As a kid, I watched many of the adults around me publicly repress anything that was not happiness, or success. Ironically (or predictably?), this made the darkness even rougher, and insufferable without self medication. I learned that feelings were not something to profess. Luckily, I am a contrarian at heart.
Our emotions are biological, ancient, and useful. Even the ugly ones, and those early examples showed me the only way out of the dark is through. I wanted to forge ahead unadulterated and definitely unedited; to cultivate my darkness. When we tend to our darkness, like a garden, the opportunity to create beauty is inevitable.
Our nation has been feeling a lot of anger and shame recently, and for a long time. It's not comfortable, but those feelings can be catalysts if we allow them to inform us. Anger and shame invite us into awareness as long as we can embrace them honestly.
If you are angry about the unrest, this is your opportunity to learn and listen. Try to understand these actions from another perspective. Or, invite your Anger about 400 years of violent subjugation to turn into action. Shame is harder to repress, but easier to hide. It shows itself indirectly so we have to look straight into it.
Right now I am ashamed of any missed opportunity to fight racism in my life. Especially the tiny little aggressions I have let pass right before me. My skin is white, but my ethnicity is not. It has made me acutely aware of racism and at times silent, but the gift of invisibility comes with a price. Silence feeds a darkness where nothing can grow but ignorance. That's not a garden I am willing to tend.