Martha's Vineyard is normally my place of resting, but it is difficult to find a sense of "escape" when the country is in a state of unrest..
We arrived on the Island, Saturday, August 12, 2017, as the events were unfolding... and our normally cheerful, sun-filled motorcycle ride onto the Island was masked by rain clouds, downpours, and an overall tone of melancholic misery.
I can acknowledge that I am sad. I can label the emotion that has a fierce grip on my wide-open heart, and I can breathe – mindfully – knowing this too shall pass.
I can find gratitude in the sadness; rain makes the sky blue hue of the Island hydrangeas intensify, and the hatred that is unfolding in parts of the nation sheds light on the important work that SO many are patiently painting on the canvas of this great country.
There is goodness.
On Sunday morning, I watched the waves crash fiercely on the shore from the residual pull of Saturday's coastal storm. "It's too dangerous to swim," I thought to myself joylessly. The clouds and misty haze enveloped me as I strained to see the light come through...and then I remembered Leonard Cohen saying, there is a crack in everything; that is how the light gets in.
Yes. There is beauty everywhere if we choose to see it. We must recognize that there is hope within even the darkest of clouds. We must step up and be warriors of this light – choosing love over hate, and acceptance and action over indifference.
We can sit back and complain, hoping our government will legislate love. We can become enraged at our television screens and iPhones which blatantly portray the ills of society, and the impending rain storm that is guaranteed to ruin our weekend. Or, we can turn the screen off. We can be mindfully aware of the storm we are weathering together, and step outside of what's comfortable.
We can go out and actively listen to an opinion that is not our own.
We can smile at passerby's, and perform random acts of kindness in a world that is self-indulgent. We can acknowledge that we are broken, yet mendable. There is a thread that connects us all together if only we choose to see it.
No matter where you live, what you believe, or what color your hair, eyes, and skin are...you are a person who seeks love. If we can all acknowledge this one truth, we will find the way out.
Rainer Maria Rilke wrote, "Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love."
As I wrote this, the sun began to break through, creating a sparkle across the water. I smiled, grateful for the sunlight and the passing of the clouds. I smiled, grateful for the acknowledgment that the clouds will come again; the ebb and flow of the tide will remind me that life is neither gentle nor easy, but the sun will eventually shine.
I can choose to be that light... and so can you.
When I finished feverishly writing this piece, I put my notebook down. My stress and anguish was out of my body and on the paper. I then opened my book that I've been reading. The next chapter, unbeknownst to me, takes place in Charlottesville, Virginia...
There are no coincidences; there's only a universe that's begging us to listen.