Ukraine – the madness and the beauty

(image of Carpathian mountains in Western Ukraine by Oleg Mityukhin from Pixabay)

As I sit down to write these words, my heart is filled with disbelief at the unfolding situation in Ukraine. A couple of days ago, Ukraine was subject to an unprovoked attack by the president of Russia and his army. This is the birth country of my parents, who had to flee after the second World War as the country was under attack, just like it is now – a pattern that has been repeating itself for hundreds of years.

I spent my childhood immersed in all things Ukrainian. My parents, (as is typical of Ukrainians) were patriotic and so we spent our weekends attending Ukrainian school, Church, dancing, singing, you name it, my sister and I were there. As I moved away from the family home, I discovered a world beyond the Ukrainian community, expanded my horizons, and my Ukrainian heritage was put on the backburner.

Like many of us in the Western world, I have taken for granted the ability to go about my daily life in peace. I can go to work, I can buy anything I like, I can travel freely (Covid restrictions aside!). In these past few days I have been reminded that in this very moment, there are millions of people just like me, with dreams and aspirations, whose ability to even enjoy a warm meal has been taken away. As I sit in the cool stillness of a new day in my apartment, families are being torn apart, children are crying, people are frightened. It isn’t fair and I cannot believe that in the 21st century, (some) humans are still oblivious to the atrocities of war.

As the current issue is close to my heart, it is hard for me to not be affected in some way, as I feel the Ukrainian part of me stirring. All of a sudden I have a desire to visit this country of my parents’ birth and I worry about how much of the culture, sacred architecture and natural beauty of this country will survive unscathed.

In many ways I feel helpless about a situation on the other side of the world and I am visited by feelings of anger, passion, disbelief, sadness and my mind often wanders to that other part of the world. I cannot control external events but I can control how I react to them, and I can control my inner world.

As a believer in universal energy and the oneness of all, there are things that I can do. I’ve been lighting a candle every night for the people of Ukraine. I can bring this light into my heart and I can send it to the people of Ukraine – the leaders, the soldiers, the mothers, fathers, children, the sick and injured. There is enough hatred and anger floating around, just as the perpetrators would like it. The people of Ukraine need hope, light and love. Yesterday I visited my local shrine to pray for the people of Ukraine, to send love and hope. I sat in silence away from the news, and I listened for the quiet whisper of divine wisdom to come through.

In daily meditation, I see myself as observer of my thoughts and feelings, which creates distance between me and my thought / feelings, so their impact on me is lessened. Distance always seems to dilute impact. I give my thoughts and feelings space to be acknowledged , so they can pass through me, rather than getting stuck inside my body and mind. Journaling is another tool that I find useful to release thoughts and feelings, getting them out of me and onto paper, again creating that sense of distance.

I remember that I am not my thoughts or feelings, they are merely visiting. They come and go but I remain the same at my core.

Yes it is challenging at times, like when I watch video footage from relatives as they watch tanks roll past their home. Yes it’s insane and yes it’s unfair, but I like to believe that even in the midst of this atrocity, there is divine reason, even if I’m not aware of it. I hold on to the belief that goodness, humanness and love will prevail in the long run.

I limit my consumption of news to prevent overwhelm. I focus on what goodness I have in my life – my work, my studies, my art, my family, and immerse myself in these. I move with the feelings, in yoga and dance, rejoicing in the blessing of being able to move. I go for a walk in nature, looking for goodness, beauty and life in the world.

Lastly, I find comfort in the words of Ralph Marston, and I hope that you do too:

Stop for a moment and calm your thoughts.

Let go of your anxieties and look around you.

What do you see?

You see a world filled with beauty.

You see a life filled with possibilities.

Yes there are challenges, yes there is sorrow.

Yes there is violence and hatred.

But more than these there is love,

there is goodness, there is joy.

Think of what a precious thing your life is

and how truly blessed you are to be experiencing it right now.

Breathe in the beauty around you, the beauty and richness of being alive.

2022 – An Invitation to Create a New World

Another new year, and what’s so special about this one?

As anyone can see there are three twos in this one.

In numerology, every number upto 9 has a meaning and power attributed to it.

Number 2 relates to The Divine Feminine and its attributes. (To make it perfectly clear, I am referring to the feminine as an energy found in both men and women, which goes beyond gender) It contains the seeds of intuition, relationship, partnership, union, harmony and teamwork.

This is an invitation to relate and form unions in the framework of The Divine Feminine. For way too long, partnerships and unions have been formed on an uneven playing field, with some sort of a hierarchical system in place. Think of your traditional corporate workplace scenario with various tiers of management and varying levels of power and authority. In a traditional family structure, male and female gender roles have been very rigid. Although these gender roles have been around for a long time, clearly they are not working for most, with relationship breakdown at an all time high.

In 2022 we will be invited to explore the notion of relationship and union from the perspective of a more even playing field where the players see eye to eye. There is the potential to use differences in a way which completes rather than divides. Unity within diversity.

Number Two and The Divine Feminine invite us to replace control and authority with harmony and teamwork. This is an invitation to relate to others and form unions, both on a personal and collective level, in such a way that we strive to understand our differences, and see eye to eye, regardless of these. This is time to tap into the feminine qualities of grace and dignity, to operate with an understanding that as human beings we all deserve respect. The same blood runs through all of us. We are all branches of the same tree. Treat others as you would like to be treated.

Control through force is not sustainable. The Divine Feminine is a quiet but powerful influencer. Think of the feminine element of water as it makes its way in the form of a babbling brook. It is fluid, flowing and dancing along effortlessly, making a gentle, soothing noise as it goes. If you place a leaf in the brook, you will see it bobbing along as it gets taken downstream. Under the surface, pebbles are being polished and the bank of the brook is constantly changing depending on the water level. If the brook comes across a large boulder, it will not force its way through the boulder, neither will it go over it. Instead the brook finds a way around the boulder with grace, dignity and ease, in such a way that they both co-exist in harmony, side by side.

The Divine Feminine operates in a similar way, as the quiet but powerful influencer, acknowledging the power of compassion and co-operation, in guiding to a place of harmony and co-existence. This is an invitation to find a way to co-exist with that large boulder. This is a quiet, detached authority (for want of a better word). It doesn’t need to make too much noise or use force to be heard and validated. This is about power within, rather than power over. It’s about realising the power of harmony, compassion, grace and dignity.

I think we can all concur that the last 18 months have shaken our world to the core. The once-in-a-lifetime pandemic has brought us to our knees. We have seen systems crumble and experienced a distrust of leadership. The way we used to operate and relate to others doesn’t seem to work anymore. The phrase ‘we cannot go back to things how they were’ keeps getting repeated like a mantra.

Let this be an invitation to create a new way of being, doing and relating. Let’s share the Divine Feminine principles of compassion, harmony, teamwork, unity and finally seeing eye to eye. Let’s create a world that we will be proud to leave for our children.

In the words of Mahatma Gandhi – Be the change you want to see in the world.