Thursday, June 10, 2010

A Shot at Dancing

"Flow" Mixed Media Original Painting
(available in my etsy shop)

Every once in a while, I get really bogged down by the events going on in our world today. I start thinking about wars, the environmental crisis, the climate of the economy, etc. and I start feeling little and low in the face of it all. So much of it feels out my control and yet at the same time, I also feel hugely guilty about not doing enough, about my helplessness in making the world a better place.
 My mind starts churning on this and I become almost paralyzed with fear. I begin to have thoughts like, "what's the point of chasing dreams in a crumbling world like this"
"what's the point of striving for a creative, happy living when everything about this life experience is so fragile, and sometimes so destructive?"
"Who am I to deserve happiness and abundance when there's so much suffering and collapse in this world?"
These are thoughts that come marching in, one right after another.
This is the kind of thinking that starts moving me on a one-way downward spiral.
Sometimes, despite my usually optimistic attitude and generally positive out look on life, these thoughts come creeping in.
I fall into a dark place.
(sometimes this is why I don't always write here)
But I realize that in that darkness, if I listen very carefully, I hear tiny, quiet voices arising to meet the
Fear and Doubt.
They are whispers from my heart,
from wise teachers and other individuals I respect.
They rise up to say things like:
"your happiness is your gift to the world"
"when you live and lead from your heart, others will also live and lead from their hearts"
"What you want most for yourself, others want most for your also."
"In a world of dark, be the light"

And it's these little voices that I try to hold on to. That I try to breathe into my body and mind, even when the negative voices are screaming and drowning them out.
Anne Lamott writes,

"We are given a shot at dancing with, or at least clapping along with, the absurdity of life, instead of being squashed by it over and over again. It's like singing on a boat during a terrible storm at sea. You can't stop the raging storm, but singing can change the hearts and spirits of the people who are together on that ship."

Tantric philosophy says that this experience of ours is the play of Shiva, that it's all a part of his dance. He whirls us into the darkness, so that we may find our own light. There is a joy in this forgetting ourselves in order to remember again. There is joy in the rediscovery of ourselves. When we sing from that knowing, we change the hearts of others. With our song, we can remind others of the joy in their own discovery.
So, I will continue to hold on to these teachings, this quiet knowing, especially as I embrace the weight of the world (because there is certainly no running from it).
I will do my best to dance with the full spectrum of life, of my experience during this time on the planet. I will do my best to sing my heart out, so that I can do my part to change the hearts and spirits of others on this great ship, even during the terrible storms.

I invite you to join me.



Anonymous said...

Thanks for this. I suffer from the same dismal thoughts at times, like "what's the point of conserving my use of paper and plastic when there are millions of gallons of crude oil being pumped into the ocean?" so I appreciate being uplifted : )

aimee said...

beautiful... like a sea dancing against the sunshine!

jacqueline said...

Dearest Eliza, i am dancing with you!! I get bogged down too by events happening around the world each time i watch the news or read the papers, so i normal try to skip these when i could. Your painting is so beautiful! Yes, another gorgeous piece! Have a lovely merry happy day and love to you!

gina said...

I try to dance in spite of the absurdity of life. I love the Anne Lamott quote. I so admire how she's overcome many obstacles to find her own happiness. We all get pulled down sometimes by all the negativity and destruction around us. I have to take a "news fast" every so often so I can get away from all of it.

christy said...

I find it all too easy to get depressed or angry about the state of the world and all the bad going on too - so much that I've decided not to invite that into my life by reading or watching news anymore. Quick updates here and there occasionally, but I'd rather hear ways to bring about a positive impact.

Which is what I think you're saying in this post here, and it's great! Thank you for sharing the Lamott quote, I hadn't seen it before but I like it.

And your artwork is lovely! As always :-)


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