How does one stay present and in our hearts, while it seems that the world as we know it is unraveling?  One only has to open a news feed or watch a newscast to feel a dreaded sense that we are spiraling out of control.  And we may feel helpless to make a difference.  We may even wonder if we’ve somehow participated, consciously or unconsciously. This can be a daunting burden to bear, particularly for the sensitive at heart.

So how do we walk that balance between listening to and observing the details of worldly events, and yet staying true to our Heart’s conviction?  That at the core of humanity there exists a certain wholeness and inclusiveness that strives and believes that something wonderful is being unearthed.  I find that on any give day, I can experience or witness such an extreme of life events. I may start the day with the best practices and intentions to make JOY my navigator, and then I will experience or witness something tragic or cruel.  

Years ago at a women’s retreat, we did an exercise to clear away negative or heavy energy from our hearts.  By placing a stone in our palm and then intending all the pain / anger / sorrow in our body-mind-spirit to flow off of us and into the stone. When the process felt complete, we would toss the stone out into the waters, sometimes sighing, crying, screaming, or laughing as we let go of the heaviness.   This intentional physical exercise had the effect of a personal reboot: lighter, clearer and stronger.  

Through my life’s work, I’ve learned that I resonate with the feelings of those around me.  It is very easy to become consumed and identified with the emotion of another. This makes doing the work I do both a gift and a challenge.  It may serve to let me understand the pain, fear, joy, etc of what someone else is experiencing, but I may feel helpless to do anything to change the situation. I realize that what I can do is BREATHE into my heart of hearts and BE with the person. Simply being present with compassion, grace, understanding, forgiveness and truth.  Almost always, this is all that is required.     

Like the exercise of releasing the stone, a compassionate presence may allow the feeling to loosen its stranglehold, sometimes revealing gems of insight and truth for the person. 

Another way to move through pain or heaviness is through simple random gestures of kindness – simply looking into a strangers eyes and smiling, holding a door for someone or pausing to listen, really listen. There are many more such expressions of good will. Like the stone being tossed out into the waters, all acts of thoughtfulness and meeting someone where they are will create a ripple in the waters of life.

With Love, Light and Joy,

Carole Wray