Even though it’s February, my path to work did not look like this. In fact, I had the incredible joy of cycling to work this week.
Along with the sheer lack of snow and ice along the bike path that weaves through town, the biggest motivator for me to commute by bike that morning, was an amazing morning light. The kind of light that radiates hope.
It was as if I was looking through the shadowy tunnel of a dim, distant winter and seeing soft yellow-orange rays of sun peeking through. For this reason, it’s (almost) okay that we are likely in for a large dump of snow in a few days. For this one moment, I am grateful.
Brighter mornings, sunnier days and the sounds of birds chirping can certainly add some buoyancy to days that can so easily be filled with concern or struggle.
are small glimpses enough?
Are these small, very welcome harbingers of spring enough to uplift when the dim tunnel also reveals much darker, less-welcomed personal, community and world situations?
• Serious illness of someone close to us
• Harmful choices we make to stay stuck in destructive patterns
• Negative choices others make near us
• Highway fatalities
• School shootings
• Courageous demonstrators against injustice seemingly getting nowhere with policy changes
• Online trolls baiting readers with inflammatory over-generalizations and irrational comments
• Others taking the bait and arguing with said trolls, circular arguments going nowhere
• Wanting to respond but reacting instead
Where is the light that uplifts us when dark, heavy matters are constantly right in front of our faces, news-feeds and inboxes? Do we bury our head in the sand, self-medicate to numb the overwhelm or raise our voices in protest?
In a mindfulness group session recently, thoughtful, engaged participants shared their ideas for staying resilient in turbulent times.
Here are some of those ideas:
1. Consume media mindfully as opposed to compulsively
2. Read thoughtful writers and not just sensationalist media sources
3. Look for the “helpers” – Fred Rogers
4. Be a helper. Volunteer. Be part of a community
5. Be grateful. Look for light in even dark situations.
6. Sit with and breathe through the discomfort/ fear/ anger.
7. Be kind and compassionate with yourself and others
“I have seen many storms in my life. Most storms have caught me by surprise, so I had to learn very quickly to look further and understand that I am not capable of controlling the weather, to exercise the art of patience and to respect the fury of nature.”
We can’t control the turbulence of life, but we can allow ourselves to sit with the hard feelings in the dark. We can notice the light that is there, contribute where we can and then sometimes, just sometimes, we can get on our bikes and ride in the middle of winter!