Experience: The Poem
It started with a poem…scrolled on a post by the sidewalk a block from my home. My next-door neighbor sent me and my family an email with the verses to lift our spirits. It was a loving gift. Because you see, my neighbor and I can’t speak freely face to face anymore. We have to keep our distance.
Throughout the week it continued. Another friend sent an invitation to offer professional coaching, counsel, or holding space for her closest colleagues and friends. An Italian tenor named Maurizio Marchini passionately sang out ‘Nessun Dorma‘ from his balcony in Florence to amazed neighbors and then via YouTube to the world. People starting leaving food in Little Free Libraries for those who may be hungry. Teachers gave free online yoga classes. Congregations of all faiths live-streamed their daily prayers and meditations. Medical workers of every type put their lives on the line to tend the sick. Virtual happy hours, online hugs, electronic collaboration, small and large business service exchanges. In a show of pure silliness, my wife and I were invited to join a Sock Puppet Theatre troop online, where we would each play a character reciting lines from old time radio shows. On and on it went, too numerous to chronicle; stunning displays of humanity in a time of historically significant uncertainty.
Across the fear, anxiety, and loss over the past few weeks, human beings are finding ways to proclaim their generosity, creativity, and connection. In our best moments, these kinds of expression break through. However small or fleeting, we lift the veil of separateness to wield the truth of our supreme interconnectedness.
Sure, there is no telling how long this will last, nor the scope of its effect. But we can make a choice to be more generous, more creative, and more connected than normal everyday patterns seem to allow. It may just be the opening salvo of many more difficult moments of crisis in the days, months, and years to come. Either way, when we practice being generous, creative, and connected, we consciously evolve a way of being that will endure nearly any challenge. It’s like a dress rehearsal for a new humanity. One built on a very different set of assumptions. We are inextricably linked. We are together.
Practice: The WE Challenge
Over the next few weeks and months, here is a challenge to take on. We’re calling it the WE Challenge. Find ways that you can demonstrate acts of generosity, creativity, and connection like the ones in this blog. It doesn’t matter how BIG or small, or how many beings (animals and plants included) it involves. The force comes from your heart–What do I have to give that I can uniquely contribute? What are creative or artistic ways for me to express myself? In what ways can I reach out in new or different ways to connect with others? Take a moment right now to write down a few ideas. Then commit to trying one or more out. By doing so, you are helping all of us to move past fear and into what is possible. You are helping us practice conscious evolution as a species. Because we are, after all, not separate.
What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath—
the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has become clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.
Promise this world your love–
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.
–Lynn Ungar 3/11/20, lynnungar.com