I start this conversation with the acknowledgement of feeling more centered and purposeful than I have in a long time.  Which, I know can be an anomaly in this space and time, especially for a woman of color and living in Texas.  The pause of COVID-19 interrupted my life, like so many others, but it gave way to readjustments in values and purpose for me.  Then this month, a once in a lifetime winter storm catastrophe that ravished our state and left many Texans in disarray for days.  So now, let’s go back to where I’ve come from and speak of my self-conversations to help heal and get me to this point.

I needed the right words to come out.  Praying I could express the correct, emotional sentiments about this health pandemic and exposure of cruelty to black lives as it was unveiled, and continues to be unveiled.  I felt this overwhelming need and responsibility to speak my cultural-ethnic version of truth, despair, hope, love and anger all at once.  But knowing it had to come through humility.  I had to put anger in its place while being tied to my emotions, striving to lessen the sting of hurt and frustration.

Knowing in my heart the communities of color would be hurt the most, and have lasting effects.  Thinking, we’ve been able to make some strides forward, but now, those steps are doubled moving backwards.  Still not having health care facilities in our underserved community, lack of transportation, slower economic progress, unaffordable medication, unattainable treatments and surgery, each being a way of life. The community food deserts contribute with the rarity of fresh quality food being the norm.  These disparities created a perfect storm all its own before COVID-19. Then the unveiling of blue on Black killings, marches and riots, school closings, business closing, loss of job, and so much more. Hate, anger, and despair soon erupted all over the world, as a result of flaws in humanity and various actors out of control. 

I grieved for a couple of days, but not allowing myself to wallow in the sadness because what good would that do. I had to think of ways to uplift my spirit, to move forward for lasting change and begin to think deeply about what the root cause or causes.   I pondered and remembered the voice tones, facial expressions and explicit actions of those involved, both in the battle and reporting the conflicts.  At that moment, my mind remembered the spiritual reference to guarding your heart and mind.  The heart and mind are so intricately connected.  It has to be a heart issue, a change of heart.

Hatred is learned, rooted from generations long ago, and continues to fester from generation to generation with the same sinister mentality if not dealt with.  Hate moves into our hearts, reflecting into our voices, so many voices with varying degrees of volume, tone, and persuasion. It takes only a spark to set a forest fire.  With our speech, one word can set ruin to harmony, creating fiery tempers.  Who is the ultimate authority and why do we listen more to some than others?  Who is telling the real truth in these conversations?  When was the last time we were forced to look at our systems of government and corporations?  Only now, after decades of the same laws and rules, authorities have finally come under examination to reveal their true nature of moral character and standards? 

I must stay encouraged knowing disruption often brings change, hard disruptions hopefully bring larger, lasting changes. Good things are still happening and good people are still out there. We must believe in that.  It just takes more effort to find them in this season.  

So proud of our athletes using their platform for awareness and change. Sports are the universal common ground and equalizer. Diverse team members come together for one common goal–to win. Yet some find fault and anger in this because it doesn’t line up with their own personal perspective or paradigm of what a sports team or it’s member should accomplish.  

Change is uncomfortable and sometimes difficult, but it represents growth.  I relate it to a pain in our body.  That pain can be silent and not hurt at all when we are still.  But let us get up and start moving and it’s aggravated and painful. We have to get moving, and work through the pain. It’s time to get comfortable with being uncomfortable for change and equality.

We don’t think of our country as one human race with different backgrounds, ethnic heritage, cultures and personal stories that define us.  The focus is on separation and personal agendas that ignite even more controversy and anxiety. It’s time to start moving toward reconciliation and working together for the good of all mankind. To build strong multi-cultural relationships for effective change takes persistence and intention.  Change rarely comes with comfort and we must get comfortable with being uncomfortable for true change.

Jane Elliot believes and emphasizes, “we are all one human race, different only from our skin tone and heritage”. Discrimination is everywhere overt and covert, yet now the rallying cry from pinned up rage is let loose in our atmosphere. I try not to allow my negative thoughts and feelings get out of control. Angry thoughts and feelings that are bottle up and have nowhere to go just wait for a small window of opportunity to be released through frustration and violence. Leading the way to poor choices.  Some more devastating than others. No, I don’t condone the violence that emerges, but I can understand it. For those who cannot understand, it turns to criticism. Let’s be courageous and intentional to strive for more understanding, and less criticism of what we do not understand.

My mind is still in conflict, hearing so many voices that share various opinions and perspectives of their own, or views of the current situation.  Each one feels their view is right or closer to the true majority conscious of the people through polls and surveys.  But let’s begin to focus on ways to move ahead with truth, love, understanding and persistence.  To examine what may be possible for us as a human race, eagerly wanting equality for all, and most importantly, willing to give up something to get there. So, my resolve to calmness and purpose as I move forward is still evolving, and I find myself:

Hoping for equality and justice – while tapering my anger

Praying for truth to come out – while opening my mind for understanding

Hoping for lives to be restored – while expanding my perspective

Praying for hearts to be changed – while strengthening my humility

Hoping for the strength of our future generations – while examining my purpose

Praying for light into a darkened world – while looking at my values and moral standards

Praying for a day we all know the reality; we are one human race.

Alistair is a serial entrepreneur, human rights advocate, and certified lifestyle coach.  She enjoys helping women and children know and own their sense of being and purpose, focusing on mental and physical wellness for personal growth. Her Yoga teaching and practice plus meditative walks are her grounding tools; while plant-based foods, dark chocolate, and girlfriend time are Alistair’s energy source.

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