Have you ever noticed how even in the midst of what feels like turmoil and strife, there is always beauty?
I have been focused on navigating a challenging situation that requires compassion, finesse and a deep understanding of how to respond to unhealthy comments meant to cause pain and suffering. Yesterday, the situation escalated and by the end of the day, my entire body felt drained. I was done.
When I got home from work, I took Beaumont for a walk and then curled up in the settee by the window that overlooks the river to read. I’m reading, Stones for Schools, a self-reporting book about one man’s journey to change the world one school at a time.
But it isn’t the book, or Greg Mortenson’s story of his travels throughout Pakistan and Afghanistan as he negotiated the building of schools that captivated me. It is the controversy around his retelling of the story and some of his actions subsequent to the books publishing that make me smile in wonderment of the ways of the universe.
See, back in 2011 or so, there were a lot of allegations suggesting Greg Mortenson mishandled the finances of his charity which was building the schools, as well as fabricating events and naming people in his photos inappropriately. 60 Minutes did an expose on him and his charity. It was damaging and reading some of the articles, sad. That such a powerful idea could be tarnished through such mis-management is tragic. Yet, for all his transgressions, the schools still stand, young girls in places where young girls were not educated, are being schooled.
I do not know the truth of Greg Mortenson’s actions, but I do know the truth of what is happening in my world.
I think about the situation I am dealing with and everything falls into perspective. I feel the stress and sadness lift. I find myself looking up to the sky, remembering the power of asking the Divine, the Universe, God, Allah, Yaweh, a power greater than me, to carry the burden so that I can do the work, here on the ground, to deal with what is in front of me.
It is something I learned 14 years ago when I was released from a relationship that was killing me. My life was in shambles. I was broke and broken. Everyday I would walk with my trustee Golden Retriever, Ellie the Wonder Pooch, in the woods beyond my sister and brother-in-law’s home where I was living. I wasn’t in search of answers as much as I was in search of distraction, and being amidst nature is a surefire way to distract me.
Amidst the towering pines and firs of the forest at the edge of the ocean I would lift my eyes to the blue sky high above and ask God to carry the burden of the shame, sorrow, sadness, grief, fear I was carrying. With the burden lifted by an unseen hand or hands, I felt strong and determined enough to do the next right thing and take each step towards well-being, day by day.
It is so easy to fall into the trap of believing that ‘now is forever’. That whatever turmoil and strife we are facing will never end.
Fact is, it does and, even in the midst of the turmoil, we do not have to carry or feel like we own, its weight. We can release the burden and work through the fracas to do what we know is right and best, light of heart and step, by looking up and remembering ‘Now is not forever. This too shall pass.’ And in its moving through, when we hold onto our values, our integrity, our truth, we free ourselves to do the right things for the right reasons in the right way.
Lightened of the burden, with our values guiding us, and our hearts wide open to Love, even the fiercest tempests cannot blow out our light.