6 Min ReadCulture 28 April 2020
Now is actually a very exciting time to be alive. Fear and uncertainty might be taking over our world but I really do believe that underneath it all, this is a time of transformation for our planet.
On one hand, I genuinely feel like there is more going on with the coronavirus than meets the eye. And, on the other hand, I am aware of how that sounds to others. In no way am I saying the virus is to be taken lightly. But I want to share my perspective, opinions, and interpretations based on research and apparent patterns. My intention is to direct awareness toward another perspective people may not have considered before. My intention is not to make people feel angry over some theory, but rather to add a layer of critical thinking that might interrupt a pattern and, in a way, wake people up to move past fear.
For example, if a frog is put in boiling water it jumps right out. But if that same frog is put into lukewarm water and the temperature is turned up gradually, it will stay in and let itself be boiled. Sometimes, I think we may be so "in it" that we aren't aware of what really could be happening. Like that frog that doesn't know it's about to be boiled.
Now is a time of going within to question the reality that has been projected to us for so long.
Old systems are breaking down. This is happening at both an individual level and a collective level. Not just external systems, I'm talking also about our own individual belief systems that we thought would never change. Collectively, what this looks like is that a certain societal power-dynamic that's been in place for a very long time is beginning to fall apart.
Right now, there's a narrative that you may think is happening in the world, but I believe that behind the scenes there's a lot more going on. And, furthermore, people are starting to be aware of it — you can start doing your own research. We all have the ability to find these patterns and connect the dots.
There are things happening that aren't in the highest integrity, but the only way to combat that is to realize the purpose of it is for all of us to come together as one. By that, I mean that there may be some people with agendas who are trying to keep the mass population in an unaware state. When people are unaware, they're in fear and anger, which makes them much easier to control. They're much more likely to look to authority for instructions, and that's kind of the way it's been for a long time.
For example some doctors have recently said they were instructed that if somebody of a certain age dies, and that person was around somebody that was younger, they should automatically declare the exposed younger person as having the Coronavirus. Some of them refused, but not all. Furthermore, The National Post, a Canadian newspaper, recently reported that some doctors, nurses, and other hospital staff in some of the hardest-hit provinces in Canada — which is ranked 13th among the world's most infected countries — said they have yet to face that feared surge of coronavirus patients. "So far, at least, there is no flood and plenty of available ICU beds. In Ontario, almost 78% of the province's expanded ventilator capacity remains free." Something doesn't add up here.
As cliché as it sounds, to turn that fear into love and this separation into unity, we need to stop feeding the virus. It sort of is like there's this number of people that have gotten it and died from it. However, based on my own personal research, just to put that into perspective it's 0.000052% of the population.
I'm not downplaying what is happening at all, the virus is real and people are being affected, however, some things aren't adding up. So what I started doing was, I stopped watching so much of what was out there making me feel fearful which helped me relax a bit.
Understand that I'm still aware of what's going on, but I don't have to continually focus on it, because I don't want to continuously feel it. One of the best ways you can add value and help other people that are in the fear is to be aware of your own fear and then just let it dissipate. As people come to see your relaxed state of being, they will naturally follow your lead. Energy is contagious.
On the scale of consciousness there is always fear towards the bottom and then anger above it. From there, we can move beyond that negativity into acceptance and empathy. 99% of what the mainstream media shares is completely negative, evoking some of the lowest vibrational emotions possible. And as a society, we are conditioned to believe and emotionally react to whatever they are sharing throughout the world. This results in so much extra fear, which, in turn, keeps us all in survival mode.
So am I saying to not be worried?
Yes. That is exactly what I am saying. Because worrying doesn't do anything except put you into survival mode, weakening your immune system and draining your mental health. Should you be aware? Sure. But that doesn't mean fear needs to be your dominant emotion. And it definitely doesn't mean that you have to watch the news nonstop.
You are powerful because your focus is shaping your world and the world around you. Where focus goes energy goes too, so sometimes the best thing to do is just observe. Yes, be aware. But you do not need to react; there's a huge difference. Awareness means you are processing the information internally, whereas a reaction is instinctive, abrupt, and often fear-based. And the former is much better for your immune system. So yes, wash your hands and be careful. But if you are obsessively washing your hands to the point of compulsion, you may be in such a stressed state that you're doing yourself more harm than good. Just wash them when you need to and relax a bit. During this time, your state of being is more important than you may realize.
