Balancing Head & Heart

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April, 2020

On Monday morning I noticed this headline in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Trooper’s gesture moves doctor to tears. For a good example of a person whose head and heart are in balance, and in the right place, read what state trooper Brian Schwartz did to move Dr. Sarosh Ashraf Janjua to tears and hope. Have some Kleenex handy.

In this blog I will share two excellent writings, one from an academic and one from a minister. In the first, titled It Might Be, the author helps us rethink what is happening now, and what future implications might be. The second piece is titled Pandemic. It speaks of our hearts and the emotional and spiritual adjustments we can make in light of what we are all experiencing.

It Might Be

by Tanja Draxler, Austrian Academic
Sent to me by art teacher and friend, Amy Hart

It might be that ships in Italian ports will lie idle for the next few days, … but it might also be that dolphins and other marine creatures will finally be allowed to take back their natural habitat. Dolphins have been sighted in Italian ports, the fish are swimming in Venice’s canals again!

It might be that people feel locked up in their houses and apartments, … but it might also be that they are finally singing together again, helping each other and experiencing a sense of community again for a long time. People sing together! This touches me deeply!

It might be that the restriction of air traffic means a deprivation of freedom for many people and brings with it professional restrictions, … but it might also be that the earth breathes a sigh of relief, the sky gains in color and children in China see the blue sky for the first time in their lives. Look at the sky today, how calm and blue it has become!

It might be that the closure of kindergartens and schools is an immense challenge for many parents,…but it might also be that many children have been given the chance to finally become creative themselves, to act more self-determined and to slow down. And also parents may get to know their children on a new level.

It might be that our economy suffers tremendous damage, … but it might also be that we finally realize what is really important in our lives and that constant growth is an absurd idea of the consumer society. We have become the puppets of the economy. It was time to realize how little we actually need.

It might be that you are somehow overwhelmed by this, … but it might also be that you feel that in this crisis lies the chance for a long overdue change, that
– makes the earth breathe again,
– puts children in touch with long forgotten values,
– is slowing our society down enormously,
– can be the birth of a new form of togetherness,
– reduces the mountains of rubbish at least once for the next few weeks,
– and shows us how quickly mother Earth is ready to begin her regeneration if we make people consider her and let her breathe again.

We are shaken up because we were not ready to do it ourselves. Because our future is at stake. It’s about the future of our children!

Pandemic

by Lynn Ungar, Unitarian Minister
Sent to me by U of M professor and friend, Lou Quast

What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath-
the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
Center down.

And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.

Promise this world your love-
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.

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