Maintaining Peace in trying times … is as simple as “Where are your feet!?”
With the necessary attention and focus on Hurricane Harvey and Irma pounding the US southern coasts, it’s difficult to maintain a sense of PEACE and grounded attention in the moment vs. worrying about the uncertain future or the devastating loss of the past. The lack of control we have is evident from the recurring media warnings, and reality sets in when a friend’s Facebook photo shows 3/4 of her home under water. Anything that gives us a sense of having no control causes stress, and nothing reminds us more of our lack of control than mother nature’s unprecedented back-to-back hurricane devastation. How does one maintain PEACE in such times?
In trying times like these last few weeks, meditation still brings me back to a sense of what I can control (my breath) and what I can’t (all that’s outside of me.) Grounding in the idea of focusing attention internally, I can begin to find peace in focusing on what I do have control over…my response to the situation…vs. what I don’t… the situation itself.
Helping others has a way of taking our minds off ourown troubles and worries, and there is always someone facing a worse or a better situation. Maintaining this perspective is helpful, and volunteering time and other resources to those in need is incredibly satisfying and rewarding.
During their drive for emergency volunteers, I spent a Tuesday morning walking evacuated shelter dogs at Austin Pets Alive’s temporary shelter building on N. Burnett Rd. in Austin. When I walked in the glass doors of the shelter, the the smell of animal feces was overpowering to say the least. The number of dogs that needed a trip to the grass patch was so overwhelming, I didn’t know where to start. But APA had an impressive system of categorizing and tracking which dogs had been taken out, fed and watered and which were still waiting to go. After a brief training on their system I walked over 20 homeless and displaced dogs while another volunteer cleaned the crates, and filled bowls of food and water for each dog. The goal was to get to all dogs before noon, and we did it, together, one dog and one crate at a time.
While I personally can’t save every dog in need, I could easily see how the effort of many dedicated volunteers working two-hour shifts made an enormous difference for those dogs that day.
In the hardest of times, look at your feet. Be grateful if you have them. Our feet are always in the moment. We can choose to move them or keep them still. That’s really all we have control over.