With the restriction on movement and activities these days due to the virus and our caring for each other by creating some distance, we renounce some of the things we would normally like to do. However, this can make space for noticing what we have in our lives, instead of focusing on what we have not.
The ground of renunciation is realizing that we already have exactly what we need,
that what we have already is good.
Every moment of time has enormous energy in it,
and we could connect with that.
Close your eyes.
Gather all the kindling
About your heart
To create one spark.
That is all you need
To nourish the flame
That will cleanse the dark
Of its weight of festered fear.
John O’Donohue, Benedictus, To Bless the Space between Us
Challenging situations can bring out defensive behaviours, such as seen in supermarkets recently. But we see each day examples of generosity and dedication, such as the report here of a nurse postponing her retirement to continue her work caring for those in hospital and many doctors coming out of retirement to give support to their colleagues.
If you’re a stranger to your own wound,
then you’re gonna be tempted to despise the wounded
Fr Gregory Boyle, in an interview with Sarah Silverman
It is not easy to keep the heart open in moments of fear and anxiety
The covenant of life is not just to stay alive, but to stay in our aliveness. And staying in aliveness depends on opening the heart and keeping it open. Our dreams, goals, and ambitions are all kindling, fuel for the heart to exercise its aliveness, to bring our gift into the world, to discover what matters.
We drift in and out of knowing our aliveness. Pain, worry, fear, and loss can muffle and confuse us. But finding our gift and working it will bring us back alive. It doesn’t matter if we’re skillful or clumsy, if we play our gift well or awkwardly, or if we make great strides or fail. Aliveness is not a judge in a talent show. Aliveness shows itself in response to wholeheartedness, when we can say yes to life, and work with what we’re given, and stay in relationship – to everything.
Mark Nepo, The One Life We’re Given: Finding the Wisdom That Waits in Your Heart
Some words from poet David Whyte in these anxious times
GROUND is what lies beneath our feet. It is the place where we already stand; a state of recognition, the place or the circumstances to which we belong whether we wish to or not. It is what holds and supports us, but also what we do not want to be true; it is what challenges us, physically or psychologically, irrespective of our hoped-for needs. It is the living, underlying foundation that tells us what we are, where we are, what season we are in and what, no matter what we wish in the abstract, is about to happen in our body; in the world or in the conversation between the two.
To come to ground is to find a home in circumstances and in the very physical body we inhabit in the midst of those circumstances and above all to face the truth, no matter how difficult that truth may be; to come to ground is to begin the courageous conversation, to step into difficulty and by taking that first step, begin the movement through all difficulties, to find the support and foundation that has been beneath our feet all along: a place to step onto, a place on which to stand and a place from which to step.
from Consolations: The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words.
I don’t think any of us can quite understand the ground on to which we are now settling, due to to the effects of the Coronavirus on our world-wide societies and economies. … This will be a test and a re-ordering, not only of our health and our political and financial systems, but of of our mutual compassion, our willingness to work together and even more perhaps, our willingness to fundamentally change our societies to a more equatable sharing of both rewards and well-being.
from his Facebook page, March 11th
An unusual St Patrick’s Day when people are fearful, and gatherings are not allowed, in church or in the pub. We need to find resources and blessings within and then extend those blessings to all who are afraid and especially those most vulnerable at this time.
When the canvas frays in the currach of thought
and a stain of ocean blackens beneath you,
may there come across the waters
a path of yellow moonlight to bring you safely home.
May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
may the clarity of light be yours,
may the fluency of the ocean be yours,
may the protection of the ancestors be yours.
And so may a slow wind work these words
of love around you, an invisible cloak to mind your life.
John O’Donohue, Beannacht
Beannachtai na Féile Padraig oraibh go léir: The blessings of Saint Patrick’s Day to you all.