Friday, July 4, 2014

Energy Travels

It is appropriate that as I sit here writing, I’m listening to the wind blowing outside. For a while now I have been thinking about storms and energy. Then the other night we had some powerful thunderstorms that brought the thoughts back to me.

We were sitting on our porch watching and listening to the storm. The lightning flashed and we counted; one one thousand, two one thousand, three one thousand, four one thousand and on.

I don’t know how accurate that measurement system is for judging the distance of a thunderstorm but it makes me think. A thunderstorm can be miles away and still I can see the flashes of light. That light, though miles away, lights up the sky where I sit watching. Even though the clap of thunder originates miles away, still that sound travels all the way to my waiting ears where I react to it.

Then as the storm gets closer, my experience of the light and the sound intensifies. Later that night with a storm directly overhead the streaks of lightning that lit up the sky made me shut my eyes because of the brightness and the explosive sound of the thunder directly overhead made us all jump and made our hearts beat faster!

Once in my life I saw lightning strike a palm tree across the street from where I stood. It was like experiencing an explosion. There was a huge percussion and the palm tree burst into flame. It was frightening to witness the power of the storm and its potential for destruction from that close and from an exposed spot under a metal canopy at a gas station! Not only could I see and hear the lightning, but at that point you could also feel the electricity in the air.

As I have been pondering all this I have been looking at it from the perspective of energy. The energy of the storm can be seen and heard and felt, as the windows rattle, from miles away and what you see, hear and feel intensifies the closer you are to the storm. Or from the larger perspective, the energy of the sun can be felt from millions of miles away and can even burn your skin depending on how close we are too it at any given moment.

What all this made me wonder about is the energy of human emotions and how they touch our lives.

I’m sure we have all experienced the energy of someone’s anger. Have you seen a child cringe in the face of someone’s anger, as if shrinking from the clap of thunder or flash of lightning? Have you witnessed a fight from a distance but still could feel the intensity of emotion? As your own storm of emotions has risen have you seen how it impacts those around you?

We have all seen the power of the storm and we have all seen the power of anger. What then about the power of love? That’s what all this set me to wondering about. What if I allow the energy of love within me to expand and grow in intensity? How far out would that love reach? Is there no limit to how far it can travel, to how many hearts it could touch? What if the source of love within me could be seen for miles, like a flash of lightning? What if the sound of unconditional love was loud enough to reach your ears in the next town or to be heard across the universe?

The natural world is such a wonderful and clear teacher for me. As so aptly demonstrated by the storms I have been witnessing, energy travels. And with just a glimpse of our sun after a storm I was reminded that energy can travel across great distances. All of this has left me with the question; knowing its ability to travel, what energy am I allowing to travel from me? And better yet, what will I do with this incredible opportunity and responsibility that being alive offers me?

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Only Love Can Do That

In this country and in our world today, it can be so easy to become frustrated and angry by what I see and hear. It’s a simple thing to then give in to that frustration and so let it become the lens I see the world through, which in turn, in my opinion, only adds to the anger and frustration in the world.  When I read about or see the way members of our human family treat each other, it’s easy to think that is how everyone treats each other. When the majority of what is reported on in the media is sensationalized (hell, even  has all sorts of articles about tragedy as if that is all nature produces) and focused upon the negative it can be difficult to remember that I can change the filter on the lens I look through.

I could easily give in to the frustration and despair that there is nothing I can do to change the world around me, and believe me, I have days like that. On those days especially, I have to consciously remind myself that even though it’s not reported in the news, every day, every moment there are people all around the world working to bring peace, treating each other with kindness, creating their world from love. Some are working in big ways like the Dalai Lama or the Elders group and some are working in small ways in their own lives with small acts of love. I remind myself that those small acts of love make ripples. That love moves out into the world and touches others, one person at a time. That’s what I remind myself of, that a small act of love that touches one heart actually touches many hearts. The love that I offer one person, may then remind them and so they offer that love and kindness to another, who then offers love and kindness to another, until one day all those ripples of love reaching out actually meet up as they extend out all over the world and the world is awash in love.

The trick is to not just offer it to those I love, those I find it easy to offer love to, but also to offer it to strangers or to those I have challenges with; to everyone equally. I’m sure I will have days when it’s easier than others, but on those days I will remind myself of the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Only love can do that. We witnessed what love could do through the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. and countless others who chose love in the face of violence and so changed this country. Only love can do that.

Yesterday, a young man in front of me in line at a store jumped out of line to put an item back and to pick up something else. When he came back he headed toward the end of the line. I smiled at him and said, “Do you want to jump back in where you were?” He looked surprised and grateful and stepped up to the counter. I don’t know what that small act of love and kindness did for him in that moment. Maybe all it did was let him feel seen for a moment, let him feel kindness, let him feel community, let him feel cared for. Only love can do that.  

That is where I will begin. I will remind myself that only love can do that, that it begins with one simple act of love.