Return to Love

“As a nation, we need to gather our collective courage and face our society’s lovelessness as a wound. As we allow ourselves to acknowledge the pain of this wound when it pierces our flesh and we feel in the depths of our soul a profound anguish of spirit, we come face to face with the possibility of conversion, of having a change of heart. In this way, recognition of the wound is a blessing because we are able to rend it, to care for the soul in ways that make us ready to receive the love that is promised.”

~Bell Hooks, All About Love

How do we love in the midst of hatred and violence? How do we recover from the historical traumas of racism and oppression that continue to inflict suffering in our communities today? How do we live as Buddha, Christ, and other spiritual teachers instruct, with love and forgiveness, compassion and courage?

The recent demonstrations of racism and hatred in Charlottesville have left me in shock, horror, and disbelief. How could this happen in 2017? How could the president of this country go on to defend and minimize the actions and ideologies of white supremacists and neo-nazis? The foundations of our country that were built on genocide, slavery, and dispossession of Native lands and cultures have once again shown their presence as a chronic disease in our society. We have another opportunity to choose to respond not out of our woundedness but out of our healing resilience with love, understanding, and peace.

We can respond with love through actions that call us to see our fellow humans as brothers and sisters, to understand our interdependence and to work to lift one another up, especially those most marginalized in our society by systematic racism and inequality. We can sing together across lines of race, class, gender, age, religion, nationality, and ability.

The generational terror carried out by the KKK, Nazis, and other hate groups that target people of color, Jews and Muslims, immigrants, people in the LGBTQ communities, people with disabilities, those who fight for women’s rights, and others, has been triggered by the recent demonstrations. Unlike the “innocent protests” president Trump described them as, these gatherings were designed to inflict harm on minority groups while inciting violence, fear, anger, and hatred.

The Buddha taught us that “Hatreds never cease through hatred in this world; through love alone they cease.”  The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. echoed this sentiment when he said “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

I know that I cannot proceed alone on this journey towards light and love. I can only move forward with the wisdom and support of diverse communities who are working for justice and understanding; communities of the heart. I ask the ancestors and the Great Spirit to grant me the courage and strength to be part of the light and the love, to sing justice and peace, and to help heal the chronic diseases of racism and violence that continue to plague our country.

I am grateful to have a wonderful loving partner, friends, and family with whom to share this journey. I am happy to reunite with my brothers Will and Brian of the Long Hairz Collective and with Ojibwe singer songwriter and activist Annie Humphrey as part of Annie’s “The Beast and the Garden” Tour in September, as we travel the Great Lakes and sing together for the water, the people, and our Mother Earth. With your help, we will proceed in healing peace.

Yours in the Music and the Love,
Joe

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