I was more affected by the UN collective announcement of our dire climate change situation than I would have thought. There is so much ongoing information on the topic that I suffer, as many do, from information overload. But this one is harder to put in the same box on the same shelf, labeled “I know, but am helpless to do anything about it!” It is so unpleasant to experience helplessness on such a large scale when I already experience it moment to moment in my own small daily life.
To paraphrase the childhood educator, Joseph Chilton Pearce, “The intelligence of a species can be determined by the way it serves to promote the continuation of its own species.” By that measure, we humans seem to be scoring very low marks. We have always gone for domination of resources for our own particular tribe over the welfare of the larger whole. Thus it has ever been. Civilizations rise and fall, continually rebuilding over the ashes of the one that went before. Stars explode as supernovas providing new available materials for new planets to form within their own galaxies. This all may be true, but NIMBY, or NIMcountry, or NIMplanet!
We live in ‘interesting times’ as the Chinese curse goes. And in my lifetime I do not think there will soon arise a global response to the problems we face. May I be utterly wrong for the sake of a potential grandchild and all current and future generations. May leadership emerge to inspire a change of lifestyle that can turn this huge ship around to sustainable living for all who inhabit this great planet Earth.
Meanwhile how do I handle my personal helplessness? I was helpless to save my husband from dying, to save my own body from continuing diminished function, or my own country from electing the face of the frightened helpless among us, looking to blame their disenfranchisement on the “others’ in every guise. Another quote from JCP is, “operate within a new form of science that asks not just what is possible, but what is appropriate—appropriate to the well-being of self and Earth. Such a question does not originate in the mental realm but the spiritual, and is felt bodily, once our senses and heart are attuned. So the central part of our being that simply must be allowed to function and be attended is the heart.”
― Joseph Chilton Pearce, The Heart-Mind Matrix: How the Heart Can Teach the Mind New Ways to Think
That is what I endeavor to explore every day in every circumstance. It is what I bring to Kendal with me, and I am grateful that like-hearted fellow explorers are asking to join my new meditation/contemplation groups. It is a sharing that I have to offer, and it is also a way for me to anchor my own heartful explorations in the company of my fellow residents. I look at how I have so far organized my weekly life here. Caring for my body through PT sessions, craniosacral massages, PT pool exercises, sleep and diet, group classes to hone my creative skills in writing prose and poetry, and singing with others. In addition there is regular socializing with those who are in various stages of dementia, decline, or are mentally present, enjoying community events and other’s creative offerings.
These activities I have committed to are indicators of what I use to harness my devotion to navigating the world with an open heart. My week is dotted with heart opening reminders, Wake up! Pay attention! Now and Now and Now!
by Judi Bachrach 10/3/18
I stepped into this unknown river.
He is not here to hold my hand.
I had not even been to Ohio before.
How deep did these waters flow?
How swift was the current?
Is there another side?
Hesitant and dripping wet
from ceaseless inner storms,
I searched along the bank while I stood shaking.
Here the riverbed widened out and I saw the stones.
Choosing which way was best for me,
a path was revealed, stone by stone.
New hands reached out for mine
Steadying, supporting, also wading through the unknown.
Nobody knows how long
but we do not travel alone.