We all have something we can bring to the table whether it is joining the front lines of actions or keeping the home fires burning. We each have a unique way of showing up in the world and finding our way to make sense of the many crises unfolding around the earth. Whether it is donning gumboots and assisting with the cleaning of homes, making food, holding empathy circles for people from the Ukraine and Russia; or looking after your family at home or, like myself, resting at home. There is Room at the Table for Everyone no matter how we show up.
While I am recovering from the major surgery and cancer—which was part of my life story in January—more than a few times the thought has popped up that, ‘I should be doing something‘. Yet, what can I do now? I know the best I can do it to use what is here… I take this thought ‘I should be doing something’ and the associated feelings of helplessness, concern etc. back to my practices—self empathy, writing and meditation.
(Thich Nhat Hanh mindfulness practice)
For now, being is my gift. I am slowly integrating my being into the doing. Tonight, I ran my first online session for a group of enthusiastic celebrants in New Zealand and I was nourished and my cup filled by the connection, the inspiration and sharing. Slowly, slowly, I re-enter the life of being and doing.
With the current crises that are in the news—the flooding along the east coast of Australia, the war in the Ukraine, the pandemic… just to name a few; and acknowledging those crises not in the news—no longer reported, or in our homes or at work, in communities, in schools—I have been reflecting upon a question that my young grandchildren might ask of me, “Grandma, can you tell me what is going on?”
In my journalling, I have been looking at my responses to the crises—turning toward my fears and writing what arises in my mind and body, and what needs are present. Turning towards the complexities of conflict, crisis, hard conversations and connecting once again with the needs that are present. And meditating upon these universal needs for peace, safety, food, water, connection and care.
I sought out what teachers had to say on these themes. From Vedanta, Christian teachers to the Buddhist monk and teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh. Here are two videos I have selected.
Question: How can I fight the injustices of this world without being consumed with anger, bitterness, outrage and resentment?
“I have arrived, I am home is your practice to survive. It’s not a luxury. If you cannot be yourself, if you do not know how to handle the fear, the anger, the despair in you, you are lost. You cannot help any other people. You cannot help your country.”
In this next powerful short teaching video, “Thich Nhat Hanh teaches us that our mindfulness practice is not a luxury, but a necessity for us to have peace as a global society. Calling on us to connect to our common sense of humanity, Thay shares inspiring examples from his personal life to illustrate how to draw from our spiritual ground to save lives, including in the face of legal and cultural barriers (20 mins).”
Room at the Table – Words and Music by Carrie Newcomer ©2014 Carrie Newcomer Music (BMI) From the 2014 album “A Permeable Life” https://open.spotify.com/album/78qx0w… Connect with Carrie: https://www.carrienewcomer.com/ https://www.facebook.com/CarrieNewcomer