Fires. Destruction. Shootings. Deaths. Blood. Hurricanes. Evacuations. Water. Fire. Smoke.
I have felt for the past few months, or quite possibly the past year (hey, remember January 20th, 2017?) that the world is surely headed towards destruction. Nothing but horrible news. Politically, atrocious. Personally, a friend from my circle was murdered in January. More recently, a friend of a friend was murdered in Vegas. My childhood summer camp burned down to the ground today in Santa Rosa. Patients of mine sharing their loss and sadness, including worry for family in Puerto Rico enduring Hurricane Maria.
My chest is consistently tight. The world is surely ending. The California earthquake is coming! The big one! Are you ready?
But today, I felt different. Today I realized.... sure the world is suffering. Sure it truly is horrible to witness the pain murder has caused those around me, the loss of homes and property, the wiping out of an entire island. The pain I hear every day from my patients, my coworkers, from NPR (I really should limit my NPR listening). BUT, am I focusing on the JOY that life brings too? Living externally, focused on the news, social media feeds, friends of friends of friends... but what about if I slow things down, take a breath, and pay attention to MY life? Sure, we must care for others around us, but we ALSO must notice the joy in our lives. And even notice the good in the greater world! Perhaps I have felt guilty for my good fortune, my privilege, for my own happiness. But, I am tired of living in guilt and in fear.
Since January, if I stop and reflect, I notice that I have been brought immense gifts from the Universe. Amazing things are happening within me and within the world!
First, me: I have nurtured my love for my partner which grows deeper and deeper each day -- We went on a gorgeous walk in the redwoods only a short drive from my house just last week -- I have spent beautiful moments with 3 of my living grandparents -- I traveled to Mendocino County, and breathed in the stunning coastline -- I am getting closer and closer to my LCSW -- I have cultivated a lovely and warm home -- I reached my goal of performing in a burlesque show -- I planned a trip to Oaxaca -- I visited friends in Atlanta and Seattle -- I visited the Sierras and spent a relaxing weekend with my parents and my love -- my yoga practice grows deeper -- I spent a beautiful day in the redwoods at a meditation retreat ..... and even the little things: I love my cozy bed, the warm lights in my bedroom, pumpkin treats from Trader Joes, a discovering that shrimp is pretty good, the news that my cat has a UTI, not cancer.
Okay wow. I think I glossed over my personal triumphs and beauty of MY life while being so immersed in the crushing waves of the world's woes.
A friend posted this on Facebook, and it coincidentally fell in so beautifully with my idea for this blog post. It is titled What Went Right? July to September 2017 . Apparently, in the midst of my fretting that the world was truly going to end, not in my lifetime, but possibly the one after, some pretty cool things were happening: Women in leadership positions in parliament has gone up, 10 countries offer gender neutral identities on passports, the UK elected the first female president of the Supreme Court, protection for rape victims have implemented across the Middle East, and puffins in the UK are now protected,
I invite you to take a moment and notice your life. How do you strike a balance between holding the weight of the world, and tuning in to your own life's triumphs and moments of love and joy? Are you able to internalize the good in the world, not just the bad? I am learning to, for one thing.