How To Be Calm And Save The World

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Image by Marty Krassowitz

Take refuge in your senses, open up
To all the small miracles you rushed through.
Become inclined to watch the way of rain
When it falls slow and free.
Imitate the habit of twilight,
Taking time to open the well of color
That fostered the brightness of day.
Draw alongside the silence of stone
Until its calmness can claim you.
Be excessively gentle with yourself.

Stay clear of those vexed in spirit.
Learn to linger around someone of ease
Who feels they have all the time in the world.
Gradually, you will return to yourself,
Having learned a new respect for your heart
And the joy that dwells far within slow time.

— Part of a poem by John O’Donohue


“When you shut down emotion, you’re also affecting your immune system. So the repression of emotion, which is a survival strategy, then becomes a source of physiological illness later on.” — Gabor Mate’


“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.” — Henri Nouwen

True people are rare in our culture. People who can listen, who can be at ease with their own depths, who know and accept their darker selves, those are the people we pay to listen to us. Those are the souls we gravitate to because nothing human is foreign to them. If we have a burden of secrets and rejected pieces of ourselves, we are spending our life force in presenting a false self to the world. We are exhausting ourselves keeping the lid on a volcano.

You wonder how people who do this, Trump for instance, can keep the charade going even late into their lifespan. You would think that harboring such corrosive emotions as fear, hate and revulsion, to be precise, would devour the host in short order. Someone who feeds off of conflict and division, who seems to live for it and be invigorated by it is a mystery to most of us.

What is obvious, though, is how a surprising number of our compatriots are inspired by such energies. It looks like a contagious form of insanity. A tsunami of destructive energies is called forth by a sick individual in a prominent position. People who are both for and against such a person are tempted to adopt the same energies of contempt and ridicule, of hate and disgust.

It’s time for self reflection when we notice ourselves demonizing others. Yes, we must work in the interest of general welfare. We must oppose a destructive belief system, and we must be effective and strong. There are ignorant and small minded people, there are even occasional evil doers and irretrievable souls, but I think it’s important to keep ourselves as clear as possible so that we can be creative instruments within the community of beings.

Hate won’t get us there. A thriving, beautiful world is not going to be built out of fear and revulsion. It’s up to us to heal the world by healing ourselves.

Humanity is at a crucial point. Those of us who can maintain clarity and generosity are the ones who can keep us from self-destructing.

Written by

I occasionally write fiction and also about creativity, loving, language learning and travel. I’m a longtime painter and reader.

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