This morning, sitting in our comfortable vacation setting that was planned long before the ICE family separations, I sat my son down. I have been balancing what to say and what not to say for a long time, with the intention of allowing a human being to grow up with autonomy, hope, sense of empowerment, kindness and love.
I explained to him, as delicately and realistically, as unattached and as humanely as I could, the situation of the families having been separated at the border, with children as young as 18 months old separated from mothers and families, kept apart for weeks already, in places like Walmart stores with artificial light 24 hours a day, 1 hour a day play time, kids being kept separate from one another, not being allowed to be hugged or cuddled.
His tears filling up in his eyes, he quietly came over and gave me the biggest hug, tight; not willing to let go.
Words are not enough for the felt sense of what is happening and allowed to be happening. Words are not enough to replace actions that can move humanity in the right direction.
Life is Love, Joy, Sadness, Grief, Struggles, Tears, Laughters, Relations, Learning to Let Go and Learning to Wake Up.
I didn’t sleep that night. Well, only slept for 1 hour before sunrise. Privileged on this night, I sat on a balcony overlooking the full moon, and the mysterious star cluster nearby. They lit up the waves hitting the Gulf of Mexico as they did uncountable times before.
I let go of teachings and practice of mindfulness and how far compassion was carrying me. I was doing my best in the turmoils that arose. I noticed my breathing coming and going like the waves. Mostly I felt the discomfort circulate around my body. I noticed one thought arise and fall, then be replaced with another. Intermingled with hope for possibilities, ever strongly present was fear for the worst that hasn’t happened yet and may never happen. The pull of despair and dis-ease of what’s been happening, the disparity of people’s lives was too strong to ignore.
The waves flapping gently to the beach. Coming, going. Flapping big, subsiding. News enticing to be repeated in my head, of a three-year-old child being held with a loaded gun by the police; children who are deemed “colored” being treated with repeated trauma as the acceptable norm. My own child being the only in some days, and one of two or three in other days, of the dozens of kids in this beachside who were lucky enough to take a dip in the pool.
The future of my own family; the hopes I carry for my son who is right now sleeping comfortably inside. The chasm of “white”ness and “black”ness or “other”ness continuing to create an illusion of separation which I feel the weight of, and feel in my bones the need to be freed from its shackles.
A seemingly single “white” mother walking around with a “mixed” or “brown” curly haired young boy. Is this what we look like from the outside? In each other’s presence, we don’t feel it nor ever talk about it in such terms because it is not in our core. Though, I sometimes wonder how many feel and think this way. That, of course, doesn’t matter nor change a single bit how we live and move through life. I just wonder then let go. This, too.
A mom who loves her son more than she’d ever imagined, hoping to give him a life to thrive in, to be happy, healthy and safe. A mom who is an only parent not by choice. A father who died too soon for him to make a thick book of memories. My husband was a renaissance man; with a doctorate in bioilogical sciences, an inventor, and loved history because it shaped the current conditions and taught us about all our potentials. He was intrigued by the nature of human cruelty that had the potential to transform into causing harm, killing, even genocides, whilst embodying a core kindness. Because he was an African born male who grew up and lived in both Europe and America, he was exposed to forms of racism and discrimination. He was not visibly harmed, as lucky as he was, but indeed faced biases not extended to his non-African counter parts. In inconspicuous ways, these societies continue discriminating and dividing, people often unaware.
What would he do now? If he can watch over us from the other side, my hope says that he’s doing his best to offer his protection. Maybe we can’t control life at all. However, we can wish it to be the safe, loving, happy and healthy place that we know we deserve. In this knowing, we can become empowered to notice what’s our right. Not only ours and our loved ones. Equally of each person who is inhabiting this earth, wishing the same. And all the beings that make life possible for us to even exist here; as without them we would not exist.
By the time, I sat back in my bed, the image in my mind was vivid. A few dozen people of African descent running along the beach during sunrise, laughing, joyful, empowered. The group became larger with people of all ethnicities, running with determination, energy, love for life, self and other, embodying equality through the bone and tissues. No separation. Love. Joy. Laughter. Inner Power. This is what finally came through my insight and put me to sleep. A brief yet restful sleep. So, I can continue again in this new born day of promises and possibilities.
As a final note, when the lives of close loved ones may in any way be affected, more than our own and more than of the lives of strangers, the practice carries us so far. While I stay steadfast on loving and kind awareness, positivity and hope, searching inside myself for kindness in actions, I notice that sinking into sadness is bound to come along, too, in this life. All I can do is welcome the sleepless night. Even when I cannot make sense of this world sometimes. Then, the night brings the new day and I am here. NOW.