While weeding the garden this week, I thought about my life history and what brought me to that moment. I grew up in a small Nebraska town, the eldest daughter of a banker. As kids, we had open space and the natural world available to us, along with endless materials for building, self-expression, and creativity. The fields I explored as a child are not unlike the desert grasses alive with spring flowers these days. Early on, without having the term in my vocabulary, I sensed that my life was one of privilege. In fact, for decades I struggled with guilt for having what I had, knowing so many in the world lacked even basics for survival. Somewhere along the way I realized that perhaps I’d been given what I had because I was meant to do something with it. I was a designated steward of my privilege, and it was not to be squandered.
Over the years, available resources have brought various projects to fruition, Awakening Seed being the most significant. I have learned to feel gratitude instead of guilt for all that has been given to me. Every chance I get, I do my best to direct it toward something that will serve others. This week, my second of being isolated in the comfort of my own home, the guilt arose again. It’s hard not to think of the grocery store cashiers, the medical personnel on the front lines, first responders, and delivery people dropping off packages so those of us fortunate enough to stay home can receive the supplies we need. It doesn’t seem fair that I get to be safe in my own home, while others are forced to be out in the world. This train of thought immediately felt unproductive, so I paused to reflect on what I am doing to be of service to the planet right now.
I am taking care of my garden and daily offering appreciation for the bounty it provides. Established personal practices are keeping me healthy and balanced so I can be a source of strength to those who need me. With Danielle, we’re daily navigating our way through all of the layers of the school that need attention. My work with young poets continues, to ensure their voices stay strong and steady. I am making art, which brings me joy, and perhaps others as well. My eyes and ears are attuned to voices out in the world who might be a source of inspiration to those I care about the most.
One voice that caught my attention was educator Kim John Payne, with advice for helping reduce anxiety in children. It was some of the best, most practical advice for all of us living and working with children. He doesn’t pretend to have solutions to our current situation, but he does offer down-to-earth, common sense ways to be with children that could be game changers during our movement through these unchartered waters. In the coming days I will continue to write, to be present to life in a way that serves all of you and this precious planet, and offer myself in service of whatever is required.