What is the Middle Road?
“Things are far too serious for us to lose our sense of humor.”
Says Terry Patten
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The heat has almost felt debilitating to me, gnawing at my senior-flesh, leaving me moist and messy and morose.
Walking with Niki yesterday, (why else would anybody be outside, I wondered, but to serve the cutest roommate on the planet?), I heard myself say to nobody, since nobody was around:
“I am in hell.”
I startled myself.
I looked around. Clearly, this was not hell in which I walked.
TO THE CONTRARY.
Check out the picture—this was right after another massive rainstorm and just before sunset. Such amazing colors.
The glorious Berkshires held me, the across-the-street farm, our neighbor-horses, the green of trees, birds carrying on, all defying my proclamation, as my above picture confirms.
WHAT THE HECK?
I am committed to positivity, to possibility, to life, to hope, and blah blah blah.
I am committed to understanding my privilege, acknowledging my resources, and using them in a way to serve and support others.
Blah blah blah.
Yet here I am, in the midst of such blessings, cursing the world.
Feeling cursed by my world?
Well, truly, we can probably agree, the world is fairly fucked.
Pardon my “technical” use of the f-word.
One of my friends offered this descriptor—we are circling the drain.
That image brought me pause.
The IPCC, the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change report has been shocking to me, yet not surprising.
The fires, the flooding, the future.
I can go down that hallway without return, and never hear another bird,
Never see another sunrise,
Never appreciate the glory around me.
Or—as some other folks that I know and love, I could put my head in the scorching sand next to theirs and continue along my way.
What is the middle road?
How do we bear witness to the suffering of ourselves, the suffering of others,
The suffering of our glorious and mistreated planet,
And lean into each other,
And lean into non-reactive action,
And lean into making the world a better place,
No matter what happens?
Terry Patten reminds us of humor.
The biology of laughter, the biology of humor certainly assures us that humor, mirth, and laughter contribute positively to the maintenance of health and survival—
Good things, that health, that survival.
How do we continue to lighten our hearts in the midst of the truth of what is?
Check out these more humorous inspirations for the week:
Here are two favorites—first, Wanda Sykes on the Colbert Show. This clip interested me since she is talking about really un-funny things. The piece is called, “What’s Going on Now is Not Normal”. Enjoy.
Next—Tig Notaro’s dry humor cracks me up. I appreciated this piece, “Why She Kicked the Baby”.
Shifting gears a bit, I am taking a year-long training through the esteemed Upaya Zen Center on Socially Engaged Buddhism.
Being exposed to extraordinary Buddist teachers has been a gift to my heart. The opening session in February was with Joanna Macy, environmental activist, author, scholar of Buddhism, general systems theory, and deep ecology. For decades upon decades, she has worked for the environment.
Her entire presentation was profound. At 92, her energy opened my heart. The lines she spoke that most impacted me have been the greatest learning I have had this year so far, in my SEB program. This is my humble paraphrase:
We may be too late to impact the healing of our planet. Yet we are meant to be here, to bear witness to this transition. This is our sacred task.
Here’s Joanna in a short video, Embracing Pain
We must end this discussion, of course, focusing on our relationship with our animal companions. This is a two-minute video. PLEASE, wait till the end—wait for it. I’m serious. Wait.
How can you speak your despair, your pain, your heartbreak, while seeing the beauty around us?
How can you give yourself the gift of humor, in the midst of so much transition and unknown?
What techniques can you utilize?
How can you support yourself in walking this middle road?
I am delighted that our wonderful Kripalu program is returning online, in four-ninety-minute live zoom sessions, Sept. 13-Oct. 4.
With my dear and brilliant colleague, Dr. Lisa B. Nelson, and special speaker Lauren Gernady from our School of Ayurveda, this program will support you in bringing compassion and the right choice into your relationship with food.
Designed with evidence-based medical information, Ayurvedic wisdom, and the contemplative practice of mindfulness and radical self-acceptance, this online program helps you shift the concept of dieting, which we know is not sustainable, into a journey toward healthy weight and lifelong wellness. This journey is more than just learning about what we eat, stress reduction, and yogic philosophy—both educational and experiential, it is a practice focused on living and practicing these principles.
If you have questions, please reach out. I am firstname.lastname@example.org.