This summer’s news threw me into a whirlpool of fear, sadness and outrage. Turmoil every which way you turn—Israel and Palestine, Syria, Liberia, Ukraine, Fergusson—just to name a few. The tension and concern is palpable. You might have noticed that the world falling apart encourages a “fear and protection” mode. Sure, I can write my Congressman, I can protest in the streets, I can even write a few checks, but these acts may not necessarily amount to any material change. It may or may not promote peace or health or dignity of those many miles away from our luxurious life. So, even these good efforts can land us squarely back into fear and protection mode.
As we learned from cell-biology (yes, I know, a stretch, but hear me out…), when cells are in protection mode, they don’t grow in harmony. But when cells “feel” safe, then they grow healthfully and together. What we need now, more than ever, is growth. Growth in how to negotiate peace without military solutions, growth in how to create cures and vaccinations, growth in how to integrate traumatic experiences so that we’re not doomed to recreate them for the next generation. But operating from fear is not going to promote safety or growth. As Einstein reminded us, we cannot solve our problems with the same level of consciousness that we used when we created the problem. If we continue to operate with fear in the driver’s seat, it is unlikely we’ll find the lasting peace or integrity that we crave for in this world of ours.
I don’t have many answers these days. But I do know that staying stuck in the fear only undermines our creativity, our problem-solving, and our capacity to remain whole and healthy. It begins with the conversations we have with ourselves and with others. When the tenor of the conversation incites fear, take a step back and notice if there is a way to promote the ultimate goal (peace, or health, etc.) with less of the anxiety. And instead of fear, invite in more connection to a higher energy, and a deep acknowledgement that bravery and faith in humanity will prevail. There has to be a better way. There just has to be. And together, I know we can find our path home.