How We Hold Ourselves in A Hurting World
Our world is in some kind of pain right now.
That could probably be said of any point in history. But this is our point in history. And today's bright media lights shine fierce on all that's broken, battered, divided. Layer that onto the wounds we all carry from living, and it's easy for a soul to get discouraged.
The question I've been holding lately is: How do we be with this?
It's helped me not to approach this question demanding clear-cut answers. But rather to continue to ask it of myself, to experiment with different possibilities, to find what serves me some days, what serves me other days. It's a soulful inquiry, not a fact-finding mission.
A few practices have surfaced for me, and stayed true over the days and months.
First, it helps me to be honest: Yes, this world is hurting, and yes, I am hurting with it. Papering it over with "I'm fine" only distances myself from the truth.
Being thoughtful, in a big sense of the word. Thoughtful about who I spend my time with, what I listen to, read, watch. Am I filling myself with agents of cynicism, righteousness, despondency or nourishing myself with wisdom that can help light the way forward?
Wholehearted attention to the little moments. Telling the cashier I love her green nails. Listening totally to the acquaintance I run into. Watering my plants. These seemingly insignificant points are reborn with significance if I put my whole self into them. While the world might be in pain, I can give my love to the tiny piece of it I touch at this moment.
These are no cure-all. Just small nudges I offer myself to try to stay human and whole.
There is great pain and hurt. Enough to break the heart many times over. And to paraphrase some old wisdom: with our hearts broken open, may we open further to the world.