I awoke this morning with these words of wisdom from Clarissa Pinkola Estes on my mind. It is good to re-read them and soak in the reminder:
My friends, do not lose heart. We were made for these times. I have heard from so many recently who are deeply and properly bewildered. They are concerned about the state of affairs in our world now. Ours is a time of almost daily astonishment and often righteous rage over the latest degradations of what matters most to civilized, visionary people.
You are right in your assessments. The lustre and hubris some have aspired to while endorsing acts so heinous against children, elders, everyday people, the poor, the unguarded, the helpless, is breathtaking. Yet, I urge you, ask you, gentle you, to please not spend your spirit dry by bewailing these difficult times. Especially do not lose hope. Most particularly because, the fact is that we were made for these times. Yes. For years, we have been learning, practicing, been in training for and just waiting to meet on this exact plain of engagement.
I grew up on the Great Lakes and recognize a seaworthy vessel when I see one. Regarding awakened souls, there have never been more able vessels in the waters than there are right now across the world. And they are fully provisioned and able to signal one another as never before in the history of humankind.
Look out over the prow; there are millions of boats of righteous souls on the waters with you. Even though your veneers may shiver from every wave in this stormy roil, I assure you that the long timbers composing your prow and rudder come from a greater forest. That long-grained lumber is known to withstand storms, to hold together, to hold its own, and to advance, regardless.
In any dark time, there is a tendency to veer toward fainting over how much is wrong or unmended in the world. Do not focus on that. There is a tendency, too, to fall into being weakened by dwelling on what is outside your reach, by what cannot yet be. Do not focus there. That is spending the wind without raising the sails.
This is such an important bit of wisdom. Estes goes on to say that we must each do what is in front of us to contribute, to share our light in our tiny corner of the world. I remember words from Mother Teresa, Abraham Heschel, Julian of Norwich, Martin Luther King, Jr. and others that would reinforce this. We are not required to solve the world’s problems, but neither are we encouraged to simply give up and remove ourselves completely from responsibility for our small corner of the world.
In these odd days of COVID-19, toilet paper and hand-sanitizer hoarding, and self-isolating, social-distancing, what can we do for one another?
The average person can:
- be responsible about not sharing or spreading our germs (hand-washing, covering coughs and sneezes, etc., etc.)
- be loving and caring in our encounters with strangers (service workers, delivery people, grocery clerks, the neighbors we distance ourselves from)
- send money to those we would typically support – yoga teachers, churches, other charitable organizations and step up our giving to food shelves, shelters, and other organizations like the Red Cross or Salvation Army who will have greater expenses in delivering services right now
- check on friends and family and offer encouragement and support; help problem-solve or take on a needed task
- entertain children virtually via Skype, FaceTime, etc., so that their caregivers can take a break or send crafts, books, etc. for their enjoyment.
Another way we can contribute is by:
- Taking care of our physical and spiritual wellness – continue to meditate and pray; eat as healthily as you can during a time of scarcity; walk, exercise, stretch, do yoga; keep your environment bright, peaceful, and clean
- Listen to music, be creative, write words of encouragement – for yourself and others, send love to yourself by living with self-compassion
- Forgive yourself and others as needed, pick yourself up and move on with a fresh start
- Keep a sense of humor – laugh as much as you can
- Limit the alcohol, food excess and other substance reliance and focus on connecting with your Source and other people who share concern and provide inspiration for your highest good
- Share love, love love – for yourself, for family, for neighbor, for strangers. Keep your lamps burning, sisters & brothers
- Be grateful for the smallest moments of beauty, light, joy, safety, calm
Pinkola Estes concludes:
One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Soul on deck shines like gold in dark times. The light of the soul throws sparks, can send up flares, builds signal fires, causes proper matters to catch fire. To display the lantern of soul in shadowy times like these – to be fierce and to show mercy toward others; both are acts of immense bravery and greatest necessity.
Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it. If you would help to calm the tumult, this is one of the strongest things you can do.
All aboard, friends. Let’s get those vessels out on the metaphorical sea and share our light as brightly and broadly as we can.