Charity In Your Thirties

Ten years ago, I saw a movie about Guantanamo Bay that completely incensed me. It was called “The Road To Guantanamo” and it was based on a true story about three Muslims from England who were captured by the US while on their way to wedding in Pakistan. They were mistaken for members of the Taliban and were sent to Guantanamo Bay and tortured for two years. Afterwards they were released without any charges. I was beside myself with outrage and disbelief during and after the film. How did this happen? How could we not know about this?

Then, after a few days, the movie faded from my consciousness. It was never completely gone, and although I still remember my response to it 10 years later, I also remember how helpless I felt to do anything against injustice like that. I told a few people about the movie, but that was it. I don’t even know if they watched it.

Right now, I’m having a similar devastated and equally unuseful feeling in my heart in response to what’s happening in Aleppo, Syria. Reading about children that are being ruthlessly shot on the streets, along with gunned down innocent men and women of all ages, while Syrian citizens reach out for help and to say goodbye on social media channels is horrific to the point that it doesn’t feel real.

The sad truth about what’s happening in Syria is that it’s awful on such a tremendous level that it’s hard to grasp. In Western Aleppo, 70 percent of buildings have been destroyed. Social media messages are going out stating truths that are too horrifying to fathom.

“Abdulla Saleem, 39, a doctor who is living in the bombed out remains of a building, said via WhatsApp, “They are killing everyone. … My friends are doctors, who were providing the only possible medical care to the injured. Now they are butchered. Everyone is dying. I will soon die, too.”

“Where are our supporters?” asked Radhwan Salem, 60. “Believers in humanity, I don’t understand how can the entire world watch this and do nothing. Oh, God, help us.”

As part of the world that is watching, what can I do? What can we do? I received an email recently from Marie Forleo about how horrified she and many other bloggers, authors, and activists including Glennon Doyle Melton, Elizabeth Gilbert, Cheryl Strayed, Brene Brown, Rob Bell and more are feeling about the atrocities in Aleppo. She mentioned how she and they had joined forces with a group called The Compassion Collective. The group has a specific action plan in place to help the citizens in Aleppo:

  • We’re going to purchase and fully equip two ambulances with medicine and medical supplies for 6 months, and enable The White Helmets– 100% VOLUNTEERS- to rescue children and vulnerable people trapped in the rubble;

  • We’ll equip the mobile hospital — which is arriving in Aleppo on Christmas Day — with medicine and supplies for serving the injured;

  • We’re going to help Independent Doctor’s Association fund the planning of the first pediatric hospital in the region; and

  • We’re going to continue to fund the work of the Help Refugees volunteer network devoted to delivering people to safety.

I immediately donated what little I could to the Compassion Collective’s cause, and I shared the information I received from Marie on my Facebook. Hopefully this blogpost will inform you guys about some ways that you can help aid efforts in Aleppo. Don’t feel useless, and don’t think you can’t do anything. Even if you can’t donate any money, which I absolutely understand, simply sharing information  on your social media networks about the Compassion Collective or The White Helmets is helpful. Here are some tweets that are being shared- feel free to copy and repost:

If we’re truly committed to a more loving and just world, we must ACT. @MarieForleo @GilbertLiz @Momastery #Aleppo

 The healing of the world is in our hands. @MarieForleo @GilbertLiz @Momastery @CherylStrayed @BreneBrown #Aleppo

You can also share this article about what anyone can do to help in Syria no matter where they live:

And if you’d like to donate to the Compassion Collective you can Donate directly using this link. 100% of funds received will go directly to aid in Aleppo.

Thanks so much for reading and for being caring and compassionate.


Syria in 2010


Syria now

That Funny Horrible Feeling In Your Thirties

I know I’m not supposed to write this- I’ve been on an extreme fast from negative information that’ll get me down lately. The negativity has been hard to avoid, but I’ve fastidiously stayed away from news sources and Facebook for the last 3 days. So I don’t really want to contribute to the negative information. I don’t really want to rant here. And I definitely don’t want to fight with anyone. But I’m writing. Something about it.

The other night was awful. Tuesday night. November 8th. It was a shocker that filled me with dread and terror. And disbelief. It’s hard to forget that moment of total disbelief.  I couldn’t really sleep Wednesday night, even though I went through my stages of grief during the day- anger, denial, bargaining, acceptance?- and felt on and off better and talked to good people and went for a nice run and meditated for a lot of the day and listened to some of my favorite positive sources like Esther Hicks talks. I read wonderful, helpful articles like It’s Going To Be Okay by Tim Urban of Wait But Why. I attempted to understand the almost 50 percent of Americans who don’t see things the way I do- well, don’t see this outcome the way I do. In reality, there are definitely way more than 50 percent of Americans who don’t see things the way I do. But I’d always felt like that was okay because it didn’t affect me. This does.

What can I do? I don’t know exactly. I attempt even harder to have compassion for everyone. To find anything I can that is good. I continue to seek goodness where it may be- which I know, deep down, is all over. And to do this, right now I know I must stay centered. Even if I have to close my eyes to do so. Right now, anyway.

I read an article once by Danielle LaPorte, where she was writing about how she went to India to meet the Dalai Lama. Right before she got some monks were brutally murdered…by other monks. It was just an awful tragedy- horrible. She was shaken by it and offered the Dalai Lama her condolences when she got there. What she wrote about his reply and how she felt about it still sticks with me. I think of it now:

“Ah, yes, thank you for your thoughts,” he said. “This is why we practice, for times like these when compassion is so necessary.” He didn’t nod in mutual disdain. He didn’t show any drama. He was soft and…practical.

This is why we practice.

For times like these.

You don’t need to forgive until you need to forgive. You don’t need nerves of steel until you need nerves of steel. You don’t need to call on your reserves of compassion, or fortitude, or faith until you’ve used up everything else.

When we’re healthy and happy we make sure to dance, we hit the court, we pick up the phone to check in, we drop by with something in hand…

We keep standing up to make our art even when we could be predictable pedestrians.

Because the day will most certainly come…that you will be struck down or ground down by life. It can come in tiny tearing heartbreaks five times a day, just walking through your neighborhood. It could come in the name of tragedy that could only happen once in a lifetime.

And you will need to withdraw the insights that you put into your heart’s escrow. And you will need to call on your people— the unseen and the ones right in front of you — to help you meet the day.

You will be interrupted.

You will be called on to expand. 

You will be asked who you are and why you are here.”

So I look for the insights in my hearts escrow. I continue to search for answers. I continue to not know. I continue to hold compassion. And, every day, I continue to practice.



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