We live in remarkably challenging times. As a twenty-first century human, you face fewer immediate threats to life and limb than humans who came before, yet must navigate more psychological and emotional ones. Massive global uncertainties are served to you with your morning coffee as you scan your news feed. The suffering of the whole world is at your fingertips. This undeniable evidence of your limited control over vital things – climate change, war, hunger, human rights violations, pandemics, the rise of totalitarianism – is painful.
It is so hard to see and feel the truth of our limits. When confronted with the pain of vulnerability, we seem to fall into two groups: we struggle with a feeling of urgency and overwhelm and are consumed with worry, or we decide to shut off and “not care”. The first group leans toward anxiety problems, and the second group leans toward apathy and depression.
But when we know how to listen to unrest and soothe our nervous systems with warm attention, we can bear the truth of our limits. We can care without being overwhelmed. We can care and still accept our limits. We can face reality and allow the pain of the world to matter, and we can matter also.
You are needed here in all the pain and beauty of this life. The key to being present is inside you in every moment in your nervous system, in your muscle tension and breath. Unrest is there, calling you home. Unrest calls you to come toward yourself with compassion in the vulnerable truth of being human. You matter. Your vulnerability will allow you to feel that so you can let this world, and life itself, matter.
And there is no more important time than right now for you to matter and to care.