We cannot eliminate hunger,
but we can feed each other.
We cannot eliminate loneliness,
but we can hold each other.
We cannot eliminate pain,
but we can live a life of compassion.
“Accepting This” by Mark Nepo
Sometimes the overwhelm, the depression, the anxiety, they come to us because we have just seen too much. We have pondered the world around us and found it to be too much. Suddenly it was an invasion of difficulties that we simply could not manage, had no response for, and that left us feeling lost and unable to move with any sense of meaning.
World hunger. Deep loneliness. Discrimination, injustice, hatred, pain and suffering of a million kinds.
That’s the sign, when we feel these things crashing down on us, to return to the center. Returning to the center, as these daily reflections have tried to remind us, can be done in many ways: walking a labyrinth, meditating, breathing, getting outside, engaging with nature. The list, fortunately, is a long one. There are many ways of returning to our center.
And here are a few more. Feed someone. Hold someone or give them a hug, if they are open to it. If not, hold them with your gaze, with your attention, with your listening ears and heart, with a supportive word. Extend a hand of compassion.
When the largeness of difficulty becomes too much, and it always does, for all of us, at some time: return to center. Look down and find the ground. Look around and see who is hurting. Reach out, and be the difference for someone else who is currently being slayed by the overwhelm of life.
We can do that. We can find a way, today, to take care of one another.