By David Jones
There’s a song by Maureen McGovern titled The Morning After.
It’s an uplifting song about uniting with others to emerge from the storm, the long dark night, and realize the sun comes up after the cataclysms of life such as elections, storms, political uprisings, wars, loss of loved ones, and loss of all hope for tomorrow. There’s always a morning after.
However, when we wake up on that morning, things may not always be better, or even okay. Things could be worse. I know, “Oh thanks a lot!” But I’m just being honest—we don’t get guarantees. So what we need to focus on is making sure we are okay, no matter how awful everything else is. We should continue to be a light to the world, cultivating love, peace, and rightness both in ourselves and in the world around us.
Is the darkness all around? Be a light which shines even as you wander fearfully amongst the shadows.
Is there someone wanting comfort? Be the one who reaches out even if you’re needing comfort yourself.
Is someone requesting guidance? Be the one who offers others some walking room on your path even if you’re a little lost as well.
We don’t need to be completely fine in order to help others. If it did, we might never help anyone. Besides, helping others can be a surprisingly effective way to help ourselves. That’s one of the reasons we have community—it helps one and it helps all.
If you find yourself sinking in the storm, reach your hand out so someone else may grab hold and help lift you above the waves.
If you wouldn’t blame someone else for asking you for help, try not to blame yourself for recognizing your own need. It’s a good thing. What if that’s even too much to attempt today? Sleep. Rest. Recover. Heal. Take your time; no one has a schedule for being okay, it takes as long as it takes. If you don’t want others to feel guilty for resting and healing, then apply that compassion and kindness to yourself.
And when we feel too lost, too sad, too scared, too angry, too confused, too helpless, or too hopeless, remember this truth: you deserve to not suffer.
When it all becomes too much, there are free resources online or in your locality to help. Look online for crisis help, a phone number, a website, a text or chat line, or other ways to get the help you need and deserve. Suffering may be a part of life, but to paraphrase Boromir’s words to Frodo in the Lord of the Rings movie, “Be sure you do not suffer needlessly.”
So reduce the time you spend on social media, that Economy-Sized Dispenser of Anxiousness.
Get outside if you can, and reconnect with actual nature. Ask for help when you need it. Pray, meditate, perform your rituals, or otherwise submit your offerings of peace, love, and healing for the world and all those in it, starting with yourself.
And on the morning after next, just keep doing that. Anytime you wonder what to do, these are some ideas.
Editor: Dana Gornall
Did you like this post? You might also like:
- The Natural Marriage of Alan Watts and Zen: Talking Zen Book Review - June 17, 2022
- God is Emptiness, Emptiness is God: Thoughts on God Attachment - April 30, 2022
- A Buddhist that Chose to Fight - March 14, 2022