I woke at dawn and stared out the window at cotton-white clouds floating across a vibrant blue sky. Look at that color, I thought to myself. What a gorgeous start to the day!
Then I remembered Israel and Palestine and Ukraine and the horrendous acts of violence committed by terrorists and quickly closed my eyes against the pain.
How will I make tea when terrified children are dying at the hands of madmen? How will I feed the cats with my usual sing-song welcome to the day as bombs drop on helpless men and women? How do we live with the constant drum of heartbreak beating in the background of our daily lives? And what really matters anyway when there’s so much suffering in a world that makes AI robots and international space stations but can’t find a way to make peace?
Sometimes, when the anger and frustration get to be too much, I let my mind take flight. I imagine I’ve amassed an army of peacekeepers who swoop in with staffs of light that raise the consciousness of warmongers and terrorists forcing them to stop in their tracks and fall to their knees with regret. Or I picture myself in Washington at a large conference table with fellow citizens who have had enough of the dysfunction in our own country and say just the right words to convince greedy, power-hungry politicians to surrender their egos for the good of humanity.
Fantasies are like pressure relief valves. They help reduce the anxiety that comes from feeling helpless and allow us to recapture the emotional capacity to show up for those in need.
I also pray. I send prayers like pleading poems out into the universe in search of miracles and divine interventions. Years ago, I heard the story of a woman who had a near-death experience after dying in a pileup on a highway close to her home. She said that as she hovered above the vehicle watching the paramedics work on her body, she could see streams of light flowing from bystanders to her and she understood this light to be prayers. She said their love brought her back to life.
I’d hate to get to the other side and find out that my prayers and healing thoughts could have made a difference so I’m not taking any chances.
In times like these, empathy is both a blessing and a curse. It ignites a fierce desire to be of service and yet can buckle our emotional knees. In the end, we mend heartbreak with action. We pull ourselves back from the brink of despair by returning to the present moment – the command center for strength and love. And then we do what we can to help.
Your good heart has an important place in this crazy world so take good care of it. Limit the news, get extra rest, and stay connected to those you love. And please remember to pray in your own way. Let’s not take any chances.