I’ve heard times of great difficulty expressed this way – to find stillness in the eye of the hurricane – and it has never been more challenging in my lifetime.
CBS This Morning interviewed Bishop T.D. Jakes and he described it as a trifecta of crises that the country is dealing with – economic, physiological, social. I would add political to the mix. Before he described it this way, as these forces of turmoil coming together, it just felt overwhelming and difficult to comprehend.
But we have to find a way to break it down into manageable parts and tackle it the best way we know how for the sake of the country, our families and our sanity since there is no other choice but to cope. I’ve encountered far too many people in life who avoid coping, it isn’t healthy but rather cowardly and painful. As we say in ultra running, the only way out is through.
The protests are front-and-center right now, and I’ve spent the last week or so seeing the problem in a new light by diving in deep to commentary and perspective to understand and recognizing that I have a responsibility to understand. We all have inherent biases and without doing the work to gain perspective, those biases will always be there.
Tara Brach shared a wonderful African proverb on her weekly live stream last night:
The child who is not embraced by the village will burn it down to feel its warmth
While I’ve never been a victim of police brutality and I’ve never feared the police, I have had experiences in life that have made me feel this way. During the #metoo movement, I read the news everyday and broke down in tears nearly everyday. We all have a responsibility to care for and support one another in our efforts to become more human, and most of us have the capacity to show empathy for other people suffering and respond with, ‘what can I do to make it stop?’
Many of us have been asking ourselves this same question for months – ‘What can I do to make the virus stop’… ‘What can I do to help businesses survive and help people who have lost their income?’ Yet in reality, many times we can only deal with the biggest question on our minds, ‘How can I get through this day?’ And then it becomes the next day, and the next and the next until it feels like it’s never going to end…
Discipline and priorities can be liberating as they provide the comfort that we are doing our best. The priority right now must be to take in the historic moments that are defining the times. For me that has meant scouring the news, watching all the news reels – regardless of how painful it is – and making decisions about what can be done now.
From making masks to patronizing local family-owned restaurants to joining an anti-racist book club, these are all small steps that can make a huge difference especially if they become habitual.
I have no wisdom or unique insights to share because life has been daunting and humbling these past few months and it has taken my breath away nearly everyday. I am grateful for an income and a continued ability to provide for my child and myself. I am grateful for every day that I’m given with my kid and my dog at my side.
There are many spiritual leaders stepping up to support us, find one that you believe in and take it all in. Breathe in experience, exhale peace. The world needs more of it right now.
Om Shanti. Shanti. Shanti.