My heart reaches out to Japan wondering what I can do to help. How do I witness this disaster from a distance in a way that helps to restore community and build more resilience?
Stay connected. Stay connected. Stay connected. Those are the words that dance across my heartmind. So I tweet and retweet. I find friends on facebook and sent them support. I e-mail. And I share what I am learning through my connections across other networks, inviting us into deeper connection with each other.
This is another of those times when the subtle, or the spiritual, or the non-material is so incredibly important. It is hard for me to stay focused there. My eye slides off and I want to do something more active, something that will make more of a difference. But perhaps it is enough — creating a focus for goodness and kindness.
I watch the news accounts and I check-in with my friends and what I see more than anything else is a wonderful unfolding story of human goodness. It is still easy to fall to the temptation of “yeah, sure, we know how to work together when tragedy strikes.” There’s a kind of longing in that statement, a regret. But I have to say I am in awe when I see the extent of human goodness. When I remember that it is our natural state, our way of being. Our deep human goodness steps forward in times like these. We know how to connect and support each other and ourselves.
Of course we need to bring more of this into our daily lives. I suspect we’ll get more and more practice in the coming years. So I hear these stories of the goodness and ordinariness of life from my friends (via twitter):
- We’re OK. Helping each other with sharing room for rest and sharing tips. After few min, Morning will come!
- I and my families/friends are safe and sound. I walked back to home from the office last night. took me 5hours.
- Many people had stayed at office or council center in tokyo. Train started running.
- I’m OK. My family,too. And my younger sister had a baby last night! I’m happy and keeping praying everybody’s safe in this situation.
- My family and I are all fine. I was in Hokkaido, and just cannot go back… But I think I can tomorrow.
- I couldn’t contact my parents for seven hours. They are safe and back home.All family are fine. Thank you.
- Now we are projecting a virtue of the Japanese that we have consideration for other people!!
- We are in Tochigi Pref, stayed one night since stopped express train heading for Tokyo. a bit closed to North Japan.
- We’re all ok. It’s amazing how calm and caring people are in many places even after such a disaster. Proud to be a Japanese!
We’re okay. Helping each other. Proud to be Japanese. These are my friends and I love them. AND they are just ordinary people. Ordinary people discovering how to get along and how to help each other. Ordinary people discovering how to take the next minimum step. We know how to do this. We know how to help each other. We know how to be community.
Frequently we forget. We get trapped inside our own little worries about being sufficient, or having enough. We build walls of protection which isolate us from each other. When I am in Johannesburg from time to time, I see the literal walls — high, topped with broken glass or barbed-wire. Intended to keep danger out. And, of course, when danger comes in as it does from time to time, the walls isolate us from our closest neighbors who don’t know help is needed.
Disasters like the quakes in Japan and New Zealand reconnect us with our selves. They help us remember what it is to be human. A scene from Chris Bache’s book Dark Night, Early Dawn had stayed with me for many years. He speak of a vision of people emerging from shelters, underground, in a time of vast devastation. They rise from the rubble, look around and see who else has survived, and begin to connect again to make community and to continue our human journey. These are the capacities which will sustain us in the times ahead and which we need to be cultivating now.
Let’s find the ways to invite human goodness and connection forward without these obvious disasters!