Updated: Nov 23, 2020
In 8 minutes and 46 seconds of dying, Mr. George Floyd gave the world new life. While a violent massive sea of force pressed against his body - three officers applying their weight to his neck, back and legs - a storm, greater than any previously imagined, formed across the globe pressing towards change. Without question these are trying unprecedented times.
However, in the midst of this horror and sadness, I am undaunted. See, I am old school, or new school, depending on how you see things. The old school part looks for silver linings in everything. The new school part does so with the understanding that this old school behavior is now backed by growing scientific research that points to optimism and hope as necessary characteristics and components of well-being, wellness and longevity. It is not only wise to look for the good, the effort of doing so is good for us.
Therefore, I forge through thick social chaos, pain and wide-ranging emotional displays to find glittering silver behind it all and discover seven valuable gifts that comfort me. Gifts I share in the hope that you too appreciate their sparkle and use them to carry with you on the journey ahead.
Gift #1: Across the world people are investing heartfelt time and energy in the viral message that Black Lives Matter. The strategic hidden agenda that has vilified thousands of black men and women is being acknowledged. Finally, black people are being seen as humans who matter. This is a needed and welcomed awakening.
Gift #2: White people, Black youth, Latinx, Asians, Africans, Europeans and Indigenous people across the world are learning, or diving deeper into, history and understanding the racist ideas and economics underpinning racism. Better information makes for a more formidable populace that is committed to identifying and doing what’s right
Gift #3: People are feeling their feelings. We in this country have spent an inordinate amount of time avoiding our feelings, running from discomfort of all sorts. Running from discomfort and unresolved issues just fuels the need to run. Stopping. Turning around and addressing what we’re running from is the path to healing.
Gift #4: The policing culture of this country is being put under a microscope. When government doesn’t value its citizens, it is easy to justify acting against them and turning citizens into financial fodder, reducing their value to being a source of revenue generation. Americans are sending the message that the constitution means something and that lawless law enforcers must be policed by the society they are hired to protect and serve.
Gift #5: Since the birth of this nation, American policies and Americans have spouted American ideals without walking the talk. When we lie to ourselves, a part of us knows we are lying. That incongruence sends a message to the deepest part of ourselves that teaches us to distrust ourselves and others. A society that inherently distrusts itself risks becoming agenda driven and opportunistic. Making ourselves accountable to our ideals helps to make us whole and capable of uniting towards a greater good.
Gift #6: Mothers, fathers, family members and lovers, who have lost their loved ones at the hands of injustice, are feeling validated and breathing deeper as they say, “Finally, the world sees the pain I have had to bear.” “Thank you, God, for proving that I am not crazy.”
Gift #7: When we watched Mr. George Floyd murdered before our eyes, many of us realized that to do nothing would hurt our spirits. This healthy sentiment leads us to the power of hope, and the possibility that indeed together we can create the change we seek and become the embodiment of our American ideals.
The late congresswoman Barbara Jordan once said, “What the people want is very simple. They want an America as good as its promise.”
I believe we all desire to be that better iteration of Self that the indwelling infinite SELF promises. Let’s keep our hearts open. Look for every silver lining. Allow something greater than ourselves to help guide our actions and fill us with the patience, endless fortitude and resilience needed to change the world and evolve into the next best iteration of humanity.
Tina Lifford plays Aunt Vi on the critically acclaimed television show Queen Sugar. The Little Book of Big Lies: A Journey Into Inner Fitness is her first book; released by Harper Collins, November 2019.