In a conversation yesterday with a learned friend we spoke about how we can be instrumental in bringing light to a world that seems to be slipping deeper and deeper into darkness. We spoke of some of the atrocities that have been committed in our time and how difficult it is to be confronted with the question “Why?” in the face of these horrific images and events. One thing we agreed on is that we were both firm in our faith that all is not what it seems to be and we are continuing to hold a vision for something emerging from all of this turmoil that is so much better.
The last few weeks we have been bombarded with violent events, death, destruction, anger, hatred, and people acting out of a misguided sense of duty fed by fear and resentment of “the other”. It appears the shadow side of humanity is taking over the organism, especially after yesterday’s reports from Nice, France where yet again there has been an attack resulting in unthinkable loss. Personally, my heart continues to ache as I respond to the cries of those who are suffering so deeply. So many people are grieving in this moment…we have all lost so much. It feels overwhelming and the urge to shut down is palpable. These attacks have become weekly events. We barely integrate one into our awareness when there is another. Our nervous system’s natural inclination when overloaded is to shut down completely, in hopes of “rebooting”. And we are overloaded.
Shutting down, however, is not the choice I will make, although I will turn off the TV and walk away from my computer from time to time for “mini-reboots”. I need to do that to protect my energy so that I can stand firmly in my faith. And when I say “faith” I am not implying religious faith, but more a strong sense of trust in something much greater than myself, than anyone I know, and much greater than what is at work in what we see unfolding before us. My faith is rooted in my belief in the intrinsic goodness and Love that pervades the Universe and that, in the end, is what holds us all, even the “bad guys”. My faith is intact albeit shaky at times, especially when the next news story breaks about something awful happening somewhere in the world that seems to illustrate the antithesis of goodness and love. Admittedly, staying firm in my faith is work. It would be much easier to be swept away by fear, anger, frustration, and the need to blame…these are the first emotions that arise. And they are also the ones that underscore how we can be of help…and to help is to be aware of the reaction we are having, to notice that reaction, to honor our feelings of pain and compassion for the suffering, and then to rise above those reactions to a higher place of holding space for something better. Again, not an easy task, but in my view an absolutely necessity if we want to see a change in this climate of hatred and intolerance. Simply put, SOMEONE HAS TO DO IT! I’ve decided to be one of those “someones”. Because the change has to begin somewhere and I truly believe each one of us has influence on that change by the way we respond to the unfolding events. This is not to say that I will not feel my fear, my anger, my rage at the agonizing pain these horrific acts leave in their wake. It means that I will not allow them to steal my faith from me, nor will I allow them to thwart my resolve to envision what I know in my heart is possible – resolution, respect, redemption, understanding.
The way I see it, my job is to hold fast to my faith and to do the work of saying “Yes” every day to being a carrier of that faith. In the face of so much that is not in my immediate control, I feel energized by the fact that doing this job successfully is entirely in my control. It is a calling that I am empowered to answer.
STRETCH: When you feel the weight of the events of the day remember that you have the choice to say “Yes” to something better. Call it faith, belief, peace of mind, whatever language suits you – but know that you have a choice to opt for a vision of something better for your life and the lives of all.