With the pandemic well into year two and variants seeming to outpace our attempts to quell the virus, I must admit I hesitate to write this. People are dying, and disparities are only amplified by the crisis. What a mess.
Yet the nature of crisis is that it drags us towards transformation. It hauls us either to a state of despair or determination.
The first results in the projection of powerlessness – we collapse in on ourselves or express it in anger and outrage. At best, we are paralyzed. At worst, we lash out.
The second stems from a radical reframing that seeks an opportunity for something new, something better. This practice changes a problem into a challenge. It calls us to connect and become agents for transformation.
A problem is a wall… a barrier, a block, an issue. It confines, it defines, it separates.
A challenge is a way… an opportunity for growth, creativity, imagination. It invites, it inspires, it expands who and what we think we are. It calls us to connect with others to enact change.
This is a sacred orientation, foundational to the way Spirit works. When we connect to this inner source, we become infused with a humble, yet confident power. It changes how we engage the issue, and clarifies what agency we have in it. This is how we forge purpose in the fire of crisis.
Even more, by its nature this is a shared power, one that flows from Spirit to us. And that we, in turn, can share with others. That’s great news! It tells us that we have the power to create the needed shift, and its source is endless. It’s already there!
But it can be hard, if not impossible, to maintain this orientation. If you’re like me, you tend to default to ego, to the individualistic self, and lose sight of the collective, of your interdependence and interconnectedness in this world.1 Coming back to Love’s centre can be as simple as pausing, taking a breath, mindfully observing one’s thoughts and feelings. Come into partnership with Spirit. Then move forward with purpose.
Martin Luther King Jr. wrote, “power without love is reckless and abusive and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice.”2
A problem is a wall. A challenge is a way. – David Maginley
Reframing the pandemic as a challenge to awaken compassion, to activate our ability to build a better tomorrow, to seek justice, means changing our relationship to the crisis. We reach out to those who are suffering, those who are scared, even those who are angry because beneath that emotion is the longing for a better world. Previously, I had posted about becoming a warrior of compassion. Now, more than ever, the world needs each of us to be such ordinary champions to bring about collective change.
Question: How do you connect to inner power?
- St. Paul expressed this struggle in Romans 7:15-20.
- Martin Luther King, Jr., Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community? (Harper and Row: 1967), 37.
To receive regular updates on new blog posts and upcoming events, please subscribe.