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(The high end of the see-saw – photo by Jen Deraspe)

As I sat down to type these words, my heart was feeling full from leading an in-person community sing in Maine on Sunday afternoon. Bernice and I are bringing our work back out into the 3D world, and it’s cause for celebration! For some of us, it was the first time back in the warm embrace of shared vocal harmony, and all of our cups were overflowing.

When I got home and checked messages, I heard back from dear friends from New Orleans who are not in their city right now, who are wondering and worrying about what awaits them when they do return after the hurricane passes.

Then, another message arrives – photos taken at the sing, depicting happy, joyful humans creating and nurturing harmony and connection.

Then, a quick look at the news brings my seat on the see-saw back down – the pandemic, the wildfires, Afghanistan.

Life sometimes feels like a never-ending series of emotional roller coasters, like some strange theme park of the mind that slowly, sometimes agonizingly, lifts us up to the briefest moments of joy, and then in a flash sends us plummeting back into grief and despair. It can be a tough thing to remain open and caring, to be vulnerable, to turn towards suffering in the world.

Keeping in regular touch with the things that fill our cups – music, art, meditation, nature, knitting, reading, whatever it is that speaks to our hearts – is the key to remaining balanced, so that when we do get a little motion-sick from the ride, we have something to anchor us and nourish our hearts as we navigate how to respond to it all.

Yesterday, we sang a song that has helped keep me steady over the last year, and I offer the words to you now:

These hands will do the work
These feet will carry me
These arms will be welcoming
To what these eyes can see
This heart will stay open to the possibility
And the love in this heart will set me free

May it be so.