“The cracks are where the light shines in.” Leonard Cohen
I used to hate listening to the news. I thought ‘Why should I?”, “Why should I ruin my day with things beyond my control?”. There are certainly times to turn it off if it creates anxiety, but now I see that in order to help the world, I have to stand up and be witness to it, all shapes and forms, not just the happy stuff but the tragic, scary and extreme as well. And as I listen to the news these days, I hear plenty of anger and fear going around. It seems that when people take a stand of anger or hatred, there is conviction, a no-holds-barred, 100% commitment to their opinion, and sometimes action to follow. They have no problem asserting their beliefs on the world. No part-timers here, no fearing or hating when it suits them, when they’ve had a good night’s sleep, or when they’re in the mood. I’m not sure, but I don’t think there are casual, part-time terrorists.
Why should it be any different on the other end of the spectrum? Those of us who might choose a different path, one that includes an approach of love and compassion, who know the world can operate from a different viewpoint… why should it be any different? It may seem like a monumental task, when the haters get more coverage than lovers, but I do believe there are more people in the world who want peace than who want war, so if that is you, I encourage you to take it on full-time. Many studies have shown we are actually hard-wired for empathy and inter-connectedness with each other, not for hate and separation. That is learned.
What does this mean on a micro-level? This gets trickier. Do you love only when you feel good? It certainly feels easier. Do you love only what you approve of, when things go your way, and reject the rest? Here is the hardest challenge of human experience. You don’t have to like it, to love it. If there are cracks, bumps or blocks, what is it inviting you to open up to, to accept, to move beyond? Blocks or rejections don’t go away, they show up elsewhere like projections onto other people, anxiety or even depression and addiction.
Bodies are a great example. As a teenager, like many young girls I suffered with disordered eating and a distorted body image. Even as a young, fit, healthy 16 year old, I could say that I hated my body. Now, as a 50-something, with the usual signs of aging and chronic lower back pain, even though I don’t enjoy pain, I can say that I truly love this vessel that carries me around, gives birth, gets tired at times, and doesn’t always do what I want or look how I want. How does that work? How do I explain that? The conditions are worse, but the love is more!!
Because love is not a condition, it is a state of mind that accepts the perfectly imperfect. It makes life easier, but never means we lie down and give up. I still exercise and eat well, but with compassion and a fair does of forgiveness, but not criticism, and I want this for you, too. So how about you? Are there people/areas of life/situations that you are resisting, that you can love and accept, simply so you can get unstuck, move forward with what is, and what you want, and shout it out from the rooftops! We are all human, so relax.
It is easy to despair. It is much harder to stand up and speak out for a more loving and peaceful world. It starts right here, right now with us. As Ghandi said we have to be the change we want to see. But it is also necessary to move beyond ourselves and into the world. What we do for ourselves, we do for others and vice versa.
Have a great week everyone,