“I’m doing them because I don’t believe this life is a meaningless holding area before something better, but the sacred chance to make something better with this day and this breath and this place.”
from the blog post, Things I’m Doing Before Going to Hell– by John Pavlovitz
When things go haywire, how do you make them better? This is the question for today, and one I wrestle with often. Why? Because wanting to make something better assumes that something is bad or, at least, not good in the first place. Yet, all my Buddhist teachings tell me that things are neither “good” or “bad”, they just are. So, do we do nothing to improve the way things are or do we try to make things better? And if we do try to make things better, better for whom? better how? What does better mean?
These are questions I ponder today as life continues to throw curveballs at us… with more family members now getting breakthrough Covid infections and one in a serious car crash yesterday and needing a great deal of medical attention. I cannot fix my family members’ infections, nor put broken bones back together. I certainly cannot go back in time and keep these things from happening. So, I accept them as they are. Life happens, and this is a part of our lives right now. Acceptance, however, doesn’t mean surrender. It means acknowledging that this is how things are, this is how I’m feeling about what’s happening, and now I can take appropriate actions.
I can think positive thoughts, lend moral support, assist with meals and errands, send out positive energy. I can sit still and breathe, take care of myself so I can be useful when the time comes, reach out to those who are most closely affected by these events, and offer my time and resources to assist them in the most appropriate way possible. I can also reach for support for myself – a hug from Mr. EndlessSeeker, a text to friends whom I know will provide moral support to me, and a call to the plant friends who provide mental, physical, and spiritual sustenance.
The shocking news of the car crash yesterday sent us to the herbiary and gardens to find nourishment and strength. A little hawthorn tincture added to morning tea, and a pinch of rose petals to breathe in, soothing our aching hearts. And as is often the case, certain plants tend to show up and tell us we need them. During our garden wanderings, Mr. EndlessSeeker discovered a bright berry-ful plant that we’d not seen before. Once we identified it as a lovely native coralberry, we decided to trim the large cedar branches that were crowding the shrub. The scent of those cedar branches encouraged me to make red cedar smudge bundles, which I did. We will use them for clearing negative energy, calling in good spirits, and sending protection to those who are hurting and healing. A pine needle tea nourishes us with Vitamin C and lifts our spirits.
Somewhere recently I read that life will continue to throw the same things in your path until you learn the lessons they are trying to teach you. So, I ask myself, today as always, what lesson is there here for me to learn from what might otherwise be seen as a tragedy? What am I to say, think, create, or do to, in John Pavlovitz’s words, “make something better with this day, this breath, this place”? Here’s what I’m learning/doing today:
- To live deliberately, joyfully, lovingly
- To not put things off
- To show and tell the people I love that I love them
- To breathe in the gifts of earth, air, fire, and water that surround and support us
- To take nothing for granted
- To smile and hug and sing
- To love big and unconditionally
- To defy fear
- To choose happy
- To be fully alive
- To walk through this world with grace
Hopefully, through it all, I’ll also make something better for someone else. How about you? What is your lesson today?