Just like TV, the world keeps spinning new stories. As does our lives. Within us lies a vast treasure house of ideas that storm the surface and recede, not unlike the hurricanes and “extreme climate events” appearing in our newsfeed each day. It seems there is no aspect of our world that isn’t lashing against itself or some other in frantic attempts to find peace. When has “frantic” ever wrought “peace“? Must we need storms to find calm?
These of course are rhetorical questions and I think, thoughtful ones to ask ourselves as the light shifts, days shorten, dusk shows up sooner, and our interior worlds become ever more important. Not just our home environments (and may we take a moment to pause and appreciate the home we have right now) but also our internal mental and emotional environment, where in truth, most of our lives are lived.
With so much fretting and kvetching in the media, this season, Fall, holds an opportunity for us to counteract the reactivity with a measured repose – heart, eyes, mind, arms all open, willing to acknowledge what is here among us in its entirety without being subsumed by any of the callousness.
As I get older, I realize more and more how long and strong institutions and history are and how short our time to engage and interact with a world I hope we all mostly love, is. How to harness the part of us that rails against injustice into a formidable counterpoint to it is a wise human’s noble goal. The effort becomes more resonant as we enter into a quieter time of year, Fall.
On this the vernal equinox, in the Northern Hemisphere, the natural world begins its calm slide into winter and gives us instruction on how to relax our efforts, deepen our roots, and shed the unnecessary. Trees lose their leaves having extracted all they needed from their short life, a scorching brilliance amid maples, aspens, sycamore and amber. Bereft of their leaves, roots deepen and broaden, strengthening their connection to what truly feeds and nourishes them. Yellow jackets, finally, are silent, no longer buzzing incessantly in backyards and patios. Morning clouds soften pale skies and birds wing their way southward through them. Afternoon light turns canyons golden and green. Quiet. Serene.
For a week now, I’ve been sick and at home, in bed and on the couch, cared for by my beloved Shelley, and strangely content (when I wasn’t physically distressed). This was the type of illness that had me in the ER to be sure it was just a passing thing, and yes, it is. A passing thing. It has been the type of illness that has opened up a space in me to consider my own life and what I am doing in its smallness for the greatness that is all our life together in this biosphere of grace we seem to take for granted.
We are here together. We are as one. It may not look like it with the conflicting messages we receive via broadcast shows and news, but perhaps we have too many channels going and think we need to resolve everything in the timeline of a reality-blurring TV show that seeks to make our own seem narrower than it truly is.
Perhaps we can take this new season to understand ourselves and our neighbors a little more by listening when spoken to and objectifying no one, especially those who by our past conditioning are easiest to vilify. Perhaps we can take this new season as an opportunity to demonstrate how we do understand “e pluribus unum.” Perhaps we can chose in this new season to promote kindness by being kind everywhere we are, to everyone as much as possible, including ourselves, but most importantly to one another, because admit it, don’t you feel better when someone acts kindly toward you?
I know I do. This week as I’ve been housebound, the kindness in my beloved’s actions, her heart shining through her eyes, reminded me every time I saw it, how loved I am. The kindness in the ER staff who helped me navigate the most pain I’ve ever felt in my life reminded me how much we as humans rely on one another, and that each of us has what another needs, and how easy it is to give when we do it authentically as ourselves, as who we are. I don’t have to be a doctor, but this week, I’m glad someone is! I’m a poet and deep inside I hope someone’s glad I am one too!
It’s a new season, just like on TV. But unlike on TV, I’m choosing this season to broadcast the tenderest and most thoughtful aspects of my self, scripting the dialogue, inner and outer, with an intention to transform and heal all that ails us. This season, I’m determined to find peace within myself and be grateful for all that I have, knowing, mist likely, it’s all that I need.