When Being Silent is Not An Option

It seems that each day brings a new assault to our senses. Regardless of where you sit on the political divide, the news is filled with upsetting and alienating reports. As a therapist and citizen of this world I feel strongly about the need for justice and equal treatment for all. Sadly, not only has the American system of Justice failed us but so has our government. Gone are the days where Washington at least pretends to be even handed. Sadly this is also true in many other countries. There is no refuge except in our shared outrage and the caring and attention we can offer others. One person at a time.

Not only is there a lack of justice but the powers that be sprout polemics that invite people at the margins of our society to take up arms and kill or maim their fellow man whom they dehumanize and demonize.

As I write this I feel compelled to share that I am writing this not only because it touches my life personally, as it dismantles so many of the advances in civil rights (for people of color, people of different religions and of differing sexual persuasions) that my family fought so hard for, but also because it has shaken so many of my patients and friends. This saddens me to the core.

I’m a white woman of privilege and as such I can ‘pass’. I can if I desire, turn off the TV, stop reading the news and be relatively untouched by the fear that permeates so much of daily existence. What I do instead is work with my patients to make sense of their increased anxiety, fear and reactivity which are normal reactions to this incendiary world that we are living in. In this process, this naming and recognizing, this connecting with compassion to the parts of themselves that are struggling, we can make space for healing. We can accept that sometimes not being ok is ok. We can find ways to ‘change the channel’ inside of us and focus on what is nourishing in our lives.

For now it is one breath at a time, one heart beat at a time; looking for ways to express kindness and connection, one person at a time, one smile at a time.