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Posts Tagged ‘japan earthquake

Disaster, in the world or in our lives, can stun us and make us reel. But the best way to move forward is to take action. There are two kinds we can do:

  1. Outer action. Donate to charities that have low administrative overhead – check out Charity Navigator to choose what’s best. Or call them to see if there’s any help you can give. If the disaster is local – or anywhere nearby – consider actually going in person. Yes, you can do this!
  2. Inner action. No matter what you do outwardly, this is just as important. Mostly, don’t shut down. Open your heart. Let whatever feelings emerge that need to.

A meditation teacher of mine, Barbara Dilley, once said (paraphrased): “To be fully alive and present in the world is to live with a tender and broken heart.” You might say this means being vulnerable, because we truly let things affect us – but there’s more power there than shutting down.

Encounter what you find. And while you need not retraumatize yourself by watching footage over and over on the news, send love and prayers to those in need. In one sense or another, they’ll feel it.

Once again, we have a devastating disaster that’s difficult to comprehend if you’re not there, or if you haven’t lived through something similar: Japan’s earthquake and tsunami. However, these things happen – more often than we’d like. 9/11. Haiti. You name it, it’s incomprehensible.

Except that it is. Natural disasters have happened, and will continue to happen. Similarly, our lives are fraught with peril: people close to us have and will continue to have bad things happen to them… as may we.

What can we do, aside from freaking out and living in a state of fear?

Rather than being afraid, or steeling ourselves up, we can choose to open our hearts. This state of vulnerability connects us with the power of being alive.

Part 2: The power of being open and vulnerable.

Let’s sum up acting and reacting – and bring them together by looking at Japan.

We want to be fully aware of the world around us – and yet also empowered to choose to act differently. Yes, following the earthquake today in Japan, with horrifying tsunamis and 50 countries alerted. However, does it serve anyone to panic? Think of it this way: if someone you know is in hysterics, does it help them more to be there for them, and hold them… or to also go into hysterics?

Obviously the latter isn’t helpful. This reacting does nothing but reinforce helplessness and add more pain to a situation.

However, our reaction is likely connected to our ingrained societal scripts – which is part of how we act. Both, in fact, are part of our learned identity.

It doesn’t help to get caught up in our stories. So what’s an alternative? Awareness practices assist us in watching them, and creating some new breathing room for new aspects of ourselves to emerge, in tune with the environment.

Perhaps, with their assistance, we can move into a new place of action Рa combination where we are able to react consciously. Or, to act in attunement with both our centers and with the world. That is to be in tune with the environment, but also to find our center.

So: don’t ignore what’s happening in Japan, or when disaster strikes in the world or in your life. Do what’s needed. But don’t simply get wrapped up in how it’s presented in the media. Choose to act in the best way you can: send love and any assistance you’re able.

 


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