Every day now, I wake up, and I feel it - grief. It is not a grief conjured up solely from my own personal losses. Although those have a part to play. It is a different grief. It is a lingering, low-lying, non-distinct grief. It is a grief that hovers, mixed with concern, with worry, with desire, with longing. A grief for something lost, or dying, or calling out for my attention, that feels like it is going to perish because there is no way for me to reach it. It is like a baby constantly crying somewhere in the distance.
Yes, like that, like that a thousand times over. A grief for things being harmed, that I alone have not the strength or power to protect. A grief that reaches out its hands to a burning rainforest, to a trafficked teenage girl, to a victim of crime that was denied justice in an unjustice system, to salmon contending with low water, to a stand of trees cut down for yet another development, to a beach covered in plastic, to a child covered in sores, to a sensitive soul shooting up the overdose of fentanyl, to the last caribou standing in a functionally extinct herd, to first nation communities surrounded on every side by industry, to the factory worker in China who forgets her own name after a 14 hr shift, to a migrant worker exhausted and unable to find a safe place to live, to a struggling farmer in India who can't afford his debts, to a millionaire buying love over and over again and never receiving it, to a cow in a feed lot standing knee deep in her own feces living a completely denaturalized life and yearning for an open field, to a person who hasn't been touched or hugged in months, to the freshly logged cut block in the last remaining old growth.
I feel you, but I cannot touch you.
I feel you, but I cannot reach you.
I feel you, because I am you.
Here is the challenge of our time, dear beings: To truly open our hearts to the wonders of Interbeing, to live a connected, open-eyed, open-hearted, wide-awake life of awareness and responsiveness to what is happening on our beloved planet, this comes with a cost. And that cost is an intensity of grief. The grief of being born to an earth family that is poisoning each other and our one and only home. That is neglecting and ignoring its elders (indigenous peoples worldwide), and squandering the inheritance of its children (our young ones, our future ones).
I don't think the world is full of cold-hearted people. I don't think that's why we're not seeing a full-scale REVOLUTION and REVOLT against business as usual. I think the world is full of people who only know their heart to be so big. Who feel the subconscious fear of the cost of it breaking, if they were to let the full reality enter in like a mighty rushing wind. I think the world is full of people who need to feel...more. And more. And...more. People who need a deeper and wider feeling experience inside of their human experience. People who have learned how to block that from happening, and so are in need of a great softening medicine. People who are exhausted with pain, and don't feel they can bear another drop.
Grief. You are a heavyweight champion. The great contender. The water and the stone.
And yet, I do believe our hearts need to be expanded by this collective grief. And so today I am making a stand for the grievers. I am making a stand for grief itself. That we must feel it. That we must not hide from it or run from it or lose our faith in its ability to connect us most deeply to all life. That we must not allow cynicism to arise in the absence of making space for it (because perhaps cynicism develops when grief is retained in the mind only, and is not allowed to reach deep down in and expand our hearts) . And that this grief, if we let it do its work in us, will have us turn fiercely and lovingly toward what we love. It will give us the wherewithal to protect it and each other and stay...open. To be giants of feeling.
I think the revolution will come through the catalyzation of grief work. It will arrive quietly and powerfully on a trail of tears.
May grief do its work in you as it is doing its work in me.