The next number of posts, all titled Conversations on… come from email communications between a dear friend and me. With her permission, I am publishing excerpts from them because I feel they pertain to everything we’ve been discussing on the blog. Kate is in the process of trying to figure out how to be a writer and still maintain her teaching job. At her request I’ve changed her name and am using initials for people she brings up. It’d be great if you all would join our conversation…
All the troubles in the world are certainly not helping all of us in our efforts to fight our own daily battles, are they? Our friends, Keiko and Ray, who live about 150 miles from the crippled Japanese nuclear reactor site, as well as the countless others who are suffering from the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami, have been weighing heavily on our hearts. It is difficult to know how to carry on with so much human distress and unimaginable crisis going on around the world right now. The images are almost impossible to process. It’s hard not to see them as apocalyptic, and I don’t mean that in a religious sense. I find myself wondering to what extent my own state of mind is painting this picture for me. Then the objective reality hits again. If there is any good out there in all this, I hope humanity is able to recognize it, grab hold of it, understand it, protect it, live it.
I feel lots of things about all the chaos and suffering in the world. I believe we (humanity) are reaping what we’ve sown. We’ve damaged and destroyed Mother Earth almost beyond salvation and she is responding. I feel so much compassion for those who have lost their loved ones, their homes, their lives. But I think it always has to come back to us, the individual, to address what we can, to do what we can do. Few of us can fly to Japan to help, or even send much money. What I believe we CAN do is put positive energy out into the world–to Japan. If you believe in prayer, pray for Japan. I feel that when we focus on the disaster it gives more energy to it. If millions of us sent healing energy I think it’d have a positive impact. I’m not saying this takes care of Japan. All the rescue and relief operations are so necessary, obviously, I’m just saying those of us who are limited in what we can do are able to do this.
A friend of mine said something very helpful to me. She said, “Today I feel blessed. I am surrounded by my family, my offspring thriving, living in the world, like healthy children do. Seeing the images that come from Japan is heartbreaking. How temporary a certain reality can be…” So FOR Japan, I am fully appreciating the blessings I am living right now because to do less would be an affront to their suffering–and to take the lesson that nothing is permanent; to celebrate what I have today, in this moment, for it could be gone in a heart beat. I think it is up to each of us, individually, to recognize the good, grab hold of it, understand it, protect it, live it. Then it is possible.
I was taken by this quote from William deBuys. I think it’s something of what I’m trying to say: “Skiers are taught not to fix their gaze on the tree or rock that is the source of their danger. If they do… the obstacle exerts a seemingly magnetic force and pulls them into calamity. The trick is to focus elsewhere, to look not at the hazard but always at the path to safety. And then, in less than a heartbeat, the danger is passed.”
My daughter is due to give birth today, but we continue to wait for her body to decide when it is ready. I’m on call 24-7until that happens. I am going to keep William DeBuys’ words in my head and ‘focus elsewhere’. My job is to keep the two other children calm and occupied, keep the house going so to speak, and be available to help the midwives if needed. I have contingencies for my classes this week, just in case the whole thing extends beyond the weekend, which it probably will. The contingencies feel inadequate, but this is yet one more opportunity for me to learn to let go of what is not important.
If I’m offline for a few days you’ll know why.
I’m sure you told me about your daughter’s pregnancy when you were here but it wasn’t real for me then and I’d forgotten. What a PERFECT antidote to the destruction in the world: the fresh hope of new life. I am so excited for you all! Please let me know, when you can, that the dear new one has come. I’ll celebrate with you here in New Mexico.
So, have a magical period of birth over the next however many days. It is simply magnificent that life continues to renew itself–that life goes on, as they say.
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Love to you all,