Moving On From Here

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At this point in the pandemic, you don’t need one more lesson about what’s going on the world. For the past six months, we’ve been inundated with it. Instead, I invite you to join me in considering ways of handling where we are that work to our mutual benefit. Stay with me.

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This morning, like some of you, I awoke with a too-familiar ache in my heart for the struggles that are happening in the nation and around the world. Yet, as challenging as things are, I still have an abiding sense of hope for the future. As we remain calm and focused, we’ll step into that future together and stay open to building balanced solutions.

To help that happen, it will be important to keep in mind that what is good and powerful in us far outweighs everything else. That’s part of what makes us who and what we are.

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Without a doubt, I’m far from alone in the things I’m feeling. Along with the people I counsel with every day, innumerable others are experiencing a soulful sense of urgency as they watch the world careening in what appears to be an uncertain and perilous direction. The issues we face are large ones and many of them are growing more intense every day.

With so many important things in the picture, it’s hard to know where to start, and it can be easy to feel so overwhelmed that we lock up and do nothing constructive. Under the imponderable weight of it all, many people are shutting down. You probably know some of them. At the same time, today’s events are also causing great numbers of people to wake up personally, collectively, and spiritually to the good that is always possible.

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My goal for today’s consideration is not to solve the overall problem, but to look at where we are from a realistic perspective and to gain a view of what can each of us do about it. I think of the often-quoted adage by president Teddy Roosevelt, “Do what you can, where you are, with what you have.”

So, let’s look at where are, and at what we have with us and within us right now, and at what can we do with what we have.

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Where Are We?
There has never been a more important time to stay clear- minded. Some would have you believe that we’re ushering in the beginning of the end of the world. But can we afford to waste our time and energy on such a lie? Not to get ahead of myself, but this is one of the reasons I counsel people to be careful how much misinformation they’re taking in, especially through social media and some of the unreliable so-called “news” sources.

To one degree or another, it’s true that much of where we’ve been and the ways we’ve lived are no longer possible. And it’s true that the changes that are coming will not put the old systems back into place. To the contrary, we’re poised at the beginning of something altogether new. We find ourselves in the ideal place to build new ways of living and interacting that are more effective, more humane, and more balanced.

As a way of being encouraged, take a moment to consider the dynamic nature of the universe itself. It is self-healing, self- regulating, and self-balancing. Even as things quickly change around us, we’re seeing demonstrations of that healing and regulation and rebalancing right now.

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First Things First!
One thing that shuts us down and stops us where we are is fear. Fear closes the door to self-awareness and stops us from searching for and seeing what is possible. It not only blinds us to opportunities, it has within it the potential to put us into physical and emotional and psychological distress, individually and culturally.

“But, Scott, I am afraid!”

I get it. And I thank you for having the courage and the wisdom to say it out loud. As I told people when I was teaching survival skills, “Go ahead and feel the fear. Scream or cry or pitch a fit if you need to. Then recognize the fear for what it is and get it out of your way.”

In any survival situation, that is the invariable first step. As we loosen our grip on fear, we realize that it hasn’t been holding us, we’ve been holding it. Releasing ourselves from fear re-opens our mind and heart and brings us back to the awareness that we are capable and interconnected human beings. That brings us to the second step—taking inventory.

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photo: Scott Lennox


What Do We Have With Us?
Among a wide array of personal traits and capacities, let’s briefly look at half a dozen things that are always true about us and always available to us—six things that will help us move forward.

The first one is Resilience. Throughout history, human beings have shown themselves to be adaptable because of our built-in resilience. We’re flexible at every level, mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually. Whatever is happening in us and around us, we have the capacity to bend with it without breaking and then return to our own natural shape.

The second is Creativity. Though some people don’t see it in themselves, creativity is built into each of us. We need look no further than our imagination or the way we dream or the way we played when we were children, inventing all manner of things because no one had told us that we couldn’t.

The third is Compassion. One of the first things to show up in the face of adversity is our natural sense of compassion. Deeper than empathy, rational compassion is our ability to thoughtfully treat one another kindly and humanely while taking good care of ourselves in the process.

Next is Community. Despite the ways they are commonly depicted, even hermits lived in communities. The truth is, we need each other in order to survive and to prosper. Without question, we are social beings who do our best cooperatively and collaboratively.

Another is Wisdom. As a species, we are known as Homo Sapiens Sapiens, which translates from the Latin to mean “human, wise, wise.” Our innate ability to learn and keep learning results in the wisdom we gain. When that wisdom is shared, there is mutual growth.

And finally, Tenacity. We don’t learn to walk by giving up. We learn by getting on our feet and trying again and again. Our inherent tenacity keeps us doing just that. It is our tenacity that keeps us facing the struggle and doing what we must to come out on the other side.

Okay, we’ve taken a partial inventory. Now what?

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What Can We Do With What We Have?
As a consideration of how we can put these traits (and so many others) into motion, I pose the following two-part Beautiful Questions. I invite you to take your time as you ponder them, asking each of them in the first person.

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Question One: In what ways have I demonstrated personal resilience in the past? In what ways can I use my natural flexibility to help me adapt to the inevitable changes ahead of me without losing who I am in the process?

Question Two: Even if it’s a simple as the way I position objects on a shelf or arrange a vase of flowers or prepare a meal, in what ways do I know myself to be creative? How may I creatively engage with life day by day as I keep moving forward?

Question Three: In what ways has compassion been shown to me in my lifetime? How can I offer rational compassion to myself and those I encounter from one day to the next?

Question Four: What have I already learned about the power of community and sharing? Who do I know that I can rely on to work collaboratively with me in the days ahead? (Who do I consider to be my “Star Team?”)

Question Five: What good things do I know to be true about myself and the world around me? What are some of the wisest steps I can take as I face the future? (Think short-term, mid- term, and long-term.)

Question Six: How and in what situations have I demonstrated personal tenacity in the past? Have I consciously chosen not to give up, regardless of the challenges in front of me?

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This week’s Beautiful Questions are powerful ones. The answers you give them will help you stay calm and centered and focused. They will also help you move forward, through and beyond your fears and into a worthwhile future. Write and tell me what you discover.

I look forward to hearing from you.

As I say each week,
My Light with Your Light.

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