In the midst of this challenging time, we want to stay healthy and find ease of being and even joy. It’s not only possible, it may be the most important thing we need to do to stay healthy and be prepared to serve our communities.
Times of crises invite us to turn our attention towards the better world we want to create. It is a contemplation that can not only uplift our own spirits but bear tangible fruit in the ways it increases our strength, vitality, and vision.
When great challenges present themselves to a culture or to the world as a whole, they create a demarcation line. The time before, and the time afterwards. During the “inbetween,” which we are in the midst of right now, structures, assumptions, convictions, and beliefs are all re-ordering themselves. When that happens, there is the possibility to make real changes. Those changes may start small, as one individual or one local group begins to relate, communicate, and support each other in ways that are not common to our culture. A small change can reveal a new possibility. And that can begin to change culture from the inside out.
Let’s consider a few questions now. If you are like many people, do you often wish you had more time to just be? To contemplate, without all the constant activity and busyness? Do you have the time now but feel too distracted by the news, by worry, by cultural inaction?
We can work with this, without denying the distractions and background concerns, we can still create some small ways to cultivate inner strength and outer stability. Set yourself a space and a time during the day when you can just be. I have my morning coffee with contemplative music. It’s a time when I do my own reflective writing, my way of allowing deeper visions to come forward. I have a special journal, which is just for my aspirational writing. No lists, no projects, no courses for teens that I want to create. That’s my contemplative time before I meditate (you can join me at 8:00 AM weekdays!)
Being sequestered at home is like a little retreat. Now that the weather has warmed up, I sit in my tiny backyard with the bright-faced pansies and the four lone daffodils that decided to show their heads this year. I just sit and listen to the birds, watch the leaves on the willow begin to unfurl, and allow for some unstructured space and time. This kind of restful alertness, open and free, used to be one of my favorite things to do when I lived in the Himalayan mountains. Allowing time for unstructured inner exploration, time just to enjoy and appreciate the mystery and delight of being alive.
I encourage you all to find your own way. I encourage you to really do it. Make your home and the rhythm of your life the expression of what you want it to be. Little changes are best, we don’t need big projects now. Make space for a little unstructured positive time — a virtual reading night with friends, music time that lets you dream.
We have a rare opportunity now. As we start living in a way that feeds us inwardly, when it comes to creating new and better structures for our shared culture, we’ll be pulling from possibilities that are fueled by wonder and gratitude, rather than the more challenging emotions we can’t help but experience right now.