It’s Time to Stand for Love


We are all in this together, this being human thing

It’s time we put down the fight and pick up the love

It’s time we cancel the competition and enact the cooperation

It’s time we realize we are pushing back against ourselves.

It’s time we understand death is not the end

It’s time we see the good in the different

It’s time we open our eyes to the windows of our souls

It’s time we stand for the wrongs

It’s time we use mirrors to teach compassion

It’s time we use forgiveness to open doors

It’s time we understand goodness is our right

It’s time to instill gratitude in every word we utter

it’s time to stand for love.

Human Family

By Maya Angelou


I note the obvious differences in the human family. Some of us are serious, some thrive on comedy. Some declare their lives are lived as true profundity, and others claim they really live the real reality. The variety of our skin tones can confuse, bemuse, delight, brown and pink and beige and purple, tan and blue and white. I've sailed upon the seven seas and stopped in every land, I've seen the wonders of the world not yet one common man. I know ten thousand women called Jane and Mary Jane, but I've not seen any two who really were the same. Mirror twins are different although their features jibe, and lovers think quite different thoughts while lying side by side. We love and lose in China, we weep on England's moors, and laugh and moan in Guinea, and thrive on Spanish shores. We seek success in Finland, are born and die in Maine. In minor ways we differ, in major we're the same. I note the obvious differences between each sort and type, but we are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike. We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike. We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike.

Participants’ Reflections:

  • Thank you for this beautiful space

  • Thank you, that was so good. I grew up in a house where I was told I shouldn’t share with people about what was going on. I thought everyone was different. I wasn’t alike, I was better than or worse than. I learned through 12-step groups and hearing other people share that it’s okay that we’re alike and we are unique. I learned I could share. Honesty, open-mindedness, and willingness are useful but I wasn’t willing to share until I heard other people share their pain and their truth. I become open and more honest. I am estranged from one of my children. There’s a group on Facebook for parents of adult estranged children, and it helped me so much to know I’m not alone. We’re all in the same boat. It helped to know what we are all suffering in some way. It helps to know we are all alike, not different. It’s comforting. In Alcoholics Anonymous, they say we feel ‘terminally unique.’ But I think that’s true for all humans.

  • I have hanging on me all the time the feeling of having done something wrong. It holds shame with it. I have no idea what I did wrong. I think it’s a pre-verbal thing from my family, where the powers-that-be were never happy, and I took it in. I want to heal that because it gets tiring after a while. During the meditation, I tried to reach back towards the source of that. I’m going to do some research on shame, and listen to Brené Brown because I am tired of feeling the pressure of it.

  • In the Internal Family System work, I remember to embrace the part, instead of hating it which I can do. Why is it getting my attention right now? Like you said, there is shame mixed in it to. I try to re-parent, be kind to, check out to see if it's true. That was my parents’ truth, never telling us we did anything right. I practice telling myself good job, you handled that well. I love the affirmation “I can handle everything that comes my way today.”

  • You are reminding me of a time when I was working with a men’s group that was focusing on what we had common as men, focusing on the similarities of our experiences rather then the differences. I remember talking to one of the men almost in despair because I wanted to be unique. I said, “I want to be different.” And he said, “you are.” It hit me as a revelation that I don’t have to assert myself as different or as better or as worse. Like the Maya Angelou poem, we are all already individuals even though we share so much. There is nothing contradictory in those two things.

  • Thank you so much, what a beautiful reading. One of the things I realized was that I tend to comment more on your personal pain readings than your uplifting ones. And I thought, that’s a pattern I want to change. I want to acknowledge what a sacred day this is for me. On this day, my mother’s first child was born, a blue baby who only lived for an hour. 56 years later, I gave birth to my daughter on the same day two months early. And my husband died at 11:11. So 11:11 is prevalent in my life. I loved the reading of the commonality. Thank you for sharing the pattern in your life that you want to change, because that’s something I’ve been consciously working on. It resonates with the whole Catholic guilt, that we were born into sin. That’s one of the last conversations with my mother. My granddaughters don’t need to be baptized; they are perfect. The one thing that helped me so much for feeling guilty for breathing, the Rabbi who wrote “When Bad Things Happen to Good People” also wrote “How Good Do We Have to Be? We’re never good enough. There’s a line that stops me all the time -- ‘it’s easier for us to feel guilty than for us to feel powerless.” Somehow believing everything is my fault is easier than there’s all this stuff going on around me that I have no control over, and can I sit with that? Sitting in silence, sitting with like-hearted people allows me to sit more comfortably without feeling I have to control things I can’t.

