Like many other people I have been feeling crazed, exhausted, dumbfounded and scared by politicians preaching peace and then breeding hate by the end of the speech. I was feeling lost in the uncertainty of what has been happening in our country and around the world, until the other day, when I was washing a strawberry. We were having our first “Possible Party” (necessary celebrations during impossible times) in our new upstairs space at Heartworks.
I was washing a strawberry for a little girl who likes strawberries, is grieving her dad and was having her friends here for her birthday party. It was her first birthday ever without her dad and we were doing everything we could to make it special for her. I began the preparations with a distracted mind filled with irritated and stress-filled thoughts about the news coverage about the convention. Somewhere between rinsing these strawberries and cutting off the green leafy part to make things easier for her (who wants to deal with a pesky stem at their birthday party?!), I was brought to a moment of peace that was so overwhelming I wept over the sink.
The power of one small act had spun its influence up through the knife and straight into my being. Preparing a strawberry had suddenly impacted me in a way that no presidential speech ever could. I felt no discord in my body or mind. A full glimpse of true internal peace. It was like by washing the strawberry for Paige, I was in the flow of connection with a higher source and the fear of the news coverage became a stone in a river being washed over by love. This seemingly small act brought me back to a place of “Everything Belongs” (the title of one of my all time favorite books), back to connection, and back to a level of gratitude that had escaped me watching the news the night before. This peace, created by one small strawberry, lasted throughout the day until I started watching the news again… when will I learn?
The next day I came back to the Heartworks House, to see a note that was left with a donation of a book for the Heartworks Lending Library. It was left by my new friend Dan and his wife, who both attended our July meeting. This simple donation brought me back to peace again. Author and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel made it possible for regular people like me to more deeply understand the human condition and the impact of hate in a person’s heart.
This sight of the book on the table reminded me that the suffering we are witnessing in our world today has been going on since the beginning of human existence and what I must do is take responsibility for my own mind, my own heart, and my own actions.
I can be change right here, right now by acting with a compassionate heart in every circumstance I find myself in. Dan has choices too. He could of left the Heartworks meeting feeling defeated with so much sadness on our table and in our world, but instead, he donated a book that has helped him maintain compassion and perspective in his life.
It was a reminder that I can control only myself and share peace only when I am cultivating it within my own being. We can each get swept up in the fear the news is projecting or we can donate a life altering book to a lending library.
We can get swept up in the hostility or we can do something for someone who is struggling, which sometimes is as small as handing fruit on a Happy Birthday plate to a 14 girl who just lost her dad. So if your head is spinning with the progression of this election season, know that you can refocus on small gestures and peaceful thoughts to bring yourself back to center through the connection such acts inherently create.
Come to think of it… What if every time we have a fearful or prejudicial thought, we do a small gesture for whoever is around us??
I’m going to do this and see what happens!!! Counter every fearful, exacerbated thought with a hug or letting someone cut in line or a smile or a phone call or any other ordinary way to offer the world LOVE instead of pain…. Yup- I’m doing it! Do it with me! And remember Mr. Wiesel’s words in his life altering book Night (now available in the Heartworks Lending Library).
“Mankind must remember that peace is not God’s gift to his creatures;
peace is our gift to each other.”
– Elie Weisel (9/30/28-7/2/16)
Our Lending Library is always available!! Stop by and choose a book that has affected another Heartworkers life! You can take it home or sit in our beautiful upstairs space. Don’t forget to call first to make sure we’re at the house (908)766-4400.