Embracing The Stranger!
Today I remember my mother who spent her last years in a hostel for the very frail. Regina hated being there. Everyday she resented, blamed and rejected her circumstances and especially the people around her. Everyone was seen as lesser, too different, not of her kin or usual circles. Those years became like a living hell for her and also for anyone who visited or was in contact with her.
From huge distance of States, I would dutifully try to encourage her to ‘occupy’ herself with meaningful projects, to socialise where she could, and as a religious person to pray and go within with purpose. Little seemed to work. Mother became stuck in her sufferings and insufferabilities. Each of her children and grandchildren separating themselves from her more and more. We all felt helpless or hopeless to change her and even ourselves.
Each of our personal Life Stories are complex and as human beings we share many commonalities – our fundamental desire and Need to be safe, secure, cared for, loved, feel worthwhile, belong, act creatively, make a difference and to commune with Higher Sources be it Nature, Love or ‘God’. Whatever our race, creed, culture, country, landscape, age, profession, occupation or health status, we literally Need to Be, Become, Connect with and Do.
In our World we have always highly valued ‘externals’, especially our ‘Doings’ particularly now with a raging indiscriminate virus seriously affecting everyone and every place. The nature of relationships, human contact, work, of travel and other outdoor pursuits and daily activities have all been changed by the urgent need for Social Distancing and fears of death and ill health.
I write this in social isolation. Many of us, old or young, rich or poor, healthy or unhealthy are now forced to be ‘indoors’ and ‘inside’. Many of us are not used to being confined inside our homes or away from the outer externals of the everyday world. Where can we go? What can we do? Who do we become if we aren’t working or doing our usual lives? Big questions we each face especially now. Questions we each need and must come to terms with for the alternative could become ‘living in some inner hell’ – disconnected, disabled, depressed, distraught, distracted and desperate. Not good places to Feel let alone cultivate within ourselves and with those we meet or live with. What are choices or alternatives?
I suggest that a ‘Solution’ may be right there with us. Our Inner World, our Self and our Soulfulness maybe a Real Way through the emptiness and extreme challenges of this unprecedented Time. With the business and busyness of everyday life many of us have lost contact or never explored in any depth our Inner Worlds. What would we truly find there? Like a Stranger to ourselves even Strangers to each other, we don’t go there, we don’t mix with ‘them’! We keep a distance, fearing or rejecting who and what we don’t know. Demons, dreads, differences or Delights! I suggest all of these are possible. All of these may offer us something More rather than just something lesser or unwanted.
Inscribed in ancient Temples, Churches and Academies of Learning, the Invitation to ‘Know Thyself’ is literally now at our Door. OurSelves has always been there within. This Stranger we live with! This Sanctuary and strange Inner Space to explore, discover, deepen, delight in, grow and share. We don’t have to go to the Moon or Mars! Within we are and have an unlimited, exciting and strangely undiscovered Universe and Treasures to come to Know, Value and Cultivate. For many in this unwanted Time of Contemplation we may learn to Become our Whole and Wider Self for the sake of each and All. I am rediscovering my desire for Active Quietude and Contemplation – my close friends are my old books, the inspiring music, the musings and writings, the prayers and meditations, the inner and outer peace-makings, the overdue and unmet Inner Work, the releasings of material goods that no longer are needed, and walks in beautiful unfolding nature and more to come… The World needs our growing Care, Love, Wisdom, Truths, our inner Treasures and Contributions like never before. Let us each Befriend our Strangers! Let us discover and recreate a ‘Heaven’ on Earth’ wherever we find ourselves and each other. This we can Do! Loretta