Last evening we received a letter I think many can relate to this particular week:
Hi Mara & Danny,
In light of everything that’s been happening this week (and this month, this year, this decade, this lifetime), what do you do when the world feels like a scary place to live in?
My immediate reaction is to stay at home. Lock the doors. Don’t let anyone in, and don’t let myself out. Stay where it’s safe. But I know that’s not living, and I know that’s letting the darkness win.
My heart feels so heavy, and I don’t know what to do with that weight. Even though I try to be kind and bring joy to the people in my immediate circle, it doesn’t seem like enough. I can’t change the laws that need to be changed, I can’t stop the hate that causes people to do terrible things, I can’t stop every bad thing from happening. So what do I do?
Her note prompted a quick reply which I thought might be worth sharing…
Thanks for writing,
I’ll admit, normally I’m quite verbose in these email exchanges. But this time the answer came to my mind in a very short and simple phrase.
Just love the person right in front of you.
I’m not sure what else there is to do, but to be one of the distribution points of love in what at times feels like a sea of darkness or hate. Sometimes, doing that small and simple thing — loving the person in front of you — can still take a decent amount of work. But it’s worth it.
This week, I had one of those moments where I felt offended towards someone. Stewing in that offense felt awful, it pulled me back from things and people I care about for a few hours, even a day.
When I pulled myself enough out of the fog, I committed to a ritual I oftentimes perform. I lit some sweet smelling incense, set it on the floor, laid a folded over blanket next to it to sit on, calmly observed the swirling smoke for a few minutes…and when my mind was sufficiently cleared of other thoughts….I started to figure out how to love again.
What would it mean to love those that offended me? What would it mean to understand them, and replace offense with compassion? What would it mean to willingly release that overhanging feeling I’d allowed to pile up inside of me by my own stubbornness? How could I change the story I’m telling myself about the offense, so that I can move on and restore connection again?
While it was a great mental exercise, and it did indeed free me quite a bit…it was missing something. Where I’d previously withdrawn, I needed to connect. I needed to go Love who was in front of me. In this case, it meant loving Mara, and our 3 cuddly puppies. I needed to finish my mental release by actually going out and doing some authentic connecting.
So I did. And if felt good.
So the answer, while simple, takes effort…and sometimes a little preparation to clear your head and heart of the weight that at times presses upon them.
So….go love and be present for the person in front of you, and relish in the connection that is formed in that tiny world that exists in the moment the two of you share.
If anything good is to come to this world and those we love…it will begin right there.
The last few days certainly have created a space for heaviness and contemplation.What little rituals or ideas do you use to get yourself back to a place of connection?