By Alisa Carr
(This was first written in February 2018. Today I share it following yet another tragic school shooting in South Texas. I’m not willing, yet, to give up on Peace!)
I had an emotional and powerful conversation with a client yesterday. (She gave me permission to share this…)
It began with a large dose of grief, helplessness, and outrage as yet another tragedy of violence – the shooting in FL – takes hold of our hearts. She used words like “awful, horrible, terrible, heart-breaking” to describe how she was doing with it, how her week was, and just her state of mind in general. As the conversation went on, though, I kept hearing examples of what I saw as, actually beautiful and expansive.
Her grown children reaching out to her in their pain. An intimacy with her husband that allowed her to invite him into having an open-hearted compassionate prayer for the shooter. A recognition of a yearning to give of herself to young people who would be at risk of experiencing loneliness, isolation, and rejection.
I was struck with the two stories that she was telling. One of horror and hopelessness; one of connection and compassion.
One part of her was telling the story of, “It is so horrible that these things are happening so frequently in our country and no one knows what to do about it.” Another part was saying, “I have so much gratitude to be having these kinds of conversations with my family and to be seeing the place in me that’s blossoming so much that I want to contribute with my gifts.” The first part having judgment for the second, so that it could barely be acknowledged as they were living together, side by side. The story of beauty and nurturing becoming buried within the one of anger and pain.
This is a woman who has had way more than her share of abuse and physical illness in her life, and whose protective parts have often kept her true light hidden from others, and, more importantly, hidden from herself. To see that light begin to shine so brightly, in the midst of such tragedy; to see her protective parts, prone to judge or condemn a perpetrator, relax enough to have such compassion – it was, and is, beautiful beyond measure.
To hold lightness and darkness together; and in the midst of darkness, to still see the flicker of light.
To allow light to emerge out of the darkest dark – That is where we are, it seems.
That is what we are being invited to do and to BE.
We are not the first to be here. We’ve been taught about this phenomenon over and over, by many Teachers from many traditions. My wager is that if we can learn this lesson, we might just get to experience Peace on Earth.