Take care of yourself.
If watching the news is making you freak out then start to limit it. Know that you can choose what you give your focus. Take this time to go inwards. Reflect, ponder, loosen up a bit, build stronger bonds with your family, and do whatever will make you enjoy your life here and now.
So relax — fear is a choice. You can choose to be afraid or you can choose to be aware.
The best thing you could do for the world right now is to be strong and trust this process, because just living your life in such a positive light will inspire others to do the same. When people see that from you, it might get them thinking:"Oh, you can do that? I was just so deep into the news that I didn't even know calm was an option." Take it from me who's been calm throughout this entire process.
It's of utmost importance to be in a high integrity mindset right now. I believe that situation has forced people to wake up and question things. It seems like a lot of them are trying to find their purpose right now. They may be quarantined inside their houses thinking, "I want to do some inner-work, I want to find out more about what I am meant to be doing." And that gives me hope for humanity flourishing in this moment of darkness as we begin to look towards the light in our future.
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5 Min Read
You may recognize Judge, Tanya Acker, from her political and legal commentary on different networks and shows like Good Morning America, The Talk, Wendy Williams, CNN Reports or The Insider. Acker is more than an experienced commentator. She is also a Judge on the fifth season of Emmy nominated CBS show, Hot Bench.
The show, created by Judge Judy, is a new take on the court genre. Alongside Acker, are two other judges: Patricia DiMango and Michael Corriero. Together the three-panel judges take viewers inside the courtroom and into their chambers. “I feel like my responsibility on the show is, to be honest, fair, [and] to try and give people a just and equitable result," Acker says. She is accomplished, honest and especially passionate about her career. In fact, Acker likes the fact that she is able to help people solve problems. “I think that efficient ways of solving disputes are really at the core of modern life.
“We are a very diverse community [with] different values, backgrounds [and] beliefs. It's inevitable that we're going to find ourselves in some conflicts. I enjoy being a part of a process where you can help resolve the conflicts and diffuse them," she explains.
Acker's career has been built around key moments and professional experiences in her life. Particularly, her time working right after college impacted the type of legal work she takes on now.
Shaping Her Career
Acker didn't foresee doing this kind of work on television when she was in college at either Howard University or Yale Law. “I was really open in college about what would happen next," Acker comments. “In fact, I deliberately chose a major (English) that wouldn't lock me into anything [because] I wanted to keep all of my options open." Her inevitable success on the show and throughout her career is an example of that. In fact, after graduating from Yale, Acker served as a judicial law clerk to Judge Dorothy Nelson who sits on the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
It was not only her first job out of law school but also one of the formative experiences of her professional life. “[Judge Nelson is] certainly, if not my most important professional influence," Acker says. “She is really the living embodiment of justice, fairness, and believes in being faithful to the letter and the spirit of the law," she exclaims. “She delivers it all with a lot of love." Judge Nelson is still on the bench and is continuing to work through her Foundation: The Western Justice Center in Pasadena, California, where Acker serves on the board. The foundation helps people seeking alternative ways of resolving their disputes instead of going to court.
"I enjoy being a part of a process where you can help resolve the conflicts and diffuse them," she explains.
“It was important to her to try and create platforms for people to resolve conflict outside of court because court takes a long time," Acker explains. “I'm proud to be a part of that work and to sit on that board."
After her clerkship, she was awarded a Bristow Fellowship and continued building her career. Outside of the fellowship, Acker's legal work incorporated a broad variety of matters from civil litigation, constitutional cases, business counseling, and advising. One of her most memorable moments was representing a group of homeless people against the city. “They were being fought for vagrancy and our defense was, they had no place to go," she shares.
As part of her pro bono work, Acker was awarded the ACLU's First Amendment Award for her success with the case. Though, she has a hard time choosing from one of many memorable moments on Hot Bench. Acker does share a few of the things that matter to her. “Our show is really drawn from a cross-section of courtrooms across America and the chance to engage with such a diverse group of people really means a lot to me," she discusses.
How Did Acker Become A Judge?
