When I am alone I can become invisible. I can sit
on the top of a dune as motionless as an uprise of weeds,
until the foxes run by unconcerned. I can hear the almost
unhearable sound of the roses singing.
~ Mary Oliver
Everything that is in the heavens, on earth, and under the earth is penetrated with connectedness, penetrated with relatedness.
~ Hildegard of Bingen
If sequestered pain made a sound, the atmosphere would be humming all the time.
~ Stephen Levine
This is part of being human, this knowing that we are all part of one another, inextricably involved; and at the same time alone, irrevocably alone.
~ Madeleine L’Engle
… I am afraid that many of us with privilege have been able to become very naïve about pain and suffering in the United States and the Western world. We simply don’t have time for it. However, by trying to handle all suffering through willpower, denial, medication, or even therapy, we have forgotten something that should be obvious: we do not handle suffering; suffering handles us— in deep and mysterious ways that become the very matrix of life and especially new life. Only suffering and certain kinds of awe lead us into genuinely new experiences. All the rest is merely the confirmation of old experience.
… In this time of suffering we have to ask ourselves, what are we going to do with our pain? Are we going to blame others for it? Are we going to try to fix it? No one lives on this earth without it. It is the great teacher, although none of us want to admit it. If we do not transform our pain, we will transmit it in some form. How can we be sure not to transmit our pain onto others?
~ Richard Rohr
Knowing how to create moments of joy and happiness is crucial for our healing. It’s important to be able to see the wonders of life around us and to recognize all conditions for happiness that already exist.
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
How we love individual trees, but how we forget that our tree is embedded within a community of beings—a forest—without which that individual could not exist. It is only through relationships that a solitary tree is able to survive. So, too, ourselves.
~ Fred Bahnson, from The Church Forests of Ethiopia
Simply let experience take place very freely, so that our open heart is suffused with the tenderness of true compassion.
~Tsokniy Rinpoche II
What I know is that it’s going to be better. If it’s bad, it might get worse, but I know that it’s going to be better. And you have to know that. There’s a country song out now, which I wish I’d written, that says, ‘Every storm runs out of rain.’ I’d make a sign of that if I were you. Put that on your writing pad. No matter how dull and seemingly unpromising life is right now, it’s going to change. It’s going to be better. But you have to keep working.
~ Maya Angelou
…Withdrawing. If you do this, a lot of people will call you a ‘defeatist’ or a ‘doomer’, or claim you are ‘burned out’. They will tell you that you have an obligation to work for climate justice or world peace or the end of bad things everywhere, and that ‘fighting’ is always better than ‘quitting’. Ignore them, and take part in a very ancient practical and spiritual tradition: withdrawing from the fray. Withdraw not with cynicism, but with a questing mind. Withdraw so that you can allow yourself to sit back quietly and feel – intuit – work out what is right for you, and what nature might need from you. Withdraw because refusing to help the machine advance – refusing to tighten the ratchet further – is a deeply moral position. Withdraw because action is not always more effective than inaction. Withdraw to examine your worldview: the cosmology, the paradigm, the assumptions, the direction of travel. All real change starts with withdrawal.
~ Paul Kingsnorth, Confessions of a Recovering Environmentalist and Other Essays