For so many, grief for the devastation of our world has long been activated and felt; for others, a virus has broken us and opened the portal to grief, perhaps more than we think we can bear. Grief for the suffering and dying of our human family; grief for having squandered so much life energy on non-essentials; grief that our accustomed way of life undermines other life. Our honored Earth elder, Joanna Macy — who turns 91 on May 2 — and her esteemed colleague Molly Young Brown tell us that “What we are dealing with is akin to the original meaning of compassion: ‘suffering with.’ It is the distress we feel on behalf of the larger whole of which we are a part. It is the pain of the world itself, experienced in each of us.”
The pain of the world is harder for us to ignore or deny now, as we face the terrible knowledge that communities without privilege have always carried burdens from which the more economically-advantaged have distance, but with which our own comfort is utterly entwined. The wilder ones have also borne the burden of our comfort. How can we face the enormity of this? Is it too much to ask of us amidst our own struggles with livelihood and with the health of our families and communities and ourselves?
So much suffering, it is hard not to avert the gaze. But, as Joanna Macy advises, when we look and feel and weep with our kin, when we water the world with our tears, we nourish the underground streams of our interdependence. We also soften the boundaries we’ve held between us and all the Others. In this way, we become more porous to the longings of mystery, of the wilder ones, and of our larger body, Earth: all of these our most essential guides.
~Geneen Marie Haugen
when I sense loss I look more closely…
inquiry for today~ this may need a little extra depth…
On your in-breath, gather your attention.
On your out-breath, drop into the body.
Shift your attention to the sensation of your feet on the floor.
Sense stability and support through this connection to the earth.
Rest in the experience of being grounded.
– Roshi Joan Halifax