It was the first meeting of our Wild Love for The World Book Group, beginning almost two years into a pandemic that has taken so much from us.
As we gathered together online, it was all too easy to instantaneously feel the distance between us. Still, as a facilitator in these times I’ve learned how to re-route the mind to reach through the computer to create the most personal group setting I can muster on Zoom. But what moved me most about that first meeting, the ingredient present, was not something I mustered at all. And it was a welcome reminder of what lies at the heart of humanity in hard times.
When our meeting concluded, and I closed my computer, I was flooded with the absolute preciousness of the willingness of these participants, after everything we have been through as a people and planet, to show up again and again and ask, “What is mine to give my world?” That tender longing to be of use, to give something that may help pivot humanity’s Earthly legacy, to protect our beloved world just a little bit more.
Heartbreak is a curious thing. It can compel us in its direction, but it can also make us turn 180 degrees and run the other way. On the one hand, planetary heartbreak invites integrity back into the system. When we acknowledge that which is harming a person or creature, when we are unafraid of being with the wound… that is how we have a chance to see what medicine to apply. The wound tells us the appropriate medicine. And yet, no one is an infinite well, and there is pain seemingly in every direction, and we must balance our gaze with immersion in the mysterious revelry of being here at all. I believe that this is our birthright; to revel in the gift of this life, as we simultaneously give a damn about what happens to each other.
It is at this intersection that I teach from when I am at my best. But more significant than being at my best is the precious heart of humanity my students conjure me into. As they come to the table asking, “What is mine to give our world?” I receive the gift of walking into the heart of the universe.
“This is the gift of the Great Turning. When we open our eyes to what is happening, even when it breaks our hearts, we discover our true size; for our heart, when it breaks open, can hold the whole universe.”– Joanna Macy.