Bouncing Back

I’ve been racking my brain trying to find a new, lighter, direction for Hearth’s 2018 newsletters. 2017 has been a very challenging year for many, the Trump election, hurricanes, fires, and mass shootings. It seems that every day there is another right to protect, another population to safe guard, another community to bail out. It’s easy to become fatigued, give up and let the river take us where it will. But, unfortunately-or fortunately, this is not an option. The planet we all live on and its residents need our support and love. The dark powers are hoping we will wear ourselves out so they can get on with their agenda. This is not hyperbole but a real strategy employed by those who have power they wish to protect and extend.  How do we stay buoyant and continually bounce back after each assault? Here are some thoughts on this from the Hearth perspective.
CREATING EMPTY SPACE-getting to a place of quiet
The rest in music creates a container for the notes, otherwise there would be a cacophony of sound. Empty space on the canvas creates a context for the shapes and colors. Sitting in quiet gives us the opportunity to stretch out and develop. Without silence our life is just one long tangled chain of thoughts and feelings all running into one another. We need the space that meditation provides to let thoughts and feelings settle and reformulate. Even if we only sit in silence for 15 minutes we return to our day with a refreshed outlook.
To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And Heaven in a Wild Flower, 
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand  
And Eternity in an hour.
William Blake
Let nature sooth you
Walk in the cold January air
Cook soup and cookies and pasta, eat with family and friends, repeat.
Crack open a beautifully written book or read the work of a favorite poet
Sit down and listen to transcendent music
Go to a museum or open an art book and look at colors and shapes that fill your eyes with the wonder of life.
One day a week, put away the computers and cell phones, the TV and radio, and take an information Sabbath. Everything will somehow go on without you and be there when you return.
I find that taking a long view and approaching my life from a standpoint that fosters social activism helps me to not give up. Awareness of impermanence also helps sustain the long effort. Even the worst of events will pass.
This is not a sprint, it’s not even a marathon. We’re in it to change our habits as citizens, neighbors and parents and, surprisingly, this is good news! Being good citizens, neighbors and parents requires us to step up our spiritual practice, our social connections and our self- nurturing. We must take care of ourselves, have fun, and connect with others if we are to remain a force for good. We become even more alive, develop a deeper capacity for enjoyment and increase our peace of mind and wisdom. Not a bad way to contribute to society! This is my new years resolution and the direction for Hearth in 2018; to nurture myself so I can nurture the planet.
Wishing you a healthy, productive, connected New Year,

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