Suffering is not new.  And yet, when the newest wound, the freshest cut, the current scene plays out before me, it comes crashing down, squeezing my heart, knocking air from my lungs, weighing my body down, pressing me closer and closer to the ground, as if to remind me to root into the Earth.

Ukraine.  The people of Ukraine.  The people of countries all over this great Earth of ours.  This new scene of horror, this freshest of cuts, this newest of wounds.  I have no words, only the squeezing of heart, the pressing into earth, the coming up for more and more and more air, please.  I believe good will prevail.  I cannot see the steps to get there but I believe and I have faith and I have heart.  Rooting, together.

The days tick by with quiet routines and responsibilities.  I am unsure where the last week has gone, am aware though, as I move through my routines and responsibilities, that, halfway around the world, there are people whose routines and responsibilities have been disrupted, overturned, ripped out from beneath, become inconsequential.  I watch the evening news to stay abreast, the final story each evening supposedly uplifting, but barely so.  Still.  People are rooting, together, in their movements.  Out of one country, into another country, staying with the heart, stepping into outstretched arms, releasing, hoping, praying, separating, coming together, despairing, grieving, dying, living, trusting.

There are tulips on the kitchen table, one on my nightstand.  They open more each day, begin their slow drooping toward table top, arching out and away and toward.  I love how tulips droop in their blooming, the way they release and give in to a new shape and contour.  It saddens me too though, as I know this means their end is near.  It is a suffering.

Suffering is, perhaps, always about moving out and away and toward at the same time.  As Ukrainians suffer, as the world suffers (in a different way) alongside them, I have heart that we are moving toward something else.  I don’t know what or why or how, but I believe and I have faith and I have heart.  In the suffering, in the rooting, in the releasing into a new shape and contour.

May we be stronger, more beautiful, more loving, more true in whatever follows.

Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls;
the most massive characters are seared with scars.
~ Khalil Gibran ~

P.S. I’d love for you to join me this month for The Quiet Page. We’ll be exploring Compassion this month. I’m feeling rather pensive as I prepare for our time together, and I hope for it to be healing in many ways. We meet Wednesday, March 16; there’s a digital version available for those who cannot attend the live gathering. All details are right here.

P.P.S. Registration is also open for Just Five Things. Ready for playful, thoughtful list making? Click here to join us.

6 thoughts on “suffering

  1. I have a yoga class over zoom on Thursdays with a long-time teacher who shares wisdom like you do, not just poses. We’ve been focusing on different breathing techniques. Last Thursday she could not help but address what is happening in Ukraine and spoke about how all minds are connected whether they realize it or not. And so we joined in a breathing meditation where we said “Peace” on the in breath and again on the out breath, first sending it to ourselves, then those close to us, then to those people more difficult, then to our community, then out to Ukraine and the rest of the world and finally, directly to Putin. I have to admit, he was the first person my thought of peace went to rather than starting close in and working my way out. And I also have to admit that it has always been difficult for me to pray for our own leaders when I did not agree with where they were taking our country or if I am particularly angry at the type of person they seem to be. Not easy praying for your enemies. Yet here I was, gladly sending out this message of Peace to the one person who really needs to hear it, with a certain kind of love I never thought possible for this person. I’m so grateful for the way so many people have stepped up to show support of Ukraine and grateful that I was able to sit with my kula to offer up peace.

    1. oh, Sheila. thank you for sharing this. this is beautiful and powerful and full of yes-ness. I’m so glad you had this experience with your teacher, with the class who gathered that day, with yourself…with the world. this is similar to what I shared in the March Note (if you receive that)…so many thoughtful ways to experience and be…these quiet practices which seem small but which hold so much greatness. I am nodding with you, I am sending peace too… xo


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