It is not easy to be calm when there is grave physical unrest in the world.  When there is unbridled brutality at play stemming from a restricted mindset.  The unprovoked invasion of Ukraine by Russia (2/24/222) continues, supplanting the worries of the recent global pandemic.  One deadly wave has been replaced by another.  It is impossible to stay calm and unaffected when confronted by daily images of suffering. An entire population fights to survive the hostility of its Russian neighbours for the sake of one man’s skewed vison of power and entitlement.

How is it possible for a someone like Putin to wield such a devastating influence over so many people?  Needless to say, it does not happen overnight.  The stream of events that is human history unfolds as if scripted by some self-propelling energy.  Ukrainian men, women and children fight to shield themselves from the brutal onslaught of an unprovoked attack that is leaving them displaced.  It is as if human destiny is embedded in some cycle within nature that does not allow for complacence.  That forces survival instincts to be continuously challenged and redefined.  I am not sure that the dynamics propelling change are innately qualitative.  That comes later.  The fallout behind the energy that forces change impacts humanity, causing subsequent responses:  perhaps to resist/fight, perhaps to comply/adapt.  At the heart of it all – I think – is human suffering. 

There are days when I feel absolutely numb.  I simply cannot fathom why unprovoked hostility exists; let alone the havoc it reaps.  In the face of it all, competing voices are eager to pitch their views on why it happens, who is responsible/liable, and how it might end.  In a recent interview, world renown historian Yuval Harari said simply, “Information is not truth”.  It is unnerving when disturbing visual images of physical destruction compete with stories that aim to explain why they have happened.  Bombs are dropped, people die, homes are destroyed, and competing voices speculate as to why this is happening. What is wrong with that picture?????

I am struggling with waves of anger and despair.  Like so many others, I am at a loss to understand the current madness at play in Europe, and yes, I feel very afraid.  Despite the energy I have dedicated to finding my voice over the years, it feels insignificant.  There is very little comfort in feeling insignificant.  But then, maybe it is not meant to be a comfort so much as a challenge.  Perspective is critical.

Once again, I turn to the wisdom of Yuval Harari.  In a recent interview he said “There are times…when the thing most responsible for your suffering is your own mind”.  I think the impact of human suffering is exponential.  It cannot be avoided. Herein lives the script of our lives:  how we respond to human suffering – with compassion on the one hand, or with outright disregard on the other – defines our time and place in human history.  Whoever we are.  Whatever our lives, big or small.  This is what enables the natural resistance to being unjustly attacked – on whatever level.  And to fight like hell for the lives we have been gifted.  To become the best version of ourselves.  And to support the right of others to do the same.


It comes in waves

like a subtle wind

blowing gently at first

cool and refreshing

calming uncertain

hints of unrest

momentum builds

without warning

tipping the balance

of all that is sacred

in living a good life

forcing unwelcome pain

forcing fear in its wake

shaken and dazed

there is a bending of sorts

instinctive movement

to shield and protect

to run and hide

bent but not broken

the will to resist

finds its way

the will to survive

for a good life

finds its way.        


Photo by Jessica Arraes

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