Finding hope in the listening...

After my last two email newsletters, I received dozens of responses asking me to keep sharing about these difficult topics of heartbreak, racial injustice, and loss. I'm in the process of writing a few songs, so those are coming too.... but in the meantime, I've been trying to capture what I've been thinking and feeling.

I struggle with not liking the computer screen, and so I tried something new by recording my thoughts into a short 5 minute podcast telling you a little of what's on my heart and mind. You can play the mp3 attached to this post, or just listen here.

Beginning of July I wrote a response from my heart about what is going on in our country right now. And since then my wife and I started a talking and listening group every Friday night (we've done 4 meetings so far), talking about racism, racial justice and white privilege....

This past Friday in that talking and listening meeting, I found a lot of hope.

It was so healing to hear from other people who care so much and who are willing to look at really hard things inside themselves. And to be supported in that conversation and in that kind of looking.

I think a part of why it can be so difficult to look at things that are hard (like racism and white privilege) is because I have a real attachment to being “a good person”...to this idea of what it is to be a good person.  

And when I am in a situation where suddenly there is a possibility that I could be seen as “a bad person” or that I see myself as “a bad person”... I get really defensive and I want to say all the things that make me a good person so I don’t get sucked into that bad person label.  Do you experience that too? 

And now I am thinking, oh my gosh that has kept me from seeing a lot of truths in my own heart and mind.

People are complicated.  Human beings are complicated, and I know this from meditation practice, this idea that a human being is not a "good" person or a "bad" person, that we’re just clunky people making choices all the time, and those choices come from causes and conditions. That’s from my spiritual practice, but applying some of those ideas to what’s happening right now has really been quite a leap for me.  

And so being in a group with people talking about these things, I can’t even express that I am having some real wholesome joy….  I believe it’s wholesome because it feels so rooted in tenderness. I do feel in many ways that I am at the very beginning of my journey to understand what it means to be a white person in a country, a country that I believe values white people over people of color, and there are many structural ways we show that. I want to be a part of the solution and see more clearly what the problems are.  

And I know that this is hard to think about and even harder to talk about, and my own heart is aching with that tenderness trying to find the “right words” or you know, to try to find the right way to talk or to think or even to learn in a way that doesn’t hurt so much, that doesn’t show how ignorant I still am.  

From this group of sharing I know now that I am not alone. We are not alone in this, this trying to wake up. And with the difficulty of waking up with integrity and with a sense of connection.

I believe that THIS is the direction of healing and hope, talking and listening to one another… and moving into the uncomfortable spaces that these conversations allow us to do... And then really seeing what we haven’t been able to see. 

I think moving into these uncomfortable places with compassion and kindness towards myself and others, I’m filled with a lot of gratitude for this awakening.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. I’d love to hear what you’re thinking and how you’re thinking, and what’s going on for you these days around this.

So anyways, I love you and I can’t wait to hear from you, much, peace, love and wonder, ellis

ps. If you want to start a talking and listening group of your own looking at issues of racial justice, message me and I'll tell you how we set ours up, with a specific format for sharing that respects one another's views. Also, I am personally reading the book, "Waking Up White" and if you are reading it too, let me know what you are thinking and feeling about it too.