By Mary Boutieller
When we pause from our daily lives, we can find some joy amid the chaos.
Sometimes, when we’ve experienced enough grief, pain or discord in our lives, and we feel as though our hearts might break if we read the news one more time, it is then that we pause from our daily lives to reexamine who we are and why we are here. We ponder what to do with all the emotions we are feeling or trying to stuff away.
These past two-plus years have been like that for me. Covid, Ukraine, abortion and voting rights, shootings, children dying, Monkey Pox, politicians, racism…the list goes on. Yet the more I think about what is happening in the world, the more I need reminding of the good, the butterfly, the smiling stranger, the joy hidden inside.
This dichotomy, this not knowing how to feel in a world tilted upside down, is challenging for me. And although my mother passed away over 10 years ago, I came home the other day and thought to myself, “I should call my mom.” Because that would bring me comfort.
There are many things that bring comfort, of course, and yet in our grief we can forget to seek those things out—friends, family, nature, breath, music, and the nurturing, healing balm of reaching out to someone else.
Oren Jay Sofer said, “The contrast between the beauty and love in my life and the deep human suffering in our world is hard to hold.” For me, this pull between sadness at the state of things and gratitude at my own good luck, although seemingly opposite, is in reality the whole of life as we experience it day by day.
What is our proper response? How can we be an ever-growing part of the solutions we seek, so that we remain hopeful?
In 2013, I wrote a poem that somehow feels appropriate again today. Here it is:
The Parts and the Whole
Seems we spend so much of our time
separating the parts from the whole;
the individual from the group;
the body from the emotion;
Confident in our assertion
that one does not affect the other,
that we can do as we please and do no harm.
We think our disparate thoughts
and ignore the yearning call for communion.
We sense the discord in our waking lives
yet turn a blind eye to our innermost dreams.
We forget that our individual thoughts
that become actions…
that change our world…
for better or for worse.
How long shall we play the parts against the whole,
believing that the hairs rising on the back of our necks
are not a sign to pay attention;
that the tug of our hearts is not a wake-up call;
or that the pain experienced by another is not our own?
When will we see that we are not merely people
enveloped in a cocoon of loneliness,
but travelers on the same path,
the borders of our bodies a mirage
against the landscape of our souls?
It is my hope that this month’s writing inspires you to feel your feelings—all of them—to find some joy amidst the chaos, that you hold your heart and still allow it to be seen, that you live your life with both awareness and gratitude.
One day, one breath at a time.
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.