Tool Kit for Conversations at Home and in the Community
Violent tragedies have repeatedly rocked our city in recent days and months, casting a shadow of darkness in many places throughout the Greater Seattle area. It’s affected all of us – whether we knew the victims or not – perhaps threatening our sense of safety and trust in the goodness of those around us. Where there is shadow, there is also light – even though it may be hidden.
How can we transform the energy of our own fear, anger, despair or cynicism into a force for greater care, compassion and contribution? What do we do and how do we begin?
Here are some suggestions:
- Light a candle in memory of those who have died in the shootings. If you’re in a group, express an intention that each person find the strength and courage to do something to make our city and our world a better place in which to live.
- Take a few minutes of silence to reflect on the personal feelings and concerns these recent events may have surfaced.
- Host a conversation (including and especially with children) that encourages people to express their concerns, as well as their hopes for the future. If you’re in a group, make sure that everyone has a chance to talk and be heard – perhaps using a talking object to encourage heartfelt and uninterrupted listening. If you’re asking people to reflect on a specific question, here are some suggestions:
- How have you been impacted by the recent shootings?
- What has touched or moved you the most in the aftermath of these violent events?
- What would a safe and compassionate (school, workplace, family, community, city) look like to you?
- One of the best ways to counter the pain and suffering rendered by random acts of violence is to bring more random acts of kindness, generosity, love and compassion into being. Ask everyone to think about a first step they might take. Options might include:
- Gift a person who appears to be suffering with a smile or kind word
- Help a neighbor with a specific task
- Catch yourself the next time you make a harsh judgment about someone you know and instead think of something you appreciate about them
- Catch yourself the next time you make a harsh judgment about yourself and instead think of something you appreciate about yourself
- Become a better listener: be fully present without interrupting, judging or problem solving when someone is expressing deep, personal concerns
- Collaborate with others on actions that you believe can counter violence and make Seattle a better place to live
5. Whenever you feel deep fear, anger or hatred arising and your heart begins to close, take a deep breath in and through your heart. Recommit yourself to positive action, knowing that one kind, generous, loving or compassionate act may be the greatest gift you can give to yourself…and the world!