What to Do When Times Are Rough

Weekend Meditation

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Here's what I do when things get rough, when I'm sad or troubled or upset.  I go to the kitchen and I make something and then I give it to somebody. I don't let it get it too complicated: I pull some ingredients together from whatever is at hand and make then soup, or cookies, or bread.  And then I give it to the first person I think of, usually the the one who is closest, like a neighbor, or a coworker, or sometimes even my mail carrier.

This is not about forgetting, or fixing, or putting on a happy face. It's more about injecting something else into the mess, like a countervail, to pull some of the weight away from the negative. It's about a trying to find a deeper, more engaged way of working with the harsher aspects of having a human life. Think of it like a yoga pose that grounds one half of the body in stillness, and then bends or leans or stretches or reaches the other half away from that to find a new balance. Static and dynamic. Good and bad. Pain and pleasure. Find the balance that sustains you and then turn towards the world and give.  

The creative act of cooking, which helps to release and loosen the knots and tangles, followed by the connecting act of giving away the results is, for me, a powerful combination. When the situation is such that there's not much I can do, I find that I can indeed do something. And this something, as I said, doesn't necessarily fix the wrong, but it does help because it strengthens and nourishes the right.

As things explode, and explode, and then explode again I hope you find ways of coping that are helpful and wholesome, ways that enable connection and strength and kinship. I hope you have the nourishment and fortitude to stand still in the middle of it and then, from that stillness, reach out, and reach towards, love. It is the only way.

Related: How To Nourish yourself in a Time of Sorrow

(Image: Dana Velden)

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