Guilt or Love?
The situation in the middle east is nothing short of heartbreaking. The word “inhumane” doesn’t begin to describe the crushing pain of the situation. It is hard to watch and harder to turn away. But what does one do?
As much as I want to help I am not hopping on a plane to Syria tomorrow. And the level of complexity is so difficult with the interests of Russia and Iran all playing a major role and shocking the rest of the world.
So what to do now? Does it serve us to wallow in guilt or feeling helpless? Is it right to feel shame from posting things about matcha, gratitude, and happiness in the midst of these horrors? Is it wrong to hold space in our hearts for that deep sadness, and yet go on trying to live a happy and fulfilled life?
No. It’s not wrong to want to live a good life in the midst of suffering. Ultimately, all of us suffer. Ultimately, all of us want to be happy. Ultimately, we all encounter pain, loss, and deep grief. So what to do when one part of the world – and it’s most innocent – seem to be receiving the majority of that pain and suffering?
I think this poem by Jose Chaves sums it up nicely:
"What can we do
About the horror
If you have money,
Donate to the hospitals
And humanitarian convoys.
If you have time,
Spread the word,
Grow the outrage.
But always keep the love,
And raise the consciousness."
As an admittedly oft-guilt-ridden person, I'm finally realizing that guilt helps no one – except the person who claims it, by somehow excusing herself with at least some feelings of discomfort and negativity about the situation at hand. I'm recognizing that guilt is self serving and that helplessness is a myth.
Instead of shaking your head and throwing your hands up about the complex situation in Syria, donate your money, your time in discussion, or your love. And do your best to raise the consciousness of yourself and this piece of world you inhabit. We are all connected and the work we do within ourselves and our intimate communities WILL eventually impact the tenor of the world.
Let it come from a guilt-free place of love, and let it serve as a vehicle to your own freedom from suffering; therein it will influence the freedom of others.