A peace filled day to you. I hope during the past couple of weeks that you have been taking time to be still and just breathe. There has been so much to process, act upon, mourn, speak up about, and transform. During times that feel tumultuous, it’s more important than ever to maintain our contemplative practices.
I was reflecting the other day on a ring I have worn every day for years that has become part of my contemplative practice. On it are symbols for the whirlwind and the Kiva. The Kiva is an underground, sacred ceremonial space used in some native traditions, most notably in the Pueblo Indian tradition. The ring has been a powerful reminder for me since the day I put it on. For me, it symbolizes the sacred space within that I can return to at any point, especially when I can feel the whirlwind start to swirl. That whirlwind can be simply the thoughts racing in my mind or, as in the past two weeks or so, the whirlwind of events in our nation and around the world. No matter the source, when the whirlwind spins and threatens to at the very least throw us off center and at the worst rob us of our ability to make conscious choices, the best thing we can do is remember to connect with the stillness within ourselves before reacting. Much easier said than done, I know, which is why I wear a reminder!
The events of the past few weeks also prompted me to return to a topic that is important to me and that I have been exploring over the past few years; spiritual activism. It’s a term that in my explorations of it, I found I had to define for myself. I read back through a previous email I sent out about the topic, which has become an essay that will be featured in my next collection of poetry. The part that jumped out at me in rereading it this week was this thought, “Being still within myself allows me to engage rather than enrage.”
It’s infinitely more difficult to engage with someone and truly be heard when I come from a place of rage within myself or if I have intentionally provoked it within someone else. It is a challenge for me, because my natural inclination in the face of some of what we’ve seen over the past few weeks is to get riled up! I honestly wish more people had gotten riled up about racism long before now, but that’s a different conversation.
What I witnessed in attending several marches and in watching them through the news coverage, was people who were vocal and angry, and yet, who wanted to engage in a conversation about real, substantive change. People who, I’m realizing now, wanted to harness the energy of the whirlwind to create transformation!
What I was witnessing was exactly that, a desire to harness the energy and power of the whirlwind. That power does not have to be destructive or harmful, it can be creative and transformative if we can approach it from a place of consciousness, if we approach it from a desire to engage rather than enrage. Contrary to what was sometimes shown on the news and contrary to what happened in some isolated incidents, the marches throughout the world were overall a peaceful and powerful harnessing of the whirlwind.