I found myself in an unexpected light-hearted conversation about brunch bars and cardboard boxes in my local supermarket with a complete stranger, I was able to reflect for just a moment and value how absolutely lovely this interaction was. Walking towards the self checkout, I was smiling. There was a sense of comfort, of joy, and of belonging to my local community.
As I then meandered home, I found myself pondering further on the importance of valuing these interactions, particularly when our planet is facing such adversity, such despair, such hostility, such pain, such trauma. Right now, so many of us are feeling an overwhelming sense of belonging to this world of despair, and are sometimes swept up in what I have heard referred to as the 'inertia of despair'...but what is this doing to us? How is this affecting our capacity to value the brief and wonderful interactions we may have in our communities everyday? The very interactions that support our wellbeing, our resilience, and our capacity to make meaning...
Immersed in our current global and national crises of war, pandemic, and poverty, our thoughts are pulled daily into aching empathy for so many fellow human beings. The sense of compassion is evident in the support that is being offered to so many across the globe, and the sense of belonging to our planet rises again as we pull together as inhabitants of this challenged planet.
But when this state of compassion becomes overwhelming, we are, ourselves, at risk - we become more vulnerable and thus less resilient...we become less able to regulate the stress and the despair, and this impacts on our wellbeing. So what can we do? We can aim to enjoy a state of compassionate reason. A state in which we can think and process whilst we feel, yet feel and acknowledge whilst we think - this is a resilient state, and a state which supports responsiveness to others.
But how do we maintain reason in a world of such despair? Is acceptance of exactly where we 'fit into' the big picture important (though certainly not the same as accepting the 'big picture')? Is valuing the small yet powerfully important joyful everyday interactions with others important? Is acknowledging our sense of belonging to our local communities AND to the compassionate global community important. I really do think they are.