A couple of days ago, I asked my social media friends how they were feeling right now and if they were holding up under the stress of the news. More than 300 people commented. The most often used words were “exhausted,” “angry,” “sad,” “overwhelmed,” and “helpless.”
I feel much the same. When I get to such an emotional place, it is hard to know what to do – except for one thing. To focus more deeply on spiritual practices that ground me, like practicing gratitude.
When I mentioned this to someone they replied, “How in the world can we be grateful in such at a time like this?”
Indeed, how? Children taken from their mothers and locked in cages. A stream of lies from those who wield the power of the government. And fellow Americans who seem just fine with that. And you want me to be thankful?
Well, we’re not thankful for any of this. Instead, we can be thankful through it. Thankful that activists and politicians and journalists exposed the mistreatment of immigrant children. Thankful that truth and facts matter. Thankful that some, like the Methodist clergy who have filed charges against Jeff Sessions, make it plain that we are not fine with all of this. These bad days have brought out the best in many people. For that, we can be grateful.
I’m sending you this issue of The Cottage for a simple reason – we all need to find our center and connect deeply to gratitude and joy. On Tell Me Everything two days ago, host John Fugelsang asked me what people should do right now. I said, “Take care of yourself, attend to your spiritual life. And get out into the streets.” And that’s it. Our strength comes from the inner journey toward joy and the outer journey of justice. The two move in tandem.
Below are three links to podcasts – conversations that I was honored to have with smart, caring, and deeply spiritual people – that speak of joy and justice, and how gratitude is the spiritual stuff of both. This is my gift to you during a difficult week. Listen in. There is hope.
10% Happier with Dan Harris, “100 Days of Gratitude”Dan Harris of ABC News, who famously had a panic attack on the air, has a podcast where he explores dimensions of mindfulness and meditation. We talked about gratitude.
The Nuanced Life, “Gratitude with Diana Butler Bass”
Pantsuit Politics Show, “Civic Gratitude with Diana Butler Bass”
Sarah and Beth are friends, one a progressive and the other a conservative. They have a couple of podcasts where they talk about politics and life from their different perspectives. We recently recorded episodes for both podcasts.