I look back at March of this year 2020 and it seems that time stopped and, yet, didn’t. So much has been altered. Our hearts are full to breaking with both coronavirus and longstanding issues over race. At many points I have felt overwhelmed, how about you? It is more than natural to feel out of balance within our own minds and hearts.
At moments like this I’m reminded of a true story about a Rabbi who met the Dalai Lama. In seeking to understand resilience and how people emerge from oppression and suffering, His Holiness asked the rabbi to share with him a personal story of the man’s family and the Holocaust. The Rabbi was surprised and replied, “Surely His Holiness knows about the Holocaust,” but the Dalai Lama pressed on, saying, “Yes, but I want to hear your story.” The Rabbi began to share the story of his family, how members were arrested in their own home, how they were placed in a cattle car, how one escaped while others were brought to the camps. Midway through, the Dalai Lama, shedding tears, held up a hand. The Rabbi gently responded, “Your Holiness, I haven’t finished my story.” The Dalai Lama replied, “I know and I want to hear it all. But I need to hear something else now.”
Two lessons for our time. One, we each have our own story to tell, be it about this pandemic, our experience with racism, how we are who we are at this moment in time. Each story is worth telling and being heard. Second, we can take in only so much pain without becoming like a sponge that can take in only so much water before it bursts. In order to keep our balance, we must be sure to hear something else, to remove ourselves from the news cycle, to find laughter in the time of pandemic, music or art to soothe ourselves and replenish our spirit, never giving up the fight for wellness and justice, but nurturing our inner selves as a means of building and maintaining resilience.
We can. We will. Here’s to finding the music within, to telling our stories, to being heard!