I remember in middle school learning about the horrors of the Holocaust and wondering — how on earth did that happen? How did people allow it to happen?

I felt the same way learning about slavery, and the Japanese Internment camps. How could such cruelty take place?

And now, here we are. The U.S. Government tearing apart families at the border. Children, including toddlers and babies, taken from their mothers. Detained in warehouses, sleeping in cages. The parents having no idea where their children are going, who will be taking care of them, or when (or if) they’ll ever be reunited. Our government is essentially kidnapping children in the name of safety and national security (and using the Bible to justify doing so).

How on earth is this happening? How did we get here?

I think it’s starts with language, most especially dehumanizing language.

As Brene Brown says, “Dehumanizing others is the process by which we become accepting of violations against human nature, the human spirit, and, for many of us, violations against the central tenets of our faith.”

Animals. Illegals. Catch and release. Does that sound familiar? We’ve heard these words a lot lately. Referring to groups of people this way is the first step in making them seem less than human.

Once they are dehumanized, we are able to look the other way, or actually support when our government commits absolute atrocities against our fellow humans.

The danger of dehumanizing is this: If they aren’t really human like us, then who cares if they suffer? Who cares if they are separated from their families? Who cares if they are escaping violence in their countries and are running for their lives and their children’s lives? Who cares – they’re not like me anyway. And besides, they shouldn’t be bringing their kids here in the first place, it’s their fault they are being separated.

Dehumanize, dehumanize, dehumanize.

Here’s the alternative: recognize the shared humanity in all of us. Recognize how we are all connected. Try to imagine having to leave your home to escape violence. Leaving your home to protect your children. Try to imagine the sheer terror of making that journey and having your child taken from you, not knowing where they are going or if you will ever see them again. These mothers and fathers are just like you. Take that in.

It can be extremely painful to open our hearts to the suffering of others. To allow our hearts to break. To take in our shared humanity. But that’s the only way to let the light in. And that’s the only way to take loving action that may help ease some of the suffering.

And besides, we can do hard things. We must do hard things. We must we must we must.

For ways to help, click here.

May we all feel our shared humanity, and allow that connection to guide our actions.

With love,
Katie

 

Photo by Max Ostrozhinskiy on Unsplash

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Happy New Year

My One Intention for the New Year

by Katie on December 27, 2017

Ok, it’s New Year’s resolution time. In recent years, I’ve preferred to set intentions for the New Year instead of resolutions. In my experience, intentions have been more powerful and sustaining.

But all this talk of resolutions reminds me of the things I would like to change in my own life. So let’s just pretend I was setting a New Year’s resolutions list. This is what it would look like:

  1. Asleep by 10pm. Awake at 6am. Early morning workout.
  2. Stop eating meat. Or at least make sure those animal products were humanely raised. Green juice every morning.
  3. Only healthy foods for my kids. Green vegetables at every meal.
  4. Declutter. Declutter. Declutter. Tap into my inner minimalist.
  5. Read at least one book per month.
  6. Stop looking at my phone before bed. In fact, don’t even let my phone in the bedroom. Stop looking at Twitter.
  7. Write more!
  8. Finish that training program(s) I purchased a year ago.

This is what the reality looks like:

I average about six hours of sleep per night. I hardly workout anymore. I often fall asleep with my cell phone instead of with a good book. And I have too many reusable bags to know what to do with. My kid eats a lot of chicken nuggets because…sometimes it’s just easier…and I’m tired (see above re: six hours of sleep per night).

I would love to say I could keep all of those resolutions listed above for the New Year. But, let’s be real…

So here’s my conclusion. After sorting through all the muck of how I wish I acted differently, how I wish I could be more disciplined with my time and daily habits, I consolidated it all into one important intention for the New Year:

Release the judgement on others and myself.

That’s it. Release the judgement from the unmet expectations I have of others. And release the judgment from the unmet expectations I have of myself.

This is really hard work. Like, put my head under the pillow and hide kind of work. Which is exactly why this is my intention for the New Year. My resistance to it tells me it’s precisely what I need right now.

Doing this work doesn’t mean I’ll never have a judgmental thought about myself or another person. That’s near impossible.

But my intention is to become more aware of those judgmental thoughts. And to be able to release them when they arise, while replacing them with thoughts of love, compassion, understanding and connection.

So yeah, I would like to exercise and sleep more. I have too many unread books, and my kids eat way too much packaged food. Feeling guilty or judging myself about all of those things doesn’t make them better or different.

So I accept what is, love myself though it anyway, and make changes motivated by loving intentions.

Wishing you a very Happy 2018. Here’s to a new year filled with love, light, courage, adventure, laughter, and connection.

With much love,
Katie

 

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

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We’re in this for the long haul

October 23, 2017
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I was living in New York City when they enacted the smoking ban in bars and restaurants in 2003. I thought there was no way it would work. Cigarettes were everywhere, the city would revolt. I was working in restaurants at the time and assumed it would hurt business. Thankfully I was wrong, and I […]

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Impulsive or Intuitive?

July 18, 2017
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Every weekend my husband and I take a ridiculously long time deciding where we want to go for lunch. You’d think we were making some life altering decision. Picking out paint colors gives me anxiety. And it took me forever to decide which shower curtain liner I wanted in the bathroom (Clear or white? Plastic […]

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My Intentions for the New Year

January 2, 2017
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Happy 2017! For the last couple of years I have chosen to set intentions, rather than resolutions for the New Year. I prefer to have an overall focus for the year ahead rather than specific goals. For me, it provides deeper meaning and connection to what I really need. And bonus, intentions don’t require a […]

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Why I don’t weigh myself anymore

December 13, 2016
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I once had a total breakdown while trying on dresses in a Macy’s dressing room. Let me back up a bit. I was a pretty chubby kid. My weight fluctuated through the years, but overall, I always felt bigger than the other girls. I wasn’t particularly comfortable in my body. As a kid I wore […]

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Why we need your Light more than ever now

November 9, 2016
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I had a completely different blog post planned for this week. I thought I would be writing a post to celebrate the election of our first Woman President of the United States. I was sure of it. I had planned to write about our tremendous progress as a country, about how excited I was for […]

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What do you do with an old prom dress?

October 10, 2016
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A few weeks ago I was at my parent’s house helping them prep for an upcoming garage sale. I was going through stuff in my old bedroom, looking for items that could be given away. Since I’ve moved around a lot post high school, and since Jeff and I currently don’t have a ton of […]

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Why it took me 14 months to write again

September 13, 2016
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It’s been over 14 months since my last blog post. I didn’t mean for this to happen. I had intended to keep writing. Every month my Google reminder would pop up to remind me that my blog post was due. And each month I basically hit the snooze button and figured I would start writing […]

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My moratorium on feeling guilty

July 23, 2015
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I’m a new mom. Which means my tendency to feel guilty just raised threefold in the last few months. Why are women, and especially mothers, such experts at feeling guilty all of the time? There is always something to feel guilty about. Too much tv. Not enough interaction. Too much interaction. Not enough independence. Too […]

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