Right now, it seems that the world is a pressure cooker of challenges from which no one can escape. The COVID-19 pandemic and unprecedented job losses have created incredible stress and uncertainty. Police violence toward African Americans—and centuries-long institutional racism—have sparked outrage and demonstrations across the nation. In New York City, we saw a spike in gun violence over the July 4th holiday. Child abuse and domestic violence are on the rise—and we know actual rates are higher than what is being reported.
People across the country are grappling with the intense emotions of pain, fear, anger, and anxiety brought on by this difficult time.
How can we heal the world when we are so deep in our emotions? How can we address the disparities and hardships that this pandemic has worsened? Where do we begin? And critically, how can we support our youth so they do not collapse into depression, violent acts, or other dysfunctional behaviors?
If we are to support our youth and heal our world, we as adults must heal ourselves first. This means addressing our personal sources of pain, anguish, sadness, and anger. It means recognizing how abuse, racism, and oppression live out inside each of us, and how these generational traumas translate into beliefs about ourselves and behaviors towards others. We must do the healing work within ourselves. Only then can we model and teach young people how to heal from their own pain.
Healing begins when we acknowledge our pain and trauma.
In fact, it cannot start until we do so. Next, we need to believe healing is possible. Then, we must commit to doing our healing work. Our children and youth need us to do this work. She also mentioned that when we do not acknowledge our emotions, we do not allow others in our circle to express those same emotions. We, as adults, can hinder our children’s ability to understand their emotions because we do not want to do it for ourselves. We must cleanse ourselves so we can see possibilities for LOVE for the world. Healing starts from the inside out, and it starts at home.
In his June 2020 article in The Atlantic, This Is Not a Normal Mental Health Disaster, Jacob Stein reports that Americans are feeling severe anxiety and depression due to the ongoing nature of the pandemic. His article states that vulnerable groups such as health care workers and people who have had severe COVID illness face significant risk of post-traumatic stress disorder. One survey he reports on shows that 42 percent of respondents felt hopeless at least one day in the past week. Even after the pandemic ends, a psychiatrist warns, the mental health impact could linger.
These reports are alarming. Every person living through this pandemic will experience some mental health impact. With so much pressure coming from the outside, we almost have no choice but to look inside. Now is the time to commit to our own healing and do our work. As Maya Angelou once said, “Be wary of the naked man offering his shirt.” To support our youth, we must face our own truth.
Marianne Williamson, a very powerful, intelligent woman, ran her campaign for the 2020 Democratic nomination for president with an unusual approach—and it was not well-received in the political arena. She proposed a plan that would provide reparations to African-Americans for our history of slavery. She reasoned that, to heal as a country, we must be honest about what we have done wrong and repair those wrongs. Doing so will foster greater love throughout the country, she said.
Healing requires courage.
It means that we must look within and process our emotions. We must express our feelings and speak our truth. Healing may require that someone listen to us. When our children witness our healing, they will be freed to create solutions for a better future.
When we begin to heal, we can change our perspective. A different perspective can help us see the humanity in people who we disagree with. It can allow us to see them with love, even if we cannot change their minds. It can empower us to stand up for what we believe. It can help us know that we matter and deserve good things in life. When we do these things, we can become changemakers for our children.
Consider creating a plan for your own healing. For me, healing starts with meditating every morning—being in silence, listening to and watching my thoughts, and being aware of what upsets me. Knowing what upsets me allows me to comfort myself. I tell myself that it is okay to be angry. It is okay to be upset. It is okay to be confused. Emotions are what make us human. Without them we would be dead.
Meditation helps you become aware of your thoughts and feelings. It allows you to gain a perspective on yourself. This helps you become clearer about what you want, which opens the door to creating and manifesting it. If you are looking for an easy way to start meditating, I like Ziva Meditation’s very simple model that promotes being mindful, healing, and manifesting. When I step into a place of abundance, love, peace, health, and prosperity, I can give to others and create change. Healing the world truly begins with healing myself.
For breakfast, I started my day with meditation and lemon water. I drink a delicious protein shake with my favorite superfoods. I found it necessary to add nutrition to my healing process during this challenging time.