Murdock: Being with suffering and choosing love
Lead with Love
I am working on something that feels like my life’s work.
I am looking at my tendency to judge, blame, and be activated by anger, wrongness, and self-righteousness. This fuel helps me accomplish things. I find myself giving money, writing letters, signing petitions, voting, and also generally bitching a lot when I am fueled in this way.
I am currently deeply disturbed and upset that we live in a culture where school shootings are the norm.
According to a recent article in The Nation: “The mass shooting at Covenant School in Nashville, Tenn., on March 27, which left six people dead, including three 9-year-olds, was the 13th school shooting this year that led to injury or death.
“Education Week, which has been tracking these massacres since 2018, reports that there were 51 such shootings last year and 157 since they began tabulating the body counts.
“Guns are now the leading cause of death for children in the United States. Over 6,000 American children were either killed or injured by guns in 2022. One 2022 study examined the data for youth mortality in 12 rich countries, including the United States. American children accounted for 97% of the total gun deaths from all 12 countries.”
We live in a very sick society that allows children to be massacred once a week on average and protects gun ownership more than children’s lives.
I can’t help but blame Republican politicians and the millions of people who vote for them for decades with their pro-gun policies and a shocking capitulation to an all-powerful gun lobby that wields millions of dollars to flood the marketplace with deadly weapons so easy to obtain that any one of us could get one tomorrow, and if we choose, because we have the right to bear arms, kill a whole bunch of kids at school.
I am angry, sad, confused, and heartbroken. How can this be? How can this be happening and there is nothing being done? I heard a commentary recently that aptly pointed out that if these school shooters were black or Muslim, Asian or trans, things would be different. The Republican Party could demonize them and make it all about them. But they are white.
Democrats continually present gun regulations to try to address this madness, and they are consistently shot down on party lines. Republican lawmakers say over and over, “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” It doesn’t take a genius to understand that people with guns kill people.
My U.S. representative, Lauren Boebert, proudly posed with her four boys holding automatic weapons for her Christmas card last year, along with another Republican representative, Thomas Massie, of Kentucky. Many comments on the Twitter photos expressed pride and things like, “This is America!”
I think for any sane person it is easy to see we are living in a society that is sick and broken. And, while it’s gratifying to demonize and blame, it will never solve the problem we are facing with guns or the destruction of the environment, another issue that affects our health and safety that I find similarly partisan and perturbing.
My life’s work is to transmute the anger, frustration, and fear I feel into love. I am working to turn righteousness into forgiveness and blame into boundless energy. What gives me energy is a connection to source. For many, that is called God. For me, I call it Spirit. My spiritual connection that I nurture through meditation, time in nature, writing, and a commitment to a surrendered life helps me re-orient myself from fear to love. This is a daily practice.
Today, I feel the anger, fear, and upset. I acknowledge it. I am with it. Being with suffering is the definition of compassion. I am a human being watching children being murdered at school approximately once a week in this country. It is a normal response to be upset.
I love the word alchemy. My job each day is to be an alchemist. Can I use the immeasurable power of love and caring to shift my thoughts, words, and actions? Can I still be someone who works to change the things I can not accept from a place of loving and bringing light versus anger and blame? I can. I will. I must.
Gina Murdock is the founder of Lead with Love, an Aspen-based non-profit organization dedicated to shifting culture from fear to love by nurturing heart-centered leaders. For more info, visit ileadwithlove.org and consider joining Gina in Italy for the annual Lead with Love retreat Sept. 23-30.