Monday, October 1, 2018

The center of the storm

In these days of so much conflict and anxiety, I keep looking for ways to stay with positivity and keep hope alive. So once again, I turn to one of my favorite inspirational poets and authors, Mark Nepo. He came extremely close to death with his cancer, so he speaks out of some deep experience.

In his book Seven Thousand Ways to Listen, he reminds us that "...the only true place of calm in a storm is the very center." 

He goes on to say, "Somehow, in the face of adversity and suffering, we are asked to appreciate life and endear ourselves to it. Not by replacing adversity with joy and not by turning from the difficulties and injustices of living, but by facing them with truth and gratitude for being here anyway. Even after cancer, and in the midst of this journey now, I don't know how to do this but know I must. We must."

As I struggle to find out how to do this myself, I'm encouraged to know that he isn't sure either but that he knows we all must find our way to this place of calm and equanimity. I don't know why but that spurs me forward to find ways myself.

He quotes former president of the Czech Republic Vaclav Havel on the subject of hope: "Hope is definitely not the same thing as optimism. It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out." Ah, yes, there is a difference. And now I still have to think of what that means in our context in this country.

How do you see this?

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