I may be unusual in that as a child I would sometimes lay awake stressing about the cold war, acid rain, and other issues potentially threatening the future of mankind. Being sensitive, also, to my parents peace of mind I didn’t want to bother them or anybody else with my spiraling thoughts-
So, mostly, I carried my fears alone.
Now, I have no trouble speaking out and I understand that keeping it all in is not particularly healthy, but I still hold a fierce desire to protect those I love from heart-ache.
My 11 year-old son is my kindred global worrier and will sometimes come home concerned about some teacher’s dire warnings about the hopeless state of our environment or current affairs, and I have to talk him through it,
reminding him that there are very clever people working very hard on our biggest problems and that he may even have his own contribution to make someday –
though silently wishing in those moments that the message, still acknowledging that relaying evidence and information is crucial, had been more around inspiration and positive call to actions.
For how can we ever deny our impressionable and listening children the idea that there will always be hope and that there is good and important work waiting to be done in our world?
At least six times I have sat down to blog about the political climate here and in the United States as it has very much been on my mind, and at least six times I have scrapped much of what I wrote,
realizing I was criticizing, complaining, judging and obsessing.
Somehow, I needed to separate myself from all of the endless chatter and find some light, some reason, some quiet, before I could say anything at all.
What I have come to realize, too, was that every single time I have expressed fear and disgust around the state of our politics and future,
I have sent the message to my kids that their future is something to be feared rather than anticipated.
Shortly after my mom died, I had a vivid dream, one which I will never forget.
I was standing in the kitchen in the house where I grew up, though mom was clearly already gone. Suddenly, I discovered that there were cakes hidden in every cupboard, on every shelf, in every single available space…
beautiful, home-made, joyful and gorgeous, always more and more cakes, and they were mine, ours, to just keep finding and pulling out –
Birthday cakes, Wedding cakes, Holiday cakes, My-Goodness-Look-at-What-You-Just-Achieved cake, Life-is-Good-cake, Happy-Tuesday cake, We-Are-So-Grateful-Cake,
and then even still more cakes.
Though it feels as if I have read hundreds of political articles in the last few months coming from every angle, here is one I loved –
the Dalai Lama giving his bit on what is happening in the Western World right now:
Selflessness and joy are intertwined. The more we are one with the rest of humanity, the better we feel. This helps explain why pain and indignation are sweeping through prosperous countries. The problem is not a lack of material riches. It is the growing number of people who feel they are no longer useful, no longer needed, no longer one with their societies. ..This pattern is occurring throughout the developed world — and the consequences are not merely economic. Feeling superfluous is a blow to the human spirit. It leads to social isolation and emotional pain, and creates the conditions for negative emotions to take root.
What if I put my energies towards the things I know make me brighter, stronger, and less fearful –
stretching, reading, walking, eating together, putting down my phone, talking to kids, playing, laughing, drinking tea, writing, making wonderful plans….. ?
Then, spreading kindness, and contributing where and when I can.
And yes, using my voice for positive change,
but how much stronger and more effective my voice is when it comes from a place of compassion and self-awareness.
And remembering to keep on finding the light, the cakes, the reasons to celebrate, the joy.
This is the seventh version of this post. Finally, I think I have it.