“People are like tea bags.
You find out how strong they are
When you put them in hot water.”
On so many fronts 2012 challenges each one of us to discover that extra enduring strength. Some say the world is going to end this year. Loud voices are predicting a Euro (and possibly world) recession or even depression. We begin this year with longstanding revolutions, wars and famines. We know there are desperate millions crossing the world and knocking on our doors to find some peace and mere existence. We hear in homes very near and far that mental illness, depression, domestic upheavals and violence are common place and that our helping services struggle to respond. We feel in our bones the rising pain of chronic lifestyle illnesses and infections that baffle our best scientists and science. We stand often helpless as floods and fire and nature ravage us.
What can we do in the face of so much? I am reminded of Shakespeare’s famous saying from Hamlet: “To be or not to be, that is the question: whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings of outrageous fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles…” What is this “to be”, and how can we overcome suffering by the “take of arms” in our lives? The poet Emerson answers clearly and profoundly: “What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us. And when we bring what is within us out into the world, miracles happen.”
All traditions be they philosophical, spiritual, psychological or even military point inward to the greater man or woman within each of us. This ‘being’ we herald in times of valour and often reward with medals and prizes. This ‘beingness’ is an ordinary human capacity that is intrinsically there, like a Seed which can be germinated and nurtured and grown, like a Tree. It is not only within the realm of extraordinary individuals to be heroes and heroines of life. Each of us in our daily lives is called upon moment by moment to make choices and act from a place of compassion, integrity, courage and resolve. Each of us can reach inward and outward and give of our best no matter what our past or current circumstances. And ‘best’ is not about perfection but simply, with each challenge, rising to the occasion and doing what is necessary and called for. When we live this way we live a full life of Capacity and move from the life pattern of victim to that of victor. We may not change the entire world but we certainly can change and charge ourselves, our families and our immediate environs by Being more of ourselves!