As I walked by my bedroom towards the computer, I noticed the bright rays of the sun finally breaking through this cloudy day. It’s amazing what the sun can do to lift one’s spirits, especially in the way of healing. George Harrison’s “Here Comes the Sun” immediately came to mind. And although the above video was not created to be visually entertaining, I attached it for the pure enjoyment of listening to a beautiful song. How happy would we be if we simply allowed the sun into our lives? What if we shone our own rays with the intention of everyone receiving them?
I have been so bogged down with the depth of the question my friend Tellio asked regarding how we can connect with people who are suffering when they are more than an arm’s length away. Even beyond that, how can we comfort everyone in the world, regardless of whether we know them personally or not? Because of the weight of these significant questions, I have been procrastinating with my response. It isn’t that I don’t think they are important questions. In fact, I have made these same inquiries. The problem is that I don’t know the answer, and I just hate not being able to provide at least one possibility when I put questions out there for others. This is heavy lifting for me, and all I can do is write about my own experience while asking you to reflect on yours.
If you haven’t had a chance to watch Tellio’s response in the Comments’ Section of Part 1, please do. Like Tellio, I am also someone who feels empathy for someone, whether I know them or not, no matter what part of the world they reside in…Sometimes I feel so helpless, being an American and living in what I would deem a safe part of the world. What can I do for those people in countries where acts of terror are the norm? We saw recently how the terrorist attack on Paris brought the European community together. Even Australia had vigils for the murders that took place at Je Suis Charlie. To see all of those people come together throughout the world was the kind of support that transcended distance. But here in the United States, I didn’t feel that same sense of community, the gathering of throngs of people who were peacefully rallying around a common cause, even though it could’ve just as easily been any one of our talk shows immersed in sattire that was targeted. However, I did feel the support that was pouring out of these other nations, and it flowed right into my heart.
So maybe it isn’t solely about giving support. It’s about receiving it too. I wasn’t receiving this love because someone I knew was murdered in the attack. I was receiving it because I was open to the light that the others were shining throughout the world.
A few months ago, the A Course in Miracles group I attended was having this conversation around all of the horrible things that are taking place throughout the world today. How can we be expected to love everyone, especially the people who are intentionally causing great harm to others? ACIM would say that person is acting out of fear, not love. “So how do we make a difference in their lives?” I asked. “Continue to be the light that is you, and it will affect the rest of the world.” I have to say this wasn’t the answer I was hoping to hear. I wanted to know the actions I could take. But to simply exist and be the light which will get transferred to others? It isn’t something tangible I can see or touch. How can I have so much power that my love and light will affect these people when there are so few of us living our lives this way? I don’t have the answers to these questions, but I’d love to know what you think. Can being a lightpost in your own home, with your friends and family and in your own community really make a difference to people you don’t know? In my mind, it seems possible, if my inner light brings out the love and light of others so that we are leading and loving by example.
In our age of technology, we could do as Tellio modeled and create memorials and celebrations that are dedicated to everyone since we are all influenced by each event that takes place in the world. Perhaps, the wisest thing I can share is that it needs to start with the people who are closest to you. Share your offerings of love, peace and support with them. Over the past few weeks, a friend has been healing from a very painful operation that will affect the rest of her life. With all the ups and downs, a coffee cake appeared on her doorstep recently, and this helped me see how easy it truly is to show we care.
And then there’s the people in your life whom you want to reach out to, but you don’t feel you live close enough to make a difference. After the experience I wrote about in my last post where I re-connected with college friends from all over the world, I can honestly say we have been connected more now than we ever have been. We call each other on the phone. We send e-mails or lengthy Facebook messages. We video chat. And we even set up a Facebook page where all of us who were here for the memorial can post photos and greetings to one another every day. There are about 30 of us in this group, and I love waking up to see their presence/presents.
Last year, I had a friend who made me dozens of vegan and gluten free chocolate chip cookies and sent them to me from his home in Milwaukee. Another friend surprised me by sending me a new PC. On my birthday in September, a friend sent me a photo of flowers from her garden with her birthday greeting. I am grateful for it all. I think the most important thing is just writing a note to say hello. As Tellio’s question lingers regarding how he can help me from where he lives, I would respond with “It’s nice to start my day off by seeing a greeting from you.” A recognition that one exists is the most valuable gift in the world. There are so many ways to do it. What would you do?
My belief is that we don’t need to offer this care and attention to the world or one another merely during the bad times. This is where we’ll begin our next discussion, and I can’t wait to hear your ideas on how each of you would give when everything appears to be going fine. Because this is when we need to remember that the entire world is our village. Each one of us and our actions causes our individual dominoes to fall into place. Exactly as they should!
My Hopes: My hope is that each of us will take the time to ponder the questions laid out before us. How to help people around the world whom we don’t know. How to help those whom we do know but don’t live close enough to be there to offer physical support. And how to help those friends, family members and acquaintances who are living in our own backyards. Not only to ponder, but do. Then share your ideas with us. We are all in this together; there are no right or wrong answers. My hope that you will consider these significant questions is my greatest hope of all.