That’s why I think the shared sentiment we are sitting with during these strange times isn’t grief, but heartbreak. We haven’t lost anything that was true to begin with, at least for good. Sure, we were infatuated with a future that would never love us back, a past that could never come closer. In our swooning for things that would never be, we scorned a gentler truth: the only love we had ever known, is beating through us and all living things each moment, calling out to us, again and again, like Mary Oliver’s wild geese.
Select pieces written over the past few years. Click here to see the Newsletter Archive.
In times of crisis and overwhelm, intentionally paying attention to the small pockets of pleasure or peace in our experience can be immensely sustaining. The practice of appreciation, our CEC theme for October, begins with giving yourself permission to seek out and experience goodness, and then noticing what gifts, however small or subtle, are within your reach at any given time.
By Sarah Barmak
At a time when taking action is so important — marching in the streets, moving funds to grassroots organizations, or mobilizing during an election — what role does sitting in stillness or core contemplative ideas like “acceptance” have to play?
As long as we hold onto our old selves, there is no space for a new one to be born. And this is what it’s all about, letting go and making the space for something more authentic. Instead of exploring and adopting characteristics from the outside world, an existential crisis is an opportunity to explore our inner world.
We triangulate our sense of self, balancing internal self-perception together with our perception of how others regard us. What I am is informed by the network of relationships with everybody else (including the self-looping relationship from myself to myself). This has profound implications for ethics, spiritual practice, and politics.