Maybe it’s just me. It might be. I doubt it, though. If it is just me, that would be ok, though. I might actually be a little relieved. I’ll put it out there just in case…ok, here goes…does it seem like maybe lately, the world has kind of lost its mind? As in, many of the people in it are parting ways with sanity, as well as the actual planet itself might be losing it a little? With political discord, a growing diplomacy void, and repeated back-to-back natural disasters, I’m starting to wonder what exactly is up. More than ever, meditation feels like a small, quiet act in a big, angry world.
So, what do you think? Should we give up?
No. We shouldn’t. When mindfulness becomes borderline impossible is when we – and the world – need it most. There’s a reason Gandhi talked about “being the change.” Mindfulness teaches us that as much as we love the illusion of control over the world and other people, it’s just that. An illusion. In fact, there is much about ourselves that we can’t control, including major things like what we think and feel. What we can choose, however, is how we respond, and it’s much easier to do that if your mind and body are calm.
Calm feels like it was about one earthquake and two hurricanes ago, though, doesn’t it? Or maybe your diminishing chill is measured in political speeches, or flagrant acts of social injustice, or terrorism. Whatever the primary offender is for you (“all of the above” is an option, too), you may feel like it’s either time for more serious measures, or time to find a secluded island to disappear on.
So where does mindfulness fit in, if at all?
Mindfulness strengthens your ability to be intentional in your actions. It doesn’t make you a monk, or a hippie, or a pacifist of any kind. It empowers you to use your energy, your strength and your gifts to their utmost advantage in the ways that are most meaningful for you. It keeps you from wasting your time with worry, anxiety, and fear. It helps you see those things – in yourself, and perhaps for its most remarkable trick – in others. But then, it gives you the clarity and focus to move beyond those observations, and to act in ways that make the difference you want and need to make in the world.
Don’t stop now. The world needs you to be the change. It needs your vibes to be strong and positive. It needs your strength to be replenished by moments of stillness and reflection. It needs the powerful impact you are capable of having when your intention, attention and your work are in alignment.
It’s ok to be overwhelmed. It’s a sign that you are present, and connected to what’s happening around you. Take a breath, feel it ground you into your purpose, and lift you into possibility at the same time. Then, move forward with conviction. Your gifts are needed, now more than ever.
Photo credit: Nadine Shaabana