As I walked and gathered items for this week's mandala, Irma was on my mind. She seems so symbolic of the times in which we are living. As we grapple with questions of immigration and the reality of climate change, our country's literal borders are being beaten back by the hands of mother nature. Across the nation, many of our number appear to be struggling to maintain our footing in the swirl of chaos and fear surrounding us. It is not surprising that some have wondered aloud if we are not at the end of days.
Indeed, these lines from William Butler Yeats' poem, The Second Coming, seems almost prophetic in light of current events:
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity
Here in Nashville, the weather could not be more beautiful. On this peaceful Sunday morning, it is hard to imagine all that is happening further south and what the week may hold as the storm moves inland. In the longer term, who knows what the lasting impact will be. From this peaceful place, however temporary, I wanted to create a mandala to express the calm center I am trying to hold for my friends and co-workers in Florida today, as well as our nation as a whole.
My weekly mandala practice is an inherently grounding and centering act. I am reminded to be grateful for every good day as the gift that it is, even when darkness can be seen approaching the doorstep. As a self-identified four on the enneagram, I am aware that my path of growth requires me to cultivate the virtue of equanimity, which Webster defines as "evenness of mind especially under stress." The symbol of the hurricane reminds us that in times such as these, we need more than ever to find that calm center within ourselves.
“Acts that proceed from your calm center are always more effective than acts that proceed from fear, guilt, or anger.” Alan Cohen
Contemplating all of this, I was reminded of The Wood Song by the Indigo Girls, which has long been a favorite of mine. The lyrics encourage me to remember that there is a power with unsurpassed love watching closely over this journey. We've been given our hearts as a tool to use, and if we learn to use it effectively from a place of love, I believe we will be able to weather the storm together.
Be safe, be well, and hold on. "The prize is always worth the rocky ride."