This is a food-for-the-soul moment, because our souls need care and feeding as much as our bodies. Don’t you think?
I wish you and I could sit down for a two-way conversation, over a steaming cup of coffee and these lovely scones. I’d like to hear your thoughts about this concept of shining. But first, a little background on how I got there.
Where are you, with this pivotal year stretching in front of you? Are you concerned, as I am, with the spread of terrorism around the world? That, plus our shaky economy, climate change, and the quality–or lack of quality–in all but one of the presidential candidates, fairly send me into hyper-fear or, at times, a numbed state.
What bothers me most about those presidential wannabes, apart from the racism, homophobia and corporate kow-towing, is that nearly all fail to acknowledge the peril we face, every one of us, as the effects of climate change alter more and more of our lives, not just here in the U.S., but around the world.
Unless we act immediately, with a massive effort, the planet we bequeath to our children may be incapable of supporting them by the turn of the next century. Along the way, they–and their children–may experience the most blinding, desperate suffering that humankind has ever seen, surpassing even the plagues and the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
You and I cannot begin to solve those problems, not by ourselves, anyway. Collectively, we could, of course, but most of us feel isolated, knowing our individual efforts to be but small drops in the giant bucket.
Far too many of us, like most of those candidates, pretend that everything will be okay, that perhaps there isn’t a reason to care or to worry about the legacy we leave our children. But I know. Many of you seeing this know.
At the beginning of this brand new year, if I were to let it, futility and despair could nearly overtake me.
A little present for the soul
When the soul aches, return to the present.
Do you have children in your life? Have you watched them? The young ones, the ones not yet burdened with awareness of the long future, live almost entirely in the here and now.
Take my grandchildren, how they giggled when we baked sugar cookies last week, dabbing wet fingers into spilled crystals and licking it off. “Mama will get mad at you for letting us eat sugar,” the oldest one chided, aware already of that possible future.
“It’s just a tiny bit,” I told her. “I’ll make sure you don’t eat too many cookies.” More giggles.
While we measured, whisked and stirred, their eyes sparkled, their voices lilted, their faces fairly glowed.
Kids–happy, loved, well-tended children–glow. Enthusiasm fairly explodes from them. Even when they’re sitting quietly coloring, reading a book or telling a story to invisible companions, they shine. You don’t have to see her face to know this child is utterly focused on the message she’s writing. Every cell in her body is connected to that paper and pen.
Kids live now. Like this wee one, enthralled with the fuzzy kitty. In just a moment she turns her head, smiles huge, eyes sparkling, and claps her hands. The kitty lays a velvety, claw-sheathed paw gently on her arm to get her attention again, and she giggles in delight.
When power fails, shine more
Despite feelings of powerlessness in the face of horrifying events and “leaders” who seem to want to return us to the Dark Ages and serfdom, I intend, with this blog and every tool at my disposal to continue to do what I can to help build a good world. I’m not alone. Millions of folks in every part of the globe work every day to mitigate and end suffering, wherever they find themselves.
Alone is an illusion.
What I want to remember this year, all year, is to be more like the children–engaged in the moment, laughing, delighting in the fun stuff–and still serious about the sober stuff. To be at peace when I’m resting, energized when I’m not. I want to shine–not in a gaudy, in your face way, but like the kids do, just being, naturally glowing with vitality, curiosity and joie de vivre.
More, I intend to watch for that shine in others, catch them in the act of enjoying life in this very moment, a glow on their face and a sparkle in their eye.
“I see your heart”
Like the woman with a cane and a glossy, curly wig on the bus the other day. “I just turned sixty,” she said, her smile spreading across her face, halfway up to her eyes. “Young,” I thought, but I remember sixty, how I felt I’d finally reached official old age.
The seven-year-old, my granddaughter, between us, caught her eye even before the woman sat down. “I see your heart, see you dancing,” she told my little one, her curls bobbing. Over the noise of the bus, sirens going by, I heard her voice, but not her words as she leaned in close, talking to the child, never once letting that brilliant smile drop.
She had rings, lots of rings, over hands bent with swollen knuckles. Later, the cane helped steady her, as she maneuvered the cramped confines of the bus to climb to the street, but I recognized the way she protected her back, took the steps slowly. I know the pain in those movements. Still, she smiled, calling out a gay “Goodbye!”
Her light cheered those of us lucky enough to hear her voice, see her eyes, and that wide smile. She shone, that one.
That’s what I want. To cheer as I pass, just by being myself, in the moment, where I am. I want that cheer to shine through, especially, in all I share here, on YayYay’s Kitchen.
Shine through the muck
Part of me, of course, says, “Yeah, but you’re always so worried about the Trumps and Cheneys of this world, about war and slavery and hunger and all the other things that hurt your heart. That will show, take the shine right out of you.”
But perhaps all that is part of my shine–that my heart does, at times, fairly feel as though it’s bleeding. Certainly it breaks over and over. That curly-headed woman on the bus, who just turned sixty? She’s known plenty of heartbreak in her life. Anyone can see it there, on her face. Yet she smiles and looks into the heart of a child, sees her soul and tells her what a good soul she sees.
So yes, I intend to shine, despite all the tragedy, sorrow and hatred in the world. Those of us lucky enough to enjoy some measure of freedom and comfort owe it to the world to keep working for those who have less, but also to let the light of love and goodness in us glow.
You like that? This idea to let ourselves shine? Like a flower that unfolds from its bud self into a velvety, glistening, dewy, vibrant, gorgeous Self. It shines, just being.
What would happen if …
Whatever else is happening in our lives, whatever happens in the utterly insane world of politics and so-called leadership in this crucial election year, whatever happens as more and more of us live through catastrophic weather events caused by the global climate change too few of us do anything to mitigate, whatever wars, mass shootings, drone bombings, economic downturns and upticks we may face this year, what would happen if
we simply opened our mouths, softened our eyes, thought of the happiest thing we could, smiled as big as we could, as often as we could, wherever we were, and let the Heart in us shine?
Too simple? Think about it. What would happen if all of us did that? What would change?
Here on YayYay’s Kitchen, at home with my family and out and about, my intention for 2016 is to shine a little goodness wherever I go, whatever I do. I’ll start with smiles. Smiles make people feel good. Have you noticed?
What about you? What’s your plan for 2016?