My soul’s archetype is the Statue of Liberty.
But I am not of the sentiment of “bring me your poor and huddled masses.” I think that’s bullshit. You can read about that here. As a first gen American, I know the power and beauty and JOY and hope and DREAMS that actively LIVE inside of the immigrants who come to this nation. And I know the deliciousness of authentic foods and designs and accents and perspectives. And the struggles to learn English and get along and survive and thrive in a new world.
My father’s family (12 siblings and parents) escaped Hussein’s madness in Baghdad, Iraq in the 1960’s. They fled to Israel, England and the USA. When she was 12 years old, my mother and her 3 brothers and their mother immigrated to America from Israel. They travelled by ship across the ocean. My grandfather joined them a few years later. I am sure they waved hello to Lady Liberty as they entered this beautiful land we call the United States of America. I was born in Brooklyn, NY a few years later.
So why the fuck are we here in the good ole USA if a brutal and shameless murder in broad daylight is deemed okay? It’s not okay. It’s NOT okay. I don’t know why that needs to be spoken. But I’ll say it again. It’s NOT okay. We can do better.
It makes me want to cry to see how much brutality has been acceptable until this point in order for someone to feel so safe being FILMED murdering someone else in cold blood. What. The. Fuck. How do I live with myself? What do I DO?
I notice on my Facebook wall that when I post cute and fun things – those posts get likes. But when I post more thought-provoking perspectives, there’s a lot less response. Here’s today’s post with Mooji offering a worthy perspective about George Floyd’s murder. He articulates sentiments that I couldn’t find the words for, including “Human beings have fallen away from the grace of their true nature.”
Yes, people are reading, they are viewing those videos and heartfelt messages. Yet I’m sure that if I posted more angry and sensationalist messages, those posts would get more views. But I’m not interested in BEING that person. I’m interested in making a positive difference, in having a positive impact and BEING a positive influence. To the best of my ability. Imperfectly. And radiantly. As gorgeous and lovely and free as as a young child in a playground.
And then I feel mixed feelings about how to publicly share about my ONE black friend. (Am I allowed to count the others whom I knew many years ago when I lived in Tampa? Do I need their permission in order to call them friends?) I got to know Kam best because she lived upstairs (read more about us below). To have my feelings of kinship and love and friendship be questioned in the light of the current public conversation and context is NOT acceptable. What. The. Fuck.
I grew up in a home where a person’s LOVE and LOYALTY had to be PROVEN. That’s SICK. That’s awful. That’s lonely. That’s TRAUMA. I will not join the collective trauma.
In order to process all of this and still stand strong, I need – people around me who can hear my anger and my tears and my love and my hope and my dreams and all of it. These are people who help me show up more present, more available, more empowered, more EMBODIED. Not dissociated. Not traumatized. Not reactive. Not confused.
I’m deeply grateful to have that within my inner circle of SOUL NERDS, as I have affectionately come to see us. We are unabashedly unafraid to LOOK at our emotions, at our traumas, at our discomfort, at our “unknowingness”. We welcome books and movies and podcasts and we invite multiple perspectives. We are willing to LEARN and we love to GROW. We are not interested in BEING RIGHT, we are interested in DOING WHAT’S RIGHT. Not for the sake of protecting ourselves. But for the sake of being TRUE to our souls and true to the beauty and grace and love and innocence and emerging creativity and JOY within others.
I recently heard author Elif Shafak call such groups “water families.” As distinct from blood families. I love my water family at Joy-Based Living. We are some of the most courageous, beautiful, heart warming people I know. We care deeply. We offer grace. We love. We stand for what we want to see. And we do our best to shape it in the world.
We are creating a new normal together.
What does the new normal look like? It looks like the courage to face our emotions ALONG WITH the tender, patient, loving gaze that a mother would give their infant baby. We need these gazes from each other to reflect our innocence and beauty back to one another. To reparent ourselves and each other. To grow up strong and healthy so that we can feel loved so that we can be loving. Empowered. In Power. To make the USA feel like HOME.
Let’s inflict our beautiful love and JOY and awesome reverence upon each other. Let’s keep staying true to what’s in our hearts and souls. The GRACE OF OUR TRUE NATURE. In our truth, WE are gorgeous, radiant, amazing beings.
I love you.
ART, the act of creativity and creation, united me and Kam in great conversations as she stepped into her music career and I stepped into my writing and coaching career. We became each other’s cheerleaders through the process and yes, dare I say, we became friends. https://joybasedliving.com/2020/04/24/when-you-wish-upon-a-star-with-kam-showers-lioness-episode-47/
Debbie Happy Cohen, author and coach, is the founder of Joy-Based Living. Her Master’s Degree is in counseling, specializing in family systems, healing emotional trauma, and practical spirituality. Also affectionately known as Happy D! and Reverend SASSY SHORTS!, she lives on Lookout Mountain in Alabama, near Chattanooga, Tennessee. Her books include Reach Your Stars!, SANCTUARY, It’s All About Kids: Every Child Deserves a Teacher of the Year, and I Don’t Think So! Her social media playgrounds as well as the SANCTUARY ebook can be found right here.