It’s a strange sensation—feeling lost on familiar ground. Looking around and recognizing people, places, and things, while at the same time, feeling like you have been dropped into a foreign land. How did this happen?
As we approach critical mid-term elections here in the United States, there are so many ways in which I don’t recognize my country anymore. I’m doing my best not to label that as good or bad—it’s just what is. The ground keeps shifting, and it is not likely to stabilize anytime soon. Facts and reality are up for interpretation and manipulation. The soul of our country seems to be for sale. This is where we are.
And it’s not just in the U.S. This is a global trend. The looming question: Will liberal democracies be reinforced and grow stronger over the coming years, or will we shift further towards autocratic forms of government? As the airwaves and internet are increasingly flooded with opinion and commentary and objective journalism disappears, it gets harder for us to sort things out.
On our own, we navigate these times the best we can. As a collective, unfortunately we continue running towards short-term solutions. Although we are aware of looming dangers ahead, the short-term remains too seductive. That could cost us a lot in the end.
Perhaps you have similar experiences and challenges in your own country. Maybe you are also feeling lost on familiar ground. However, we have the power to make things better. It’s all about where we choose to put our focus.
Where there is crisis, there is also opportunity
Even though we’re living in unsettling times and our collective future is uncertain, most of us still have the power to make choices for our own lives. On our own, we may not be able to shift the political, social, economic, or environmental landscapes, yet we can choose how we show up to life every day.
Fundamentally, we can choose to fight against what we don’t want, OR we can choose to partner with new possibilities. We can acknowledge and accept that our current realities are what they are AND put our attention on the opportunities that are present within the challenges. Resistance is a finite game. Co-creation is an infinite game. Co-creation with opportunities is much more likely to lead to a world that works.
As we do this, we make an imprint in the mass consciousness of the present and the future. Not every effort will succeed, yet our intention and commitment to a world that works already makes a difference in the consciousness.
Many people, perhaps including you, are making these kinds of choices already. They are building new and different grass-roots relationships and structures for our world. It’s up to us and future generations to nurture those relationships and structures and keep building forward. A world that works does not happen on its own. Yet when many of us work together to “tend the garden” of our ever evolving present and future, we nurture and support the well-being of generations to come.
At the same time, we are all human. We can get caught in moments of despair, feeling like the challenges are too big—that there is nothing we can do. If that happens to you, give yourself some space to breathe and regroup. Keep it simple and pure. Simple, pure gestures and authentic presence make a bigger difference than we often realize.
Start simple. Take care of yourself. Feed your soul.
Staying present with all that is happening, I’ve been leaning into three quotes for guidance, inspiration, and grounding. Their simple yet profound messages help me put one foot in front of the other as I make my way through each day. They remind me why I’m here and help me feel less lost.
Breathe in these quotes and let their wisdom come to life in you. Let that wisdom permeate every interaction and encounter of your day. Lean into that wisdom with the people and situations that are close to your heart as well as with those you meet for the first time. This practice can lead you home again and show you a way forward.
The first quote comes from Peace Pilgrim, a 20th-century American spiritual teacher, mystic, and peace activist who walked across the U.S. for nearly 30 years speaking about peace. The second comes from 17th-century French physicist, philosopher, and theologian Blaise Pascal.
Live in the present.
Do the things that need to be done.
Do all the good you can each day.
The future will unfold.
In difficult times,
carry something beautiful in your heart.
Beauty feeds the soul. It need not be elaborate or sophisticated. Indeed, it is often incredibly simple and pure. Embodying the intention of beauty and sacred space has become an integral component of my morning meditation—reaffirming my intention that wherever I go and whatever I do, I will create a space where people feel seen, heard, and respected.
Taking goodness and beauty a step further, the third quote comes from 13th-century Persian Sufi poet Rumi:
Be a lamp or a lifeboat or a ladder.
Help someone’s soul heal.
Walk out of your house like a shepherd.
As I write, one of my favorite teachings from Ram Dass brings it all together: We’re all just walking each other home.
Through our relationships with each other, we learn who we are. It’s the African concept of ubuntu: “I am because you are.” We are here for and because of each other.
Taking care of the space in between us
One of the foundational principles of Transformational Presence tells us that the world is built on a matrix of relationships. The most powerful space is the space in between us—the relationship space—the energetic space in between people, things, circumstances, life. It’s our job to take care of the space in between. It’s the quality of the energy in the space in between us that will draw us together or drive us apart.
And so, a few questions to help you find your way when you’re feeling lost:
- What is the quality of energy in the spaces in between the people and situations in your life? What does that energy want more of from you? What does it want less of?
- What is the good you can do today, however big or small? (Peace Pilgrim)
- What beauty will you carry in your heart today? (Blaise Pascal)
- What would it mean for you to walk out of your house like a shepherd today? (Rumi)
We’re all just walking each other home (Ram Dass). Breathing that in and taking it to heart, I feel less lost on this familiar ground.
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Related Blog Posts:
- Walking Each Other Home
- The Waiting Space: When the Past is Over and the Future Hasn’t Shown Up Yet
- The Wilderness Between Our Heartbeats: Lessons in Presence from the South African Bush
- “Ubuntu” in Action: Celebrating Heroes of the Heart—a series of four articles from February 2014
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