If you are struggling to keep your heart open

If you are struggling to keep your heart open in the face of all the anger, pain and hate you see around you, may I invite you to try out a few things that I find helpful?

Make yourself a cup of tea. As you sip, imagine that you are drinking from a vast ocean of love that is readily available in the universe. Tell yourself that you are strengthened by this love, and it gives you the courage to align your choices with the current of peace, joy and warmth that flows despite the visible chaos. Give yourself the permission to fulfill your needs causing the least possible harm to others.

Engage in activities that ask for you to show tenderness — whether that involves making a meal for a loved one, caring for a plant, looking after a child, or playing with your pet.

Light a candle in a quiet place where you can sit with yourself, and speak to it of all your frustrations and longings. Hug a tree, and acknowledge your desire to be loved and held. Paint, doodle, sketch, or play with colour if that helps you stay grounded.

Tidy up your surroundings. Take a shower. Sit by the sea. Go for a walk. Regulate or reduce forms of social media consumption that harm your ability to think clearly.

Connecting directly with the elements, and being in the body, is what I find nourishing. Do whatever it takes to help you expand your sense of self so that your response to the tragedies of this world flow out from a place of acceptance, understanding and loving kindness.

When you’re able to nurture yourself in these small and simple ways, you might feel more ready to engage with the systemic and structural violence we are embedded in.

If none of this resonates with you, ignore it. I am sure that you can find coping strategies and healing rituals that are personally meaningful for you.

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