(Q) Thank you for sharing positive and uplifting messages. My question is, do you always feel that way? And if you do, given everything that is happening in the world right now, how do you do it?
(A) The simplest answer is, No. I don’t always feel positive or uplifted by what I see around me. To be honest, your question startled me, because it arrived on a challenging day and forced me to consider that I had allowed thoughts and things that had little to do with my wellbeing rule my day. Fortunately, I was able to find enough goodwill and upaya (skillful means) to reverse course and return to center. And that is the beginning of my answer to you.
I am certain that I am exposed to the same daily barrage of bad news as almost everyone else. I have it on good authority that the Dalai Lama tunes in to BBC a few times a day, so he is not exempt from it either. Unless we are living in a cave in the middle of nowhere, it is almost impossible to seal ourselves away from the collective effects of the lacuna (an unfilled space, interval or gap).
The entire world is sentient to this, which means that all of our senses and sensitivities are firing at once, all of the time. And because we are not accustomed to situating ourselves in the center of our being where energy is evenly distributed, it is easy to drift into uneven places where more often than not, we encounter the kind of news we can do without. I have said this before, but it bears repeating, this is where we are, not who we are. I remind myself of the same on an almost daily basis.
In terms of what I do or don’t do to stay centered, it depends on the day. I have the same tools you do, some work better than others. The most obvious ones are: Disengage. Walk away. Turn it off. Unsubscribe. I am curious about what is happening in the world. I am also aware that most of the “news” I receive will not be new and will not be favorable. I have weaned myself away from most media sources, especially less reliable and copycat sources. I tune in once or twice a day and turn it off as soon as I begin to feel adverse sensory effects.
I am often asked how I feel about Facebook (mostly by people who are not on it). I probably feel like you do. I like a few of the features it offers and dislike most everything else. I can tell how some of my friends are feeling by what they post. One friend has been posting only memory timelines from past years. It tells me she may not want to share how she is feeling today. Other friends post daily selfies with scenic backgrounds, strongly themed political statements, environmental pleas, cartoons, and favorite animal memes. You can tell a lot about what someone is feeling by what they post on Facebook – but you can’t tell how they are feeling unless they reach out, or you do. Emoticons are not real, people are. We need each other now more than ever.
Can you remember what you wanted to become when you grew up? I wanted to become an ecological super-hero. I had a recurring dream I called, “Pepper Saves the World.” Life turned out differently, but I have always considered Mother Earth’s wellbeing along with my own.
Many years ago, during a time of great personal difficulty I could do little more than drive to the beach each day and pick up trash. I can’t explain it, except to say that it kept me sane. Over time, I got to know the locals – those with homes and without, joggers, surfers, street vendors and more. After a few months I found small piles of trash waiting for me. It wasn’t why they were there, but everyone helped. It made the beach a nicer place, and it made them feel better too.
I’m not sure if they kept it up after I stopped going, but I like to think they did. None of us can save the world on our own, but together we can do a lot. We may not even be able to fix this world. If we can’t, we will need to build another. Together.
Long ago, a stable and noble profession was that of a “breach-mender.” Much like it sounds, breach-menders fortified city walls, foundations, garrisons and more. Back then, when breaches could not be repaired, buildings were abandoned. Over time breach-menders also came to mean those who brought warring sides back together. People discovered that broken promises, contracts, and treaties could be mended, or healed. Breach-menders were not the diplomats or negotiators of today. They were great-souled people who could see with the eyes of the heart and heal with nature’s intentions. Perhaps we could benefit from breach-menders, or better yet, become one ourselves.
I see this time as a journey we are all on. For lack of another word, I will call it an exodus from the known to the unknown. We are only at the beginning of the journey now, in the earliest stage. If we go too fast, or imagine only worst-case scenarios, we will burn out before we get to the later stages. We need to take our lessons from the distance runners of long ago. Travel light, stay aware, have a care.
Thank you for your question. I hope my honest answer helps you to know that we are feeling the same way and expressing it in different ways. Although these times seem more challenging than others we have faced, our ancestors have faced similar. Our planet, Anima Mundi, is a wise and sentient being. We are on a latitude of change, with resource and resourcefulness as companions.