Okay. These last few weeks have been bad.
In no particular order of badness, these are some of the things that have felt bad: The results of the presidential election left me frankly heartbroken. Kamal had this stomach bug that made him poop explosively for days. Our dog, sweet old Toby, finally died after a long, loving life, and we miss him so much.
What I feel like doing, today, is staying in bed with the covers over my head, watching dumb sitcoms on my smartphone, numb and forgetful. What I feel like doing is indulging in denial, cushioning myself against grief and disappointment.
But the world doesn't need us to hide. The world needs us, more than ever every day, to be bright and brave. And in my little world of home and family, I am watching Kamal try to process this first great loss, this absence where his true and constant friend used to be.
And I know it is my work to model for him the way we move through grief and back to productive engagement with the world. I'll break it into steps for him, and as always, showing Kamal how to find his right path puts me right back on mine.
So, sweet Kamal, good friends, everyone carrying heavy sadness or incapacitating anger or blinding disappointment today: here is what we will do. We'll feel our feelings, honestly and bravely. And then we'll focus on our breathing. We'll stretch, go outside, do good work, and give where there is a need. Those are the steps; those are what will bring us back into the world that right now is requiring us all to be strong and resourceful. And if ever it feels too hard--and, let's be real, there will be times it feels too hard--we'll start over.
Again, we'll sit with our feelings. We'll breathe, just one breath at a time, in and out, until we're ready to do more. Then we'll stretch and feel our bodies, our only and best vehicles for every kind of change. We'll get outdoors, remind ourselves of how connected we are to other humans, to animals and to plants; we'll remember the importance of protecting our intricately interconnected planet. We'll work hard at the work we do--whether it's helping people, or earning money so we can donate it to help people, or building our influence to help people-- because a lot of people need our help. And then we will give what we can when we can, whether it's a cup of coffee for the guy camped out on a bench in the park or many monthly donations to causes in which we believe.
Just like meditation, every bit of life is a practice in starting over. I know this month has been hard on a lot of people. I hope you start over with me, because there is a lot of work to do.