Resourcing for Resilience
Updated: Oct 24, 2021
When faced with tragedy, how do you hold distress and grief? How are you sourcing support, courage, and resilience?
I am so grateful for great teachers like Joanna Macy, to be filling my mind and heart with her words of wisdom in light of distressing events. She writes about the Buddhist reflection on the certainty of death and the uncertainty of the timing of death, and how this can awaken us to our humanity and the preciousness of life.
“The massive dangers overshadowing our world today… tell us we can die together at any moment, without warning. When we allow that possibility to become conscious, it is painful, but it also jolts us awake to life’s vividness, its miraculous quality, heightening our awareness of the beauty and uniqueness of each object and each being.”
She also writes about opening to and breathing through pain and how we are all connected in the “vast web of life… like neurons in a neural net…”
“...the pain we feel for our world is a living testimony to our interconnectedness with it. If we deny this pain, we become like blocked and atrophied neurons, deprived of life’s flow and weakening the larger body in which we take being. But if we let it move through us, we affirm our belonging; our collective awareness increases.”
These are both quotes from Joanna Macy’s book, “World as Lover, World as Self.” I am looking to this book, as well as others, including “The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible” by Charles Eisenstein and “Mindful of Race” by Ruth King for the relevant and essential wisdom they offer for our times. It is resources like these that support me in being with grief and centering myself to take practical action, with courage and hope.
And so, I share these words and the ideas they convey, like a hand outreached, that our palms may clasp, and we feel our inter-being through our two hands touching, holding. That we may breathe together, knowing our interconnectedness through breath, the one breath, the life-force we exchange and share. And we can be here, holding hands, breathing deeply and rhythmically, through tears, through anxiety, through injustice, through anger, through fear.
May we open ourselves to feel it all, together. And may we honor and know ourselves in how much we can open to. Letting a little in, piece by piece, titrating, going easy on our hearts. When one person carries a large amount of pain, it can be crushing. In sharing the burden, with each person opening to and feeling the pain of the world, the pain disperses, so that it does not all rest in a few hearts or on only some shoulders.
And together, in our inter-being, as we breathe, and titrate, and open, may we know the preciousness of life. May our opening to the pain and reality of death transform the way we hold and experience life. May it “jolt us awake to life’s vividness”. May we hold all of life – our own experience and all beings – as the sacred gift it is.
Breathe. Open. Titrate. Transmute.
See the little miracles. Know your belonging. Walk in beauty. See with eyes of love.