The events of last week were unsettling, to say the least, and a reminder of the tumultuous and uncertain times in which we live. As if the stress of a worldwide pandemic weren’t enough, we’ve suffered the politicization of practically everything and the proliferation of incomplete or misleading (whether purposeful or not) information.

It’s hard not to be really, really stressed.

I think we all reach our personal stress saturation points, after which the only way towards personal psychic survival seems to be to circle the wagons and batten down the hatches and whatever other self-protective metaphor you can think of. And that’s totally understandable – when faced with an increasingly unfriendly world, it becomes a sort of default setting to direct all of one’s energy towards oneself.

The challenge, of course, is to not lose sight of that world out there. At these point of stress, it’s all too easy to fall into anger or fear (which itself is simply a form of anger) and to become solely focused on what I think of as “me/mine”. When we’re in those states, it’s harder to think about “us/ours”, much less “you/yours”, especially when the “yours” is at odds of your sense of “mine”.

Ironically, though, it is when we venture out of our self-protective cocoons that we can begin to release that unbearable tightness that makes us collapse within ourselves. Reaching out, extending a hand, looking for that sense of “us” in all of this mess – this is what can give us comfort. Being a part of “us”, being of service to “us” – family, friends, neighbors, communities – this is where strength lies.

Sometimes the world is inconceivable, unknowable. But it’s ours.

3 thoughts on “Ours

  1. Wayne Zelenak says:

    Sarah, I view the world as a classroom and our experiences as lessons in learning, with awareness as the lesson plan. I love your thoughts on me/mine vs us/ours, and you/yours. There will always be a conflict understanding those acronyms in a world of social unrest, self-worth, and relevance.

    Like toddlers, we all must learn the value of peace and strength in us/ours by sharing our time, blessings, and gratitude in words of kindness and inspiration each day, with neighbors, friends, and family.

    We can’t change others, but we can change ourselves in hopes of changing others, it seems to be a daunting exercise in behavior, but we need to start somewhere, and only time will determine our success. We own the merits of our behavior and understanding in a diverse world, struggling to survive. In the meantime, seek beauty in the world. “Raise your words, not voice. It is the rain that grows flowers, not the thunder.” ~Rumi


    1. chefdorch says:

      It feels sometimes like too many people haven’t gotten past toddlerhood and or learned to share, or even play nice with others, or get past me/mine. Daunting prospects indeed!


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