only through understanding can we love, and oh does the world need love
March 06, 2022
Are you managing the seas of life these days? It seems almost everyone I communicate with is carrying the weight of Ukraine in their hearts, including me. Our hearts that have already tried to find balance through a never ending pandemic that forced us to rearrange our lives, for some, even putting it on hold. Then watching the Afghanistan people fleeing their country for safety from violence and starvation was very difficult. Now watching an unstable Russian president invade Ukraine. It is a scary and heartbreaking time on the planet.
It's important to remember that these cumulating circumstances are indeed a lot to bear, and to be extra kind with ourselves. In order to be able to carry the extra emotional weight, we need to reach for whatever will nourish and sustain us. This is not a luxury, nor is it selfish to connect with what brings us joy and peace of mind, it’s medicine. It could be connecting to people we love that give us strength, or being with our Sangha or community of practice, or being in nature. If we try to carry this added stress without nourishing ourselves, we might jump into the hole of despair, incapable of even helping ourselves out.
I’m currently in a stone villa, in the hills of Marche, Italy, alone and sometimes lonely. It has been Spring, Summer and Winter here simultaneously and my emotional terrain is matching suit. Sometimes the cries of every Ukrainian mother abandoning their partners and homes to walk with their children and pets long distances to safety, pounds on my chest. Sometimes feeling the sun brilliantly kissing the land warms my nerve endings. Feeling present with the birds when they are full of song, evokes me to expand my breathing. This also reminds me that whatever is happening in the world, in my body and in my mind, coexists with other life like a tapestry that has been woven many times before. We inter-are.
Although in times like these, it’s easy to get swept up by strong emotions. This is when we need to remember our practice of coming home to ourselves with mindful breathing and mindful walking. It will help us find understanding, insight and compassion with what is.
Thay says if we can’t understand ourselves, we cannot love ourselves, or develop the energy of peace and compassion. If we cannot understand others, we cannot love them or see in them the energy of peace and compassion. So when loving kindness begins within, we have much more to offer a world in dire need of peace and compassion.
Coming home to our true and wonderful self is the moment we connect to the gifts that are around us. The sunrise, the blossoming of crocuses in the thawing soil, the fragrance of the forest after the rain, or the smiling eyes of a stranger. These moments are unfolding constantly and will happen in their magnificence regardless, but with awareness, they can nourish us deeply. Please pay heed.
On the topic of coming home, I will be back in Toronto mid March for a month to love up family and friends and perhaps create a mala or two. ;-) If I don't have a chance to write next weekend, please be extra kind to yourself. The whole world will benefit.