It's been a while
Hello my friend.
It has been quite a while since I wrote to you and an infinite number of things have happened in your life and mine since then. Our collective life has faced turmoil, tragedy, and yes, even some triumphs.
A teacher that I discovered during this time likes to evoke the image of the lotus flower to remind us that all of it matters. The injustice, disappointment, loss, frustration, darkness - the mud - is vital to the growth of the beautiful lotus flower. No mud, no lotus. I've spent the past year reading and learning from teachers like Thich Nhat Hanh as well as authors of both fiction and nonfiction books. Some telling their own stories, some capturing the stories of many in a beautifully weaved novel. The mud is there in every single one. The skill I'm learning, then, is to embrace it.
Embracing the mud doesn't mean pretending it's not mud. Every year, every month, every day, every second, there are things happening in our world that are senseless, violent, and tragic. There will always be suffering, but I believe in a better version of our world, where hatred, violence, and selfish disregard for other beings are met with compassion and naturally dissolve away. Many say this is foolish, naive, and too idealistic. I know what is truly foolish and naive, though. To believe we are condemned as humans to act in violent and selfish ways that burn everything in our path to convenience, wealth, power, and being right. How small-minded it is to believe we are not capable of so much more.
We will never get there if we do not embrace the mud. We must acknowledge each moment and what it contains. We can't ignore the history that has led us to this moment. We can't simply judge and hate these bitter parts of our world. We must take them in, care for them, and understand them. Then, we can grow. And we can bloom, through the mud, into a beautiful flower.
I've been cultivating this skill over the past year by reading as well as practicing yoga and meditation. I invite you to try any of these things if they are not a part of your regular routine. While 2020 has been a year of introspection for me, I'm ready to reach out to you in 2021 with my writing. I hope to see you here each week for updates on my life and what I've been learning. I am thrilled when you take the time to send me updates of your own. If you're still here at the end of this letter, thank you. Let's take a deep breath together. As I breathe in, I'm thankful for this inhale. As I breathe out, I'm thankful for this exhale.
Sending you love, through the mud,