  • Thank you for putting this together. I was sitting with and grounding myself in kindness towards myself when I’m connecting with people and with myself as a way to be myself and to honor how different we all are and how similar we are. But there’s a way when I can find that place in me, that I soften and I feel compassion, a visceral feeling that I am connecting with myself and the other person, and that being the most important thing as opposed to competition or surprise at what they think. It’s a way I distance myself from others because it triggers something. I don’t know how it works, but I am trying to ground myself in kindness and I see how it connects with others. I ground myself in kindness.

  • One of the phrases that I’ve always loved from 12-steps, don’t compare your insides to someone else’s outsides. It occurs to me, that has helped me feel better about myself and to realize I shouldn’t be so hard on myself. It’s the compassion and kindness at looking at the others who may be exhibiting something that I don’t understand or is so different from myself and realizing that sameness. That inside of them they are coming from some place of personal questioning and insecurity. I’m wondering about doing that more, looking at people knowing they are comparing their insides to my outsides. I come from an area of privilege in so many different ways and it’s helpful for me to hold that vision with others.

  • Thank you. I started to go into meditation with this mantra stepping into the places you talked about. A vision came from the movie “Titanic”. When she was laying on the raft and he was holding onto her and she kept saying, “just keep talking.” Then she turned around and found him gone, needing to let go and let him sink to the bottom. It felt like it was a part of me telling me it is time to let go. I need to do that before I can completely thaw. I’ve been using that term thawing out for a while. The visual felt good. And the feeling of being rescued. And the thought came up, I am exactly where I am supposed to be. Just keep breathing. It resonated with my recent injury where I was lying on the ground thinking no one would find me. The message for me was wanting to continue to find the pieces I need to let go of.

  • I had difficult bosses over the years. When I would get told, “I need to talk to you about something,” my immediate reaction was always, uh-oh, what did I do wrong. Usually there was some reprimand. But even, someone recently said they wanted to talk to me about something, having nothing to do with work. And right away, I thought, uh-oh, what did I do wrong. So I hear you. Thank you.

  • Thank you, that was very powerful. When I talk to or listen to people, two different thoughts always come into my mind. I tell myself that they are speaking from their infinite wisdom. When I look at it that way and listen that way, then I am not judging them. Sometimes it is hard, but I keep that thought utmost in my mind. The second thing I know is that people talk from their own agenda. Even though they may ask me a question and it sounds like they want to know something about me, and I get excited that I can talk about myself, they are asking that question because of something inside of them, something related to them which has nothing to do with me. It’s always a good thing for me to remember both of those things. It helps in my interactions with people.

  • I love this reading you did today. I don’t see fear listed in what you wrote, but I am realizing that fear is underlying each one of your statements. That’s the way to do these things. To put down the fight and pick up the love is about overcoming the fear. And seeing the good in the different is all about letting go of the fear of the different. I think it’s so important today in our political situation to pay attention to that: to see the good in the different. I read and listen to the news from the other side so that I can overcome my fear and see the good in the other side. If people don’t’ do that, we are in big trouble.

  • I love the line “put down the fight and pick up the love.” What a great mantra.

  • Thank you for the incredible openness of this group and the willingness to be on this journey within our selves and sharing with each other. It’s an incredible gift and a wonderful anchor. Thank you so much. I hope you all have a gentle day. Photo credit: Antony Tira (a respected Maasai tour guide and photographer at the Matira Butsh Camp in the Reserve)