Lately, the world has been too much with me. As an empath, my compassion for those who are suffering goes deeper than it might otherwise. I can’t turn my head or my heart away and pretend that it doesn’t exist. With the daily assault against decency that takes the form of the words and actions issuing forth from the administration, there is seemingly little time to catch our breath before the next onslaught. For me, this is not about politics. It is about concern for our brothers and sisters regardless of the land on which they stand. As a spiritual being, I know that the God of my understanding is my safe place to turn when I feel overwhelmed. People often ask how God could let this happen. Not sure it is orchestrated completely by the Celestial Composer, but rather, we are called on to show up, stand up and speak out against injustice.

Hard for me to comprehend how anyone could support hatred in any form. When I speak/write truth to power, I don’t name call or put anyone down.  I offer factual input. I do my best to bridge the gap created by people of differing beliefs. I admit that I do cringe when I see vitriol spewed whether online or in the form of bumper stickers, as I did yesterday. Almost nothing that I hear from DC surprises me. The hardest part for me is not knowing who around me might agree with it. I have had little opportunity to have a face to face conversation with someone whose entrenched beliefs differ dramatically from mine. I would like to think that my love could extend to someone who hates (they likely don’t see it that way, but rather, simply protecting what they fear to lose, in terms of privilege), but sometimes it is hard. I want to change minds and open hearts. If my actions or words land on fertile ground, then I will have accomplished an important goal; to make America kinder.

I view myself as a world citizen and what happens in the country of my birth impacts the entire planet.

When children are torn from parents, I sob. When people are called an ‘infestation,’ I want to puke.  When the sustainability of life on Earth is endangered by negligent policies, I worry for the next generations. When people justify, deny, and support those things, this erstwhile pacifist wants to shake sense into them.

It would be so easy to give up hope for a better future, a better world, a better life on this Big Blue Marble spinning in space. I don’t have that luxury. I surround myself with others who feel as I do. We hold each other up and keep each other sane and vertical. There are times when I am just plain exhausted…call it resistance fatigue or compassion fatigue when I feel all gived out.

Buddhist teacher Pema Chodron teaches a practice called Tonglen which allows for taking in and releasing the suffering of others. I have become adept at the first over the years, but need to do so with the second. She encourages, “Breathe in for all of us and breathe out for all of us. Use what seems like poison as medicine.”

In addition, I have taken time to nurture myself and recharge my batteries by spending time in nature, with friends, immersed in love soup, enjoying music, working out at the gym, getting massage, dancing, hugging, laughing. I did all of those things yesterday and today, I am feeling a greater sense of hope.

Today and every day, I intend to be a force for good in the world.

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