I hold my face in my two hands.
No, I am not crying.
I hold my face in my two hands
to keep the loneliness warm -
two hands protecting,
two hands nourishing,
two hand preventing
my soul from leaving me
-Thich Nhat Hahn
Right now I feel I am holding tight to my soul lest it slip away from me in sorrow and despair; I believe anger will come later. Anger for the unwillingness to see how our culture and society have contributed to disconnection. How the media - movies, television, music, video & computer games - glorifies violence and de-personalizes human life. Anger over the dragging of feet when it comes to gun control. Anger stemming out of frustration and a sense of overwhelm when it comes to righting the course of things. The task it seems to me is how do we instill values of connection, care, respect and true dialogue?
Friday I had to resist the impulse to drive immediately to Cowgirl's school. To see her and hold her and remind myself of the goodness of this life; her being a tangible expression of love and hope for positive change. When I did go to pick her up, I had to control myself and not run to her and snatch her up in my arms. I did give her an extra long hug and then proceeded as if everything was the same as usual.
Because things are the same. This is the world we inhabit. Cruelty and senselessness have always been in place. Children are freed from sweatshop enslavement but more remain. The trafficking of human lives takes place across the globe. Our planet continues to be raped on a daily basis. When I preach being present for my life, that presence includes these soul-crippling realities. The impulse is to numb myself to all that is painful to bear, but that tactic enhances a sense of powerlessness and hopeless that I refuse to accept.
Being a parent, I am constantly challenged to clarify my thoughts and beliefs. I strive to be truthful when talking with my daughter. Children manage to ask the questions we adults have learned to avoid. So here is my opportunity to seek clarity and determine what it is I truly believe about this painful and beautiful life.
I do believe who we are at the core is goodness and love. That said, I do believe evil exists. I believe whenever we forget our essence is love, whenever we believe ourselves to be disconnected, damaged or cut off from the whole, then we align with that mis-perception of ourselves. Evil is born out of this mis-identification. I tell my girl that people who do bad things do so because they believe themselves to be bad; they have forgotten or lost their sense of innate goodness and wholeness. At a very basic level, they hold themselves to be unlovable.
I'm not a position to argue over the source of this disconnect. What I want more than anything is to stop debating, to stop trying to place blame outside of myself and look towards what is my responsibility. When I talk about self-care I really mean so much more than good nutrient, rest and physical care. The heart of what I want to offer is an experience of caring for, loving and honoring the goodness within ourselves. To remember ourselves as worthy of our own expression of love and cherishment. To then extend that care to those around us. To be fully present, loving and attentive to the people in our life. To cultivate true bonds and relationships that are more than just Likes on a Facebook page or hits on a website.
I want to know the color of your eyes, the shape of your smile, the person behind the avatar. I understand the razor's edge I walk here: I am a digital entity to most of you, but the real force for change has always been through words. This is the gift of online life: sharing words, sharing ideas so that we might each recognize the power of our own words as a force for positive change.
Here are my thoughts on this grey December day: I want to remember that what I feed my child is more than just organic, healthful food but ideas and beliefs. I want to raise her on a diet of loving values; entertainment that aligns with the principles of respect, care, and a valuing of life; kindness and compassion as anchors for living; I want her to know herself as worthy of both loving and being loved.
I want to nurture and participate in true community. People bringing their gifts together so that we may all grow stronger, wiser, more loving. Today I may hold my face and my heart in my two hands, but tomorrow I want to use those hands to reach out and bring the wisdom of love into my world.
If you have suffered, it is only
because you have forgotten
you are a leaf, a flower.
The chrysanthemum is smiling to you.
Don't dip your hands into cement and sand.
The stars never build prisons for themselves.
Let us sing with the flower and the morning birds.
Let us be fully present.
- Thich Nhat Hahn (Butterflies over the Golden Mustard Fields)