The coolest thing for me about this particular Emotion Week - hands down - was the Derek Chauvin Verdict. Finally, we have reached a point in recent history where we won’t/don’t know what would have happened had it gone the other way, as per usual. Whether we are conscious of it or not, we are being given an opportunity to feel something different right now, and this type of change can bring waves of transformative intentions. If we stop and pause around that thought and focus on our breathing, we can actually feel a soothing release as our breath moves through our bodies. Take a moment to notice how good it feels to push the exhale as hard as possible while being intentional about expelling some of the energetic debris that has been collecting rapidly around this specific issue. At the same time, hold acknowledgement for the broader underlying barriers that still exist from those who have come before and since George Floyd’s death on May 25, 2020. Inhale. Exhale. Repeat.
It gives me profound joy to be collectively feeling from these uncharted waters, especially as I practice the natural cycle of ORM, because I am able to see connection and meaning in places where I used to see little more than a tangled mess. For me, the emotions around this particular Verdict resonate from a very deep place that feels largely familiar, but also slightly dizzy and off-balance; almost as if my perception did a shift without my direct input and I’m still trying to catch up to its purpose. At the same time, I feel a strong undercurrent of connection, believing this is the raw, natural state that we have each found ourselves occupying more and more often since the beginning of 2020.
It was around 4:20 on 4/20 in Kansas City when the Verdict notices began pinging our phones. As the Universe would have it (I’m increasingly amazed at the power of its messaging), I was on my way to a 4/20 event at the Equal-Minded Cafe, housed in Quan’s office building. I had never been to an event at his building before this day and it was put on the calendar months ago. I was alone when I heard the news, and for some reason I was hit with a gale of emotions and I began to cry as I was driving. At first, I was unable to determine the actual feelings behind the tears, but when I finally found the root they stemmed from, I became aware that they were tears of great relief. I was overcome with a physical reaction to the fact that We (white people) hadn’t continued making choices based on ignorant privilege at best, but had finally achieved a tiny, but loud shift into the deliverance of a fair legal outcome over the death of a black man at the hands of a police officer. A small step, but also a real, gut-wrenching, transparent step.
As I arrived at the event, vendors were still setting up. The overall tone in the place was a little chaotic and busy as they worked out logistical hiccups on the fly, but brightly glowing, soul smiles were visible through the eyes of every person I encountered. As I mentioned, it was a 420 event, so it wasn’t long before the masks came off to accommodate the various ingestions and I got to see the beautiful lights behind all of those smiling eyes in full glory.
We had received a gift bag upon entry, and I watched grown adults tear into the generous bag of donations from vendors (did I mention the 420 part?) with gusto and desire - even trading flavors and colors when some people wanted what another one got. The smiles lit the room well before the room got intentionally lit! I never heard one word spoken about the verdict, but I could see its effect in every direction, from the people, to the music, to the very interesting painting lesson we received. I could honestly write an amazing blog about that part alone, but I may save it for Quan’s birthday - shh! don’t tell him :)
As a 52 year old white woman, I was among the minority at this event. This has happened very infrequently in my life and I decided to be mindful of the sensations in my body, which were already becoming heightened by that coveted gift bag. Quan’s Mom, Cherry, was sitting across from me and we talked about our views on The Universe and parsed out our perspectives on the how and why of our particular spots in the world as we sampled our gifts. We toured the vendor tables and made a few purchases, talking here and there with the artists about the products they had crafted and where the ideas had come from. Each story was as compelling as the next, and I had a really great time engaging around the roots of the products that I purchased. I don’t know how to explain with words, or honestly, whether it's even appropriate to make note of, the difference between what it felt like to be at a gathering of mostly black people on the day of this anticipated decision. My personal observance of the Verdict’s effect on the room? It seemed a quiet satisfaction had settled in for the night like covering up with a blanket on the couch to watch a movie, while the awareness that this was just one moment among a still-growing many was palpable underneath. A welcome instance of gratitude briefly piercing the systemic and unyielding realities and truths that rise from the roots of these well-worn problems.
The evening made me feel optimistic about our future choices, and I will continue to hold that ideal for all of us. I enjoy actively imagining a world where we have established some more (read: better) collective priorities, rather than let our egos have us scrambling to climb this mountain to success - where reaching its summit ultimately crowns a huge pile of shame that has been distorted, disguised and perceived as great accomplishment. For communities of color, and those who support their elevation, the awareness of the details and the price of that shame has been more than obvious in our collective raw material, and that awareness continues to grow. For those still in deep denial; the people bent on tackling their own ego-heavy pursuits; I wish you an increase in connected thought. I hope the parts of you that offer scant, barely-passing awareness as we watch one tragic situation after another receive less attention than our treasured stock portfolios, our beloved vacations, and the time and effort we spend to ‘look good’ find purchase in the vastness of community soil. I encourage us all to seek big and small opportunities for more connection and understanding and we continue to dispel our ignorance about these deeply-rooted emotions, past and present.