By Mary Boutieller
Just over two years ago, the world became way too familiar with a virus called Covid-19. It was a new experience for most of us; we were used to common colds and winter flu season. Yet, this virus spread with rapidity, overwhelming hospitals and creating so much loss in its wake. And just when we thought the stress of the pandemic was mostly over (or at least easing), we found Ukraine being attacked by Russia for no comprehensible reason. The cumulative stress that many have been under feels particularly heavy at times, even as we go about our “normal” lives.
I thought I had been dealing with it pretty well until the other day when I sat at our dining room table and sobbed. I sobbed because I couldn’t hold it in any longer. I could no longer be strong or positive or pretend that my heart wasn’t breaking. I would imagine many of you can relate. And, much like anything under pressure, once I let it out, I felt a bit better, like I could breathe again.
As I wonder where my writing will go, I keep looking at a small sign near my television that says: “All You Need is Love.” And although love is a big part of the solution to many of our problems, we need more than love. We need truth. We need respect and empathy and action. We need to find a way back to our humanity and remember that, “There but for the grace of God go I.”
In talking with my husband, he said he couldn’t imagine being a refugee, having our home bombed, fleeing to another country, leaving behind all that he knew and many that he loved. Neither could I. Yet, I think it’s important to imagine it, just for a little bit, so that we might be able to feel what so many people around the world, in Ukraine and elsewhere, are feeling at this very moment.
And, trust me, I don’t want to be a downer. I want to write about joy and happiness and finding your groove; and I may still; but for now, the truth is I don’t know how to write about that when I’m feeling this.
Nations are at war (some say it’s been going on for as long as there have been people). We fight with each other and with ourselves. It seems there is always an “other.” Maybe this realization is where love comes in.
Eckhart Tolle said: “To love is to recognize yourself in another.”
Maybe this is where we love ourselves enough to stop beating ourselves up. Maybe this is where love rises up and says no to bullying, to violence, to untruths. Maybe this is where love shows it’s face in communities and online—especially online where anonymity is easiest.
Mark Nepo said, “No matter where we think we’re going, the journey of every life is to find its home in the moment where everything touches everything else.”
When someone else’s pain touches you, you know empathy. When it’s important that you do something for someone else—a neighbor, a stranger, a refugee—you feel compassion. When you no longer participate in the onslaught of apathy, you are practicing love.
Rumi said this: “Love rests on no foundation. It is an endless ocean, with no beginning or end.
Maybe all we really do need is love?
Mary Boutieller is a Registered Yoga Teacher through Yoga Alliance. She has been teaching yoga since 2005. Her work experience includes 22 years as a firefighter/paramedic and 10 years as a Licensed Massage Therapist. Mary’s knowledge and experience give her a well-rounded understanding of anatomy, alignment, health and movement in the body. She is passionate about the benefits of yoga and the ability to heal at all levels through awareness, compassion, and a willingness to explore. She can be reached at: SimplyogaOm@gmail.com.