searching for perspective in difficult times

It’s been awhile since I wrote a blog. I have been caught up in thoughts, guilt about trivialities and a fear that I didn’t have the wisdom to articulate the feelings I was experiencing.  Back in March I had been working on a simple blog - about dealing with ageing and injury through my yoga, about patience and grace and learning to accept what is - with compassion and kindness.

And then the Christchurch terror attack happened.  And with it came the shock, the disbelief, the sadness for the innocent people so terribly affected. Like everyone else,  I watched it unfold on television, trying hard not to shift it in my mind to something that wasn’t real - reminding myself that this had happened, in our country, to people who had come as refugees or immigrants (like I had over 30 years ago) and that because of a senseless unimaginable act, their lives would forever be scarred and broken.  I still mourn the sudden death of my youngest brother four years later - part of my mind still refuses to accept he is gone forever.  What must they be feeling to have witnessed their loved ones die, to have lost, in some cases, their only family…  Like many of us, I donated online to the victims and I went to the local mosque and accepted their warmth and hospitality. But I did these with a twinge of guilt - it seemed like such small gestures;  like theater and artifice - in the face of something so real and horrific.

My blog on ageing and injury appeared trivial in the aftermath - but what could I say that would assist me and others in grappling with the unimaginable;  that people going about their lives and expressions of worship were murdered and maimed… The media talked about the ‘new normal’ and that we needed to adjust to it… But that didn’t sit right – what does that even mean? That at some level - we accept this happened? I know that rationally we have to - otherwise it is a sound bite on television, a reality TV program and gone in the next wave of noise and distraction. But does accepting it ‘normalize’ it? Does that mean it is part of our paradigm of how we believe the world works and how people treat each other? That it is part of our construct about what is to be expected in modern life - albeit at its most extreme?

I  am struggling to accept that.  It is still ‘abnormal’ to me - not a new normal…  I want to reject what has happened as an aberration,  a glitch in the normal - not a resetting to something new…

Today is the International Day of Yoga. Yoga has become the way that I access my higher self, the way I connect with the spiritual in me. Can today help me move forward? Moving to ‘carefree’ seems not to acknowledge the truth of what happened. So how do you move to more ‘caring’?

Being more caring is about forgiving - not carrying hurt and a sense of being wronged around in your psyche. I know that I still have some grudges and hurts that can be triggered when I feel tired and burdened - when I am feeling sorry for myself.  Being more caring is also about really listening - I can always improve on that. It’s about cultivating empathy - something I am getting better at as I face life’s challenges and disappointments and really know at a deeper level what others are dealing with.  And it’s about being a force of positivity and love - in an unfiltered, unafraid, unprotected way. That’s the challenge I want to be my learning for today. To remove myself from negativity and negative situations. To show love without any expectations. To be the voice of the positive and the possible instead of agreeing and encouraging the complaints and criticisms.

One of the phrases that came out of the Christchurch attack was ‘We are One’ (I prefer that to ‘They are Us’, which still implies separation to me.) If we truly believe we are one, then our words, thoughts and actions hurt all of us - affect all of us.

I think we can make the ‘new normal’ better than what was before - not more fearful and anxious. It is up to us.

June 21, 2019 by Laurie Piggott


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