love really truly make a difference.
As a compassionate person, your words matter. Your actions matter.
Think of your actions and words as tiny steps of commitment. It’s about a commitment to continue the 400 year process of healing the 400+ year old problem. Make a 400 year commitment. Make a promise to Gianna Floyd.
That’s a long time. That’s a long way. That’s a big promise to a little girl whose Daddy changed the world. To make that suffering meaningful is the essence of the work ahead of us all.
It’s about doing things now that our grandchildren will be proud of us for. Which means things that are uncomfortable but important.
For those who feel deeply – empaths, healers, lightworkers, and allies – the ability to feel a collective pain like this is a gift. It hurts like hell. The ache never goes away. The cry for help you hear is deafening, but stay open to it so healing can happen. So education and understanding can begin.
It’s painful but necessary. Feeling grief for another human being is an important part of being a compassionate person. It’s okay to feel. It’s okay to be overwhelmed. It’s overwhelming.
If more people had your empathy and compassion, George Floyd would be home today, reading a story to his daughter.
Empathy is the point. Compassion is the message.
This is hard work. But you are strong because you feel. Right now, if you are struck silent by the collective pain of systemic racism and inequity, you have, in large quantities, what the world needs. Compassion. Empathy. Love.
Having a high degree of compassion is not easy. It means that you understand deeply that we are all connected. That what is done to one is done to everyone. You understand this. You feel this.
But now is a moment of change. Now is a moment where we can lend our hearts and compassion to the transformation of the world. It would be easier to lean away. To shut it all off, to try to stop feeling so much.
But empaths! Allies! Lightworkers! Lean in now! Lean into this hard compassionate work when you’d rather lean away because it all hurts so damn much. It hurts so much.
Use your tools, your meditation and self-healing tools, to manage and transmute the pain and grief so that you don’t become numb to it all. To breathe into it and thank the pain, because to feel deeply is a gift that we want more people to have.
Let the pain break wide open, so it can be healed by love.
Let your heart be healed by the very force that is causing it to break. Don’t resist this process, let the light inside you shine.
When you shine in love and compassion, you can reach out to others who are in the work. Use your natural gifts and talents. Bring your creativity to the problem, so it all lifts and gets lighter for everyone. Instead of being a heavy weight that only a few have the burden of carrying.
Racism is like the heavy chains on the first slave on the very first boat. It’s too heavy for one person. So excruciatingly heavy. Like all the caskets of all the people killed in hate. They can’t be carried by one. It needs all of us to lift that. Together it can be manageable.
Racism is also the sickening emptiness of caskets unfilled. Of missing and murdered indigenous women, of bones not able to be put to rest until justice is served. Haunting us every step.
Prejudice is like poison in the water. You can’t see it, but you sure don’t want to drink a glass yourself. And it’s easy to forget about if it’s not in your well. You think it’s not about you, but your water – your life – is connected to every other person. When one suffers, we all suffer.
As a compassionate, caring person, you know this all too well.
It feels like it goes on and on. Because it does.
You’re an ally. I know you are. You wouldn’t be reading this if you weren’t. But you may find it impossible to speak because emotion closes your throat and tears fill your eyes. You don’t want to stay silent. You DON’T stay silent, you’ve been an ally for years, but in this moment, you’re overcome by the loss and maybe fearful of saying the wrong thing.
For an empath, healer, ally, and lightworker, the thought that you might unintentionally cause more hurt is devastating. So it freezes you up. And time goes by, and silence seems like complicity, and it jams up your words even more.
Here’s some help:
As an ally, you will definitely say the wrong thing. So just accept that your words will be faulty, you will fumble this. You’ll do it badly. People might be angry. It’s okay, anger is okay. You’re strong. You can weather it.
Risk saying the wrong thing, so you can say something. And something is better than nothing.
Believe me, it’s not nothing. Its care and love and connection and compassion.
Just talk about how you feel rather than what you think. Ask questions and educate yourself. Read a bit. Watch a bit. Take breaks and then come back. Create a space of kindness when people of colour choose to share their stories. Listen and ground yourself.
Cry when you need to. Laugh when you need to. Its a long road, but you’ve got friends. Get some support and Reiki if it’s too much. Lean into hope and stories of inspiration too. Because there are plenty of those too. Lots.
Trauma and shame will hold you back as an ally. You need to be clear to help the best way you can, by sharing your love, compassion, and empathy with communities that are suffering. By listening and staying grounded in deep love when you sit alongside people and hear their pain.
Do the neverending spiritual work to cultivate compassion for the people who are so completely lost as to hate. Aim to have agape love for the perpetrators. Because “hate is too great a burden to bear,” as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said from lived experience. Hate and shame will burn you out and undo your progress. Switch to the inexhaustible supply of Universal Love. Let that be the energy that sustains you.
Move from anger, grief, hopelessness, and despair to faith. Let it lift you so you can lift others.
Acknowledge the pain, breathe into it, and let the love of the Universe, of Mother Earth, of all the wise ones and guide you. There’s a Love here that is bigger than the pain. Let that Love in now.
Meditate, pray, ask for guidance, take a tiny step, let your heart speak, and know that it matters. Your great-grandchildren will be proud of you. I’m proud of you. Many hands make light work.