I’ve put off posting another blog over the past few weeks due to the issues of racism, police reform and the continuing battle against COVID-19 that have dominated the air waves. Simply put, it comes to a point when you let those who are most affected pass the mic around and allow them to tell their truth. That doesn’t happen in a vacuum.
In the meantime, I’ve been listening. Reading. And watching. A whole lot. Even for someone with an open mind, the sheer volume of discourse and its accompanying noise is a heavy weight on the mind, body and soul. Modern technology and social media doesn’t do us any favors as well. To weather the deluge, you have to be focused on the greater picture. Not the reflection in your mirror.
Let’s stop for a second and not move our arms so much…
For myself, the ability to withstand the mental and physical pain of such times is through meditation and mindfulness. I could talk about it or I could pass the mic to someone who has summed the truth up already. Surfing through the rusted and dusty Dewey Decimal System in my head, this Pablo Neruda poem from a book on yoga I once read came rattling back into my conscious.
At times like this, we should shut up and listen. Do not mistake that for inaction, though. Taking time to process all this information can only gird ourselves for the systemic change that needs to follow. First, thoughtfulness must reign supreme but after that, it is time for movement. That is true balance. Hopefully, that forward motion galvanizes and propels us all past this sadness.
The Neruda poem is entitled “Keeping Quiet” and I’ve included it below. Some appropriate musical selections from my personal iTunes search, too. Take a deep breath and… #namaste
By Pablo Neruda
Now we will count to twelve
And we will all keep still
For once on the face of the earth
Let’s not speak in any language,
Let’s stop for a second
And not move our arms so much.
It would be an exotic moment
Without rush, without engines,
We would all be together
In a sudden strangeness.
Fishermen in the cold sea
Would not harm whales
And the man gathering salt
Would not look at his hurt hands.
Those who prepare green wars,
Wars with gas, wars with fire,
Victories with no survivors,
Would put on clean clothes
And walk about with their brothers
In the shade, doing nothing
What I want should not be confused
With total inactivity.
Life is what it is about;
I want no truck with death.
If we were not so single-minded
About keeping our lives moving,
And for once could do nothing.
Perhaps a huge silence
Might interrupt this sadness
Of never understanding ourselves
And of threatening ourselves with death.
Perhaps the earth can teach us
As when everything seems dead
And later proves to be alive.
Now I’ll count up to twelve
And you keep quiet and I will go.
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