New beginnings. The season of hope. At least, it’s supposed to be.
Slow sensory walks in nature seem as if it is just the trees, sky, birds, earth, and me. We are connected. Friends who mutually listen to each other with one heartbeat of love. I stop to talk with them. Tell them my troubles. Share my anxiety about the pandemic and the way people are reacting. Voice my confusion and share my fear that I might lose my loved ones or that I might die, too.
I stand in stillness as I listen to their wisdom. They urge me to breathe in the rooted energy of the earth, focus on the beauty of the present moment, welcome small moments of joy amid the chaos, sway with the ups and downs of life, find a place within me for the spirit of gratefulness, and distract myself with activities that inject light, laughter, creativity, and hope into my spirit.
They also remind me to recite Reinhold Niebuhr’s “Serenity Prayer” as often as possible. It’s a prayer about trust. Letting go. Surrender. Faith. Courage. Confidence. Love. Discernment. Mindfulness. Third-eye intuitive wisdom.
Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.
Two years later, I continue to commune with nature and take slow sensory walks. And yes, I am still asking contemplative questions to the trees, earth, birds, and sky. This time, my despondency is not only about the lingering pandemic. It is about the war in Ukraine.
And this time, I don’t have any words at all to explain what I feel in the depth of my soul. I can only project my thoughts and feelings through Shamanic shrieking sounds of pain, horror, anguish, and disbelief, and in parallel to these raw emotions, I allow myself to shift to sweet cantorial sounds of awe at the infinite courage demonstrated by the Ukrainian people and their empathic leader, President Zelenskyy.
After I release my sounds of anguish and awe, I ask all of Nature, “What will happen to Ukraine?”
“I don’t know,” it answers back.
There are life lessons for you in this chaos. Gratefulness, for example. Value and respect democracy more than ever before—its fragility and its worth. Appreciate each moment, every person, your home, small comforts, your freedoms, and all the healing gifts of nature.
Say “I love you” more often. Be kinder, more empathic, compassionate, and inclusive. Always choose courage over fear.
The Ukrainian people will show you how to manifest courage. The Afghan women who have been banned from their education will show you how to manifest courage. Anyone who has ever been a victim of injustice and bias because of where they live, the color of their skin, age, race, religion, gender, physical appearance, sexual orientation, economic status, or disability will show you how to manifest courage.
You are the love, the peace, and the healing light the world needs more than ever before. Help a neighbor. Reach out to a stranger and give them a smile of caring and kindness. Ask to know their name. Help people feel they matter. Know that you matter, too. Listen with an open, empathic heart to someone’s pain. Keep hope. Despite how chaotic the world becomes, keep moving forward.
Before I return home, I thank the trees, earth, sky, and birds for their wisdom, attention, and love, send a quiet prayer to all my global brothers and sisters, and then visualize safety, wellness, peace, love, and courage to every corner on our one precious planet.