There is no question, many of us are feeling a lot of emotions as life-as-we-know-it begins to malfunction. It’s really easy to spin right now, to let confusion, anger, and hate run rampant. It feels justified. It feels overdue.
In the quiet moments, we can sense our way into something else. Perhaps this is what the spiritual traditions, ancient or new, have been guiding us toward: Go deeper.
Trees learn this lesson. The trees with the deepest and widest root systems are the most resilient in the storm.
When we get caught by the storms that life presents, it’s very tempting to say that this storm is the exception: This is where I panic, this is where I say all the words of frustration I’ve been holding back, where I throw all kindness out the door; this is where I fight; this is where I run and hide.
We often think that we will be compassionate after the storm has subsided. I’m here to tell you that it’s in the storm that we learn what compassion actually is. It’s in the storm that we begin to build resiliency in our bodies, minds, families and communities, as we deepen our roots of connecting to what actually supports us and what actually matters.
The roots of fear are shallow and disconnected, and are nourished by judgments, criticism, complaints, and drama. The roots of compassion are deep and wide, and they are nourished by thoughts and actions of peace, joy, forgiveness, and whole-heartedness.
These deep roots are connected to every other living thing—regardless of race, beliefs, or species—reminding us that even in isolation, even in intense disagreement, we are all beings carrying the same energy and the same potential to evolve.
There’s no question that fear has its place: to alert us to real danger so we can take correct action. But, if we blindly let fear lead us, we will stunt our ability—and even muffle our innate desire—to go deeper. We unconsciously train ourselves that in any storm, big or small, we react from fear, we put up all the defenses and judgments, we lash out, and we go deaf and blind to the reality that is right in front of us.
So in this intense moment in time, let’s consider another path. This is our opportunity to open our eyes, our ears, and our hearts, even in the midst of a storm, so that we can “right-size” our perception of what is happening at any moment. When we see the storms clearly for what they are, without the inflation of the stories fear so readily writes for us, our roots widen. Our connection to what nourishes us on a deep and fundamental level strengthens. And we have the opportunity to remember that the storms of life have the ability to wake us up to the truth of who we are.
Friends, it’s not about the storms. The storms are the circumstances inherent to any life experience, and because of that, they will always change and will often be challenging. It’s about how we choose to relate to ourselves and others within any storm, rather than waiting until it has passed. When we do this challenging and essential work, storms will help us remember that at our core we are beings of unconditioned love—absolutely no conditions. We are empowered to align our actions with this deep sense of love. We can trust our decisions, because instead of being swayed by the many voices of the inner critic, or being tossed around by stories of fear, we can let those pass by and go deeper, back into our core. And by doing so, we nourish every part of life—our own, and those we are connected to by this deep and enduring root system.
I want to leave you with these simple words, to use in quiet contemplation:
Take a deep inhale, and feel the body expand, imagining that expanse wider than just the physical body.
Take a deep exhale, and allow the body to soften, condense, release.
Even now, May I be happy and understand the root of happiness.
Even now, May I be at peace.
Even now, May I be at ease in the mind and body.
Especially now, May I deepen my connection to the joy right here.
I truly believe we are, individually and collectively, in the midst of transformation. The storms of transformation will rage, and we will be okay, because our roots of love and connection are deep and wide.
If these words of contemplation resonate with you, you can watch the replay of Heart Relief meditation here to explore even further for yourself.