Looking at our current political landscape and the everyday deluge of media that I find difficult to digest, an antidote for me, is to recognize the beauty that is ever present. To witness this beauty, not as a way to mask the feelings associated with denial, but to balance the grief I feel at a personal and collective level, allows me to be more fully present in the world. Francis Weller, a psychotherapist and author who offers grief rituals says " In one hand we carry the sorrows of the world and in the other hand the joy for the world. Bring them together and we have the prayer of life."
I am writing this, as I look out across the Salmon River estuary as she opens up into the Pacific Ocean in her feminine beauty. I find it quite easy to absorb the beauty of the every-changing river, majestic sunsets, and herds of elk grazing on the meadows. But I also try to open up to the subtle beauty of a sleeping cat, sunlight illuminating the corner of the room, or the gentle bending of blades of grass in the wind. Many years ago, sitting in meditation, the words "Joy and sorrow in the same breath" came to me. This is always a reminder to cultivate and hold the tension between these two emotions so I can fully participate in life. I offer these words, not to turn away from what is difficult in life, but to open up to the full dimension of being human.