A note from Carl:
I’m wondering if as you are reading this, you could sense of the support of the ground. A direct, felt sense of “I’m here on this spot.”
And then perhaps could you ask, “How is it in there?” And take a few moments to pause, and feel what is alive in you in this moment. I’ll sometimes close my eyes, put a hand on my chest and ask “How am I, really?” and allow the response to emerge slowly, from deeper place than ordinary conversation. The essential phrase from Thich Nhat Hanh: “Darling, I care about your suffering,” can be so helpful to offer to our inner lives. I care about your confusion. I care about your inspiration. I care about your love for this world. I care about your overwhelm. I care about your well being.
I find this simple, profound practice to be essential in these times. To regularly pause, drop in and acknowledge, without trying to fix, or improve, or understand, all that is being held at any given moment. To welcome it with care.
We are all carrying a lot. 18+ months of pandemic, climate crisis, Afghanistan, in the US we’ve had hurricanes and months of wildfires and smoke and now Texas lawmakers have gone off the rails. And, also, at this moment of writing this on our front porch, there is also the golden light shining through all of the sunflowers as they turn their faces to the sun rising over the Wasatch mountains. There is the cacophony of finch song as they dance and bend the flower stalks as they land. There is the trace of full-belied laughter from gathering with old friends for a visit on the porch last night.
All of it—the grief and the praise, the beauty, wonder and suffering.
Over the years, I have loved the teaching from Suzuki Roshi: “The most important thing, is to remember the most important thing.” I love holding this reminder not as a destination but like a diviners rod, continuously tuning toward what is most important now, in response to these particular times, this particular moment. As the wise Joanna Macy says, “You don’t need to do everything. Do what calls your heart: Effective action comes from love. It is unstoppable, and it is enough.”
In our recent podcast conversation with one of our mentors, the wise and powerful Deena Metzger, when Erin asked her if there was something she wished more people more people understood or experienced, her response was poignant, “I wish for people the experience of heartbreak.” And the deep love it implies. To be broken open by the state for things, broken open by the love of this world. (The episode will be released very soon!)
May you listen for what calls your heart, and what breaks it open, and may you continually find the most important thing.