Gregory Berg/ Enso Photography
Looking inward during this time can completely shift our perspective.
As we are all navigating this extraordinary challenge at this time, one thing is clear to me: that we are all asked to go deeper, and that each one of us has to define what deeper is for ourselves. We are all asked to move to a greater willingness to let go of how we’ve been living our lives up until now, to let go of the old ways, and to create and discover a new design for our daily lives. None of us are exempt. We’ve been given no manual. How do we not cave in? How do we find motivation and inspiration? How do we build a new track so we can feel some kind of groundedness and sanity in our days? For me, it comes down to one fundamental thing, which is to find a place of absolute acceptance and loving for myself, for others, for the circumstances, for the conditions, and to find my patience.
When will this end? How will this end? Are we ever going to feel safe again? We only have one choice, which is to be present in this moment and allow something larger in ourselves to move in us and through us. Although it’s not an invasion by a foreign country, it still feels like an invasion by the enemy.
My parents fought in the Second World War. When the Nazis came to Greece, my father was captured and taken to the concentration camps for a year and a half. My mother fought with the resistance through the Red Cross, caring for patients and hiding Jewish people in cabins in the mountains. At one point she came face to face with the Nazis who marched into the cabin she was occupying, and as they started to shoot she said to them in perfect German, “Put down the guns, you have no right to shoot, we are with the Red Cross.” She saw three machine guns go down, and also had the audacity to tell one of the Nazis when he picked up her comb, “Can I have my comb back because I need it more than you!” She often told me and my sister through all the challenges she faced in her life, “I have faced fear dead on and I overcame it, so nothing will scare me anymore in my life;” and if anything, she paved the path to fearlessness for me and my sister and so many others who had been in her presence.
And though she passed away many years ago, we all feel her palpable presence all the time. So when I ask her what would you do at a time like this, this is what she says to me: “Don’t be consumed by the news, put your full attention in anything you do, eat slowly, live fully every moment, and darling, don’t give into fear, you’re bigger than that.” And if she were here, she would bring her life force of love and joy and cooking in making this moment as sacred as possible, always affirming that life is sacred.
So dare to step into what we call the unknown, and realize that in this present moment the unknown can become known in an instant, and that it is not our enemy and can be an opportunity to serve our own awakening. This is what I think we are all called for right now — to remember the reverence, the sacredness of life that was hijacked by our doings and goings, our drive to accomplish, and our hectic lives that consumed all of us going from one thing to the next to the next, and disconnected us from our hearts, our caring, and the better angels of our nature. We have put our essential self on hold, thinking that one day, maybe, we’ll get to it. Even with all the meditations and the yoga and the self-help books, we might have forgotten our humility, our tenderness, and our unbearable vulnerability against unknown forces. With all that we have mastered, setting sail to ship, none of us expected to find such stormy winds and turbulent waters. So we all have to adjust the sails, hold onto each other, and assume our inner mastery.
But there is one thing that I feel is completely intact in each one of us, and that is the priceless being that lives in each soul on Planet Earth, the immensity of the human heart and the immensity of the human spirit that is, in fact, in all of us. And to me, the call of this time is that — no matter where, no matter with whom, no matter your circumstances — nature, God, the Universe is pleading with us, “please go deeper and find you, find that resourceful and connected part, and that is the gift to you, to your life and to your fellow human beings.” And unabashed and unadorned, gaze through the eyes of the one inside of us that knows love, compassion, and peace beyond understanding, and let our trust, our wisdom, and our unwavering steadiness lead us forward into the dawn of a new era.
Sharing with you a poem I wrote about loving all parts of ourselves:
Loving All Parts of You
Love that part of you that feels disturbed and out of balance
Love that part that feels so fearful
Love that part that feels out of control
Love that part that is upset and insecure with the unknown
Love that part that worries
Love that part that’s trying to do its best and feels it’s never good enough
Love that part the needs the love
Love that part that feels so lonely
Love that part that feels untethered
Love that part that feels so uninspired and lacking motivation
Love that part that feels it should be doing more to help the others that feel the same
Love that part that needs a break
Love that part that wants to play, and sing, and dance, and feel the joy
Love that part that wants things to work out in a much better way
Love that part when others don’t love you in the way you think they should
Love that part that is so human
And let that love reach out to your belly and reach out to your feet
And fill you to capacity so you will feel you’re walking on solid ground
Not because things have changed, but because you have changed the conditions of your life into LOVE.