South Carolina Grief Project

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South Carolina Grief Project

After receiving the following letter from Justin, I immediately invited all Certified Facilitators to specifically be available for all the people whom Justin and many of us care about so deeply. Certified Facilitators, please go to the Helpline and volunteer your time to those people wanting help through their recent tragedy. For those of you wanting help, please go here. Our facilitators are here to support you on the Helpline, free of charge.

Thank you, Justin, on behalf of everyone who understands the suffering that grief and fear can bring, and on behalf of all of us at the Institute for The Work of Byron Katie, our gratitude for the invitation to serve peace.

In the interest of peace and the end of suffering,
Byron Katie and the Certified Facilitators at the Institute for The Work of Byron Katie

P.S. The Helpline is a volunteer-based service offered around the clock, seven days a week, as volunteers are available. This helpline is for people new to The Work and for those needing occasional help or support in doing The Work.

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Justin’s letter:

Dearest lovely Byron Katie,

My name is Justin H. and I am a 26 year old, South Carolinian living abroad currently in Mallorca, Spain, teaching English. I am writing to you now in what I would call a “completely out of character” way, but after reading this morning´s news about the truly heart-breaking gun attack in the place where I grew up, I haven’t been able to focus on anything else but writing you this email.

As Mallorca is an island in the Mediterranean, normally I would be enjoying this paradise on earth, and reveling in the wonderful fact that I have distanced myself from SC, which I once believed to be such a backward, suffocating, and unloving place to live, but I have recently come to truly SEE, by doing The Work, that this idea was simply the filter that I chose to see it through. I CANNOT thank you enough for bringing such clarity into my life and in such a short amount of time (I discovered you and your fabulous body of accessible ideas in another book only 2 weeks ago), and I think ALL of South Carolina deserves this same blessing. It´s our birthright, as I’ve heard you put it.

In the news today I have simply been witnessing the storm of panic…people fighting political wars in message threads…de facto discussions about the history of racism in the United States…gun-control debate renewed…intrigue into profiling this young shooter…is capital punishment appropriate for him or not…is the United States a fundamentally bad place…which news sources have right on their side and which are racist…is the Governor´s response to the shooting heartfelt enough…should the Confederate flag be removed…and all I can think is THIS:

THEY ARE MISSING THE POINT TO BRING ABOUT TRUE CHANGE… (Well, not all of them are missing the point…)

Chris Singleton, the son of victim Sharonda Singleton said, “So if we just love the way my mom would, then the hate won’t be anywhere close to where the love is.”

(To me, these beautiful lives are the point.)

What I´m asking, Katie, as a man with limited resources and connections, and literally thousands of miles from my home (at least physically) is this: Can you help open a dialogue among the people of South Carolina and show them your wonderful way, as you have shown me, that transcends racism, politics, violence, and FEAR. If I can catch a whiff of freedom in two weeks, thanks to YOUR Work (OUR Work, as you might say), then I can only imagine what it can do for all the people of South Carolina and the nation in such a time of true need for its universal message. Can you help us to make the way our people think, as beautiful as the land the live in???

A very big request from an eternally grateful fan.

Thanks for your consideration,

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  1. After reading Justin’s inspiring letter about the Charleston massacre I had the overwhelming urge to call and share my experience about Charleston.

    I called and spoke to one of volunteers and she suggested that I write to you.

    I grew up in Birmingham, Ala. during the Civil rights movement as a young teenager and was appalled to watch the horrific treatment of African Americans. I was attending the high school when they integrated. There was so much hatred and anger that I was afraid to go to school and couldn’t understand the intolerance of people. This (obviously) has impacted my views of compassion and not just tolerance but accepting everyone for where they are on their journey of life.

    So when I saw this on the news it really hit me hard. I knew that I had to go to Charleston (have been living in SC for over 40 years). Didn’t know what I could do, just had to go. It was June 24th when I went, carrying some flowers. Such a different atmosphere in Charleston, the feeling of love and compassion was strong. Not the hate and fear that was in Birmingham all those years ago. Tons of flowers, people talking, writing notes on the large board with beautiful words “Charleston United” printed at the top. I’m Caucasian, talking to African Americans and we would hug and cry together. I still am deeply saddened about this horrific act but encouraged to see so many people in sympathy, showing love and support of the church and community.

    We have come a long way, but there is much to be done.
    Thank you for your part in helping us heal.

  2. I live not too far from Charleston in Beaufort and this happening so close to home ( I lived up in charleston as a kid at one point.) really struck a chord. It was sad that a place so diverse could harbor a human being like that.

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