In addition to Judge Nelson, Judge Judy is certainly among her top professional influences. “I think it's incredible [and] I feel very lucky that my professional career has been bookended by these incredible judges," she acclaims. “I've really learned a lot from Judy about this job, doing this kind of job on television." Before Acker was selected for Hot Bench, she hadn't been a judge. It was Judge Judy who recommended that she get some experience. Acker briefly comments on her first experience as a temporary judge on a volunteer basis in traffic court. “I was happy to be able to have the chance to kind of get a feel for it before we started doing the show," she comments. “Judy is a wonderful, kind, generous person [and] she's taught me quite a lot. I feel lucky."
Photo Courtesy of Annie Shak.
Acker's Time Away From Home
Outside of Hot Bench, Acker took recent trips to Haiti and Alabama. They were memorable and meaningful.
Haiti, in particular, was the first trip she excitedly talks about. She did some work there in an orphanage as part of LOVE Takes Root, an organization that is driven to help children around the world whether it's basic aid or education. “Haiti has a special place in my heart," she began. “As a person who's descended from enslaved people, I have a lot of honor and reverence for a country that threw off the shackles of slavery."
She was intrigued by the history of Haiti. Especially regarding the communities, corrupt government and natural disasters. “They really had to endure a lot, but I tell you this when I was there, I saw people who were more elegant, dignified, gracious and generous as any group of people I've ever met anywhere in the world," she goes on. “I think it left me with was a strong sense of how you can be graceful and elegant under fire." Acker is optimistic about the country's overall growth and success.
“[Judge Nelson is] certainly, if not my most important professional influence," Acker says. “She is really the living embodiment of justice, fairness, and believes in being faithful to the letter and the spirit of the law."
“There are certainly times when people treated me differently or made assumptions about me because I was a black woman," Acker says. “I've got it much better, but that doesn't mean it's perfect...it certainly isn't, but you just have to keep it moving."
Her other trip was different in more ways than one. She traveled there for the first time with her mother as part of a get out to vote effort, that Alabama's First black House Minority Leader, Anthony Daniels was organizing. “It was incredible to take that trip with her [and] I've got to tell you, the South of today is not the South of my mother's upbringing," she explains. Originally from Mississippi, Acker's mother hasn't been back in the South since 1952. “Every place has a ways to go, but it was a really exciting trip [and] it was nice for me to connect with that part of the country and that part of my history."
Overcoming Racial Barriers
As a black woman, Acker has certainly faced challenges based on her race and gender. But it doesn't define who she is or what she can accomplish. “There are certainly times when people treated me differently or made assumptions about me because I was a black woman," she says. “There's no sort of barrier that someone would attempt to impose upon me that they didn't attempt to impose on my mother, grandmother or great-grandmother." In a space where disparity is sometimes apparent, she recognizes that there is no barrier someone would try to impose on her that they didn't attempt to impose on her mother or grandmothers. “I've got it much better, but that doesn't mean it's perfect...it certainly isn't, but you just have to keep it moving," Acker states. The conversation continues truthfully and seriously. Acker shares what it can be like for black women, specifically. “I think we're underestimated and we can be disrespected, whereas other folks are allowed the freedom to enjoy a full range of emotions and feelings," she articulates.
At times black women are often restricted from expressing themselves. “If someone wants to make an assumption or jump to a conclusion about me because of my race or gender, that's on them, but their assumptions aren't going to define me," Acker declares. “If something makes me angry or happy I will express that and if someone wants to caricature me, that's their pigeonholing; that's not my problem." A lifelong lesson she learned and shared is to not let other people define who you are. It is one of three bits of wisdom.
Three Pieces Of Advice From Judge Acker
The Power Of Self-awareness
“It's really important that you have a really firm sense of what you want to do and be, and how you're moving in the world because when people try to sway you, judge you or steer you off course you've got to have some basis for getting back on track."
Know Your Support System
“Have a strong community of people who you trust, love and who love you," she advises. “But also learn to love and trust yourself because sometimes it's your own voice that can provide you the most comfort or solace in something."
Learn From Your Experiences
“Trust yourself. Take care of yourself. Don't be too hard on yourself. Be honest with yourself.
“There are times when it's not enough to say this is who I am. Take it or leave it. Sometimes we've got things that we need to work on, change or improve upon," she concludes.
Acker stands out not only because of her accomplishments, but the way she views certain aspects of her life. These days, she's comfortable accepting what makes her different. “I think there's a time when you're younger when conformity feels comfortable, [but] I'm comfortable these days not conforming," she laughs. She enjoys being a decision maker and helping people work through it on Hot Bench.
This article was originally published May 15, 2019.