I have pretty much devoted much of my life these days to staying grounded, trying to do good, trying to use my writing and photos and blog to be creative, to uplift and inspire, daunting tasks for so flawed and humbled a human being. I am no saint, I am not always even very nice.
I do always wish to be better.
But my heart broke a little bit watching the news this morning, and I wanted to share my Five Steps For Dealing With Awful Things. Our idea of old age in America is deceptive, even though my energies are not those of my youth, this is the time of the opening flower for me, the time of fulfillment, the bringing for of what I have prepared myself to bring forth as I approach the next phase of my life, or my death.
I do not see life as a loss, but at as a blooming. Every day brings us a choice: are we standing at the locked gate, or at the open door? Everything we face is one or the other, a gate or a door. I choose the door, light and darkness are not different things, but one thing.
Today, another opportunity to grow. To turn away from anger, hatred, division and self-righteousness.To cleanse ourselves of poison.
That is how I feel about the shocking and awful scenes from Charlottesville, one I never imagined I would ever see in the country that saved me and my family from the very ideas and hatred others are marching for. Such scenes mean different things to different people, we all live on our separate paths.
I am grateful my grandmother and grandfather did not live to see Nazi's parading down an American Main Street, I don't know that they could have survived that. I am thinking of African-Americans and their families watching in great suffering as broken people celebrate slavery and slaughter.
It is never my wish to divide, but I will gladly share the steps I take to stay hopeful and hopefully, helpful. I believe that truth and compassion are stronger than hatred and evil. They might not always prevail, but they will always ultimately prevail, or the world cannot survive. I think it is not the duty of my God to give us perfect lives, only hope.
I first think of the person I most love, and express my gratitude for them. I think of Maria, sleeping so peacefully in bed, of her great heart and loving spirit. I think of my friends, my work, my daughter, and of Red and his healing work, and Fate and her energy, and then of little Gus and of the sunshine he has brought to my life. This softens my heart, and reminds me that life is good.
I think of prayer and contemplation and meditation, the pathway for me away from hatred and anger. I go to my sacred space. There, I turn inward, to my better angels, and think of the ways in which I can be better, more loving. I think of the art of listening, of walking through the door that has appeared. How to be more human? More just. More empathetic. Better than this.
I connect with another human being. This morning, I think I will go see Art at the Mansion Assisted Care Facility and pray with him for healing and comfort to those who were hurt or killed. Art and I are so different, yet that is the point, isn't it? We can sit together and pray together and speak to our own Gods and plea for a better world. The world is a mess. The world has always been a mess. The world is a glorious place.
I create things, I wrote and take pictures that remind myself and some people of the color and light in the world.
I am training myself in the quality of love. Love is the point, said God in the Kabbalah, said Jesus in Jerusalem.
There is only one way to enter the mystery of the Open Heart, wrote the mystics. You love your God to the extreme, whoever he or she is, not abandoning devotion for any reason, for any sad or troubling or hateful news. You attend to the demands of your heart and soul, the remainder of your time on the earth is for whatever else you need.
Healing comes from within, not without. First, take care of yourself. You can not save the world, but you can make a joyous noise.
When it comes to weakness or tragedy – through old age, disease or the hatred of others – we free ourselves from these awful wounds just as a mango or fig or apple releases itself from its bond, and we hasten back to life. Just walk through the door.
Those are my steps this morning, they are the only things I can offer. I don't presume that my own wisdom works for anyone else, I am not a priest. I can just be open about what works for me. Another chance to do good rather than lament evil, I suppose that is the devotion I will not abandon.
So I offer that, and a photo of Gus, which seems to make everyone smile. Today is another door, and I will walk through it.