Last week, HP blogger, Judith Rich wrote the following:
We donate money to help with relief efforts, but something more is being asked of us. Maybe it's to allow our hearts to crack open and feel our "relation-hood" with one another, no matter who or where. Our task now in Haiti is to clear away the rubble, but our love needs to extend beyond this moment of crisis. Will we be there for the Haitians when the rubble is cleared?
Rubble Resonates. The very word 'rubble' is near and dear to me. Yes, Judith, what is our 'staying power' this time, as we shift our relations to not only what's before us, but to one another? For if we do not open to this, then can we really be in good relations with ourselves at the most vital level? Time will tell, just as it has with many of the victims of Katrina who remain in dire straights.
The following experience has shaped my perception for today. Right after 9/11 I simply did not know what to do with the tension of what had happened. On that particular day, I had a 'full docket' in the 'seeing client' department of my practice. Consequently, I heard a number of stories, a number of reactions, while I did my best to 'hold' my own experience. My sister lived in New York at the time -- I'd not been able to reach her and, well, you can imagine. This went on for days.
But my not knowing how to channel the tension was productive. Through meditation I received my 'marching orders.' Over the following six weeks I wrote a book entitled Hope from the Rubble. An agent 'shopped it around' to some folks in the publishing industry. Two challenges arose. First, the market was already glutted with 'how to's.' Apparently, in that short time, authors had teams crank out material, and crank they did. Second, although the publishers responded very favorably to the material that I'd submitted, they were nervous about the public's attention span when it comes to upheavals of such a magnitude. They believed, rightly or wrongly, that people have a remarkably short shelf-life when it comes to disaster. Their experience was that, while there is an initial surge of charity, in warp-speed, they want to move on, forget all about it.
Kari Henley, another favorite HP writer, drew attention to the double-sidedness of American reactions in instances like Haiti, when she responded to my piece:
I believe so many resonate with Lizette... feeling lost and yet running aimlessly. When I see the destruction, the mass graves, the lack of governing structure, the looting and fighting, it is easy to feel not only overwhelmed but "hope-less."
And yet, Americans are truly the most generous of countries ... when I see the amount of money raised from the $10 text campaign, the people in my community planning to go to Haiti to rebuild, the woman who is organizing a group to adopt Haitian babies, it indeed opens up the crack of hope we all need...."
There are no better times than moments like these to turn in the direction of creative genius for hope.
Ring the bells that still will ring.
Forget your perfect offering.
The cracks are how the Light gets in...
-- Leonard Cohen
Cohen poetically provides us with the necessary roadmap. Our areas of breakdown are the magnetic places for healing what's troubling us as individuals and as a planet, not only now, but pre-Haiti, pre-Katrina, and pre-9/11. I suppose we can say that we are doing our best. Yet, there's always something to learn and master regarding acknowledging our indelible connection to one another, as well as how to enrich our collaboration for the Greater Good. Sending money, medical aid, food, water, our prayers and well wishes are vital, most assuredly. Without the basic supplies, there's no survival. We know this. Perhaps what we are beginning to realize this time is that whether across the sea, or in our own backyard, our evolution as a human race all gets down to giving our consent to love.
The hope, for Haitians and ourselves, is that although there will always be cracks, it is through these broken places that our awakening is prompted in our hearts. Each time we choose to hear and heed the Call to be more than we've allowed ourselves to be, to connect more deeply to the seen and unseen realities of life than we dared as yet, to respond to the well-being of our sisters and our brothers, of all species, we redefine hope and expand is meaning. Each and every time, we reconsider the very nature that unites us, and the very essence of what hope means today.
Today, how would you 'spell' hope? Hope might be spelled:
H: Hands-touching-hands. There's significant research that indicates the good
that comes from giving touches not only the recipient, but also, the
giver. The surprising piece, however, is that those who witness good
works are affected as well. They experience an increased feeling of well-being, a stronger
immune function, and a healthier relationship to epinephrine.
O: Opportunity to expand our sense of joy. How might you expand yours
P: Possibility of new aliveness in the world. What choice could you make to
foster new aliveness in your life?
E: Encourages the expression of our Greater Good. Disasters are cracks
through which we can learn to better translate a Greater Good into
our relations. Mother Teresa put it this way:
"God is Love in action."
As Jesus taught, the Divine doesn't do our chores for us, but, with our request and consent, works through us. In the Buddhist temple of Kwan Yin, this idea is portrayed in an image of the deity with 1000 hands. 'It'-r-us!
Seven Ways of Holding Space in Our Hearts for Hope to Arrive from the Rubble:
1. Trust the process. You're standing on new ground for the growth of hope.
2. Centering. Regardless of what you do to get yourself centered (running, resting, fasting, feasting, solo time, communal time, breath-work, massage, music, etc.), 'roto-rooter' down to that space where you can make contact with the deeper part of your experience of the Now. Then, drop more deeply down to you, as one aspect of the Whole, a place where you connect to all beings around the planet that experience a similar thing right now. Find compassion for yourself, and all others having this experience.
3. Cultivate Deep Listening. Regardless whether you call your practice prayer, meditation, yoga, creative rituals, chanting, dancing, ask for guidance for relocating hope in your particular form of rubble.
4. Record. Notice the experiences that awaken the seed of hope.
5. Incubate the new seed of hope, no matter how microscopic
6. Take some small action step in the direction which best nourishes it.
This new life hasn't a thing to do with perfection.
7. Love what is. Learning this one is more than a platitude. Hang out with
those who live 'what is,' for modeling.
What 'hope' are you finding 'in the rubble?' What are the expressions of Love, Beauty, and Wisdom that affect you most in this crisis of humanity? What change do you believe is possible? I'm listening to you and yours. A special thanks for your willingness to pass this along to others. Meanwhile, as this is my birthday week, know that who you are is an amazing gift. As for the 'newborn' I've mentioned: its coming. We're in the final labor and delivery stage in this new offering for you.
Stay tuned! Love, Cara
Follow Dr. Cara Barker on Twitter: www.twitter.com/DrCaraBarker