Putting My Issues Into Perspective: Sending Love to Places in Conflict

Northern California 2009

The other day, Luca and I watched the film Beasts of No Nation, and it got me thinking… I am so incredibly privileged to be living the life that I am. The movie is the story of one little boy in Africa whose family is displaced and brutally murdered in the civil war in an unnamed African country, leading him to be picked up by a battalion of child soldiers after wandering lost in the bush.  Without going into the details, I will say that his childhood in this rebel army battalion is unfathomable.  It is heartbreaking and devastating and dumbfounding to think about the fact that this brutality and loss of innocence is a reality in Africa and in so many other parts of the world in other ways today.  We Westerners are SO LUCKY.  

I’ve been super wrapped up in my worries and stresses about Luca and my impending move to the States, but thinking about the very real struggles that other citizens of this planet go through every single day puts my issues into perspective.  It’s so important to educate ourselves about the world instead of staying wrapped up in our own little bubbles and worrying so much about things that truly AREN’T problems.  

I’ve been worrying about where Luca and I will live when we get to America, simply because we haven’t yet chosen between three options/job opportunities when at this very moment, refugees from Syria are struggling to make their way into Europe to simply have a chance at life with NO idea where they will live.

I’ve been afraid of terrorist attacks on public transport in Rome and stressed about changing my habits to avoid possible targets for attacks while people in various countries in Africa, in Syria and the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, places where war is an actual reality, live their day to day life with the threat of gunfire and bombs hanging over their heads.

It seems like every time I turn on the news, there’s another shooting, more people killed, more people displaced.  And that’s only the things they actually show on the news: atrocities happen all over the world all the time, and because they are ongoing conflicts, we, and the media, often lose interest because they don’t affect us.  

“…We are taught that brown people killing brown people is not senseless; it’s expected and it’s normal. We, though most of us have no real ties to France, have immediately lifted them in our hearts. This is something we should do. However, the lack of mourning for the deaths of the innocent people in Syria, Baghdad, Beirut – and wherever else violence has touched – shows our bias and how ready we are to canonize and pray for a select few. We pray for those in the west, those that personify our western exceptionalism and ideals rooted in what whiteness designates as worthy of attention. We are taught to mourn with Paris, but not with Beirut or even Newark or Chicago. Social media outlets implement ways to honor certain victims, but not others. Parisians are cloaked in martyrdom while Lebanese are met with silence and blame as they await the coming of our mourning. That in itself is terrorism, for it teaches people that they aren’t valued. It places a hierarchy on who is to be grieved and is contradictory of any assertions that all lives matter.” — George Arnett

This world and all of its inhabitants need all the love it/we can get.

Spread love.

Be the light.

Practice gratitude.

I am so incredibly grateful for the health and safety of my family and friends.  I am grateful for my education and the opportunities it has given me.  I am grateful for the ability I have had to travel, see a little bit of the world, and widen my perspective on cultures and races.  I am grateful for my home and the food that is always available to me (I know I take that one for granted, because it’s always been my reality).  I am grateful for the technology to keep in touch with my loved ones.  I am grateful for my healthy, strong, able body that walks me from place to place and sweats it out in yoga and breathes in the crisp autumn air.  

Most of all, I am grateful for this miracle, as Gabby Bernstein defines a miracle: this “change in perspective,” this magic moment when my perspective is widened and I can think differently about my life and things I perceive to be problems.

What are you grateful for today and every day?  

As always, so much love and light.

xx Katie


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