I’ve been searching my way through the days with my hands, finding comfort and steadiness in physical tasks. Stirring up banana bread. Folding laundry. Rolling carnitas into enchiladas. Marveling at the wonder and unfairness of this life: feeling gratitude, feeling guilt.
Things kept breaking at our house this week: a water main, an egg, a website, a phone, a bike bell, an email account. The power flickered but did not, mercifully, go out. The rains came down like prayers for peace.
It’s eclipse season. The darkening days. The sense of despair, as we watch old global hurts, flare into new and horrifying levels of violence.
Everyone I’m talking to right now is having a hard time.
We feel heavy, we feel sad, we are brokenhearted or confused.
And some of you are so shaken right now, shattered by hurts so close to home, that all I want to do is wrap you in something soft and rock you back and forth.
The tenderhearted busy humans I talk to feel sick and guilty about going on with life when such terrible things are happening. But the children still need feeding. The work needs doing.
And so many of you are also exhausted, absolutely exhausted, because you’ve cared– passionately– for years now, following along with the hurts of the world, eyes glued to horrifying thing after horrifying thing, calling your government, protesting, signing petitions, explaining, raising money, voting, donating, learning, caring, grieving. Sometimes it feels like everything is just getting worse. It is tempting to collapse in despair.
But you don’t want to look away; you have never looked away; what a privilege, what a copout— so you stay glued to a screen because what if looking away might signal to the universe that you don’t care?
And you do care.
Oh, my dear human.
Sweet tired flower.
I know you care. The universe knows you care. Please find a way to turn your care into action– do one useful thing for someone, somewhere– and then unglue your bloodshot eyeballs from the sticky vortex of the screen and come back to yourself. Come back to your own heart. We need you there.
Yes; I am asking you to do the impossible and look away from the hurts of the world for minutes, even hours at a time.
I know this feels so counterintuitive.
But I promise that you staying up until 2am weeping at news stories or revving your nervous system into a frenzy and keeping it there for days on end is NOT ACTUALLY HELPING.
Make a phone call. Make a donation. Send a loving text. Listen deeply. Speak up for someone else.
These things help.
I believe that the following things will also help:
Taking a walk in the woods
Reading a novel
Praying for peace
Cooking something delicious
Taking a nap
Cleaning out something cluttered
Having friends over for dinner
Making some bad art
–These things are not frivolous. These are the ways that the helpers make sure that they can keep helping.–
In a metaphysical sense, I believe that these things help because each of is always sending out ripples into the energetic field we all inhabit together. That a child’s laughter helps a tree somewhere, which gives courage to a sunbeam, which softens a parent’s heart, which changes the spiritual DNA they pass on…
And on a practical level, I know that we need you to BE HERE with us. Not frenzied and out of your mind, not glazed with images you keep watching over and over, not spinning and disembodied. When we act in a frenzy, we are clumsy. We knock things over. Our words are thoughtless, sharp. We spray out fear tinged with our own personal trauma. Our energy is chaotic. Animals and small children feel nervous around us.
This doesn’t help.
Please let yourself land in the earthy ground of your own body.
Please let yourself breathe into your own lungs.
Please let your eyes soften so that you can see the room you’re in.
Please let your hands and your feet reorient themselves so they are connected to the rest of you.
Please let your awareness come down into your heart.
We need you here. No, down even further. Come on down even lower, sit right down in the dirt and moss and mycelium network, nestle in the earth’s own beating heart. Let your roots trickle down and grip the earth that holds us all. Let your stardust greet mine. Maybe from down here, we can try to look at each other with the softest eyes. Maybe from down here, we will be able to recognize each other.