When all the world is a hopeless jumble, And the raindrops tumble all around, Heaven opens a magic lane.
These song lyrics are from "The Wizard of Oz", performed by the famous Judy Garland, and I find myself singing them when I'm down. They lift up my spirits, and I'm reminded that blue skies prevail behind heavy grey clouds. Even that moment on film, where you see a young teenager peering out on the horizon, looking into black and white skies, touches me deeply because she literally can't see the color anywhere. Her world is devoid of magic, even in childhood.
That's how I've felt lately, because waking up and hearing the news, seeing the posts on social media, listening to some friends' heavy hearts, have weighed on my own. That's life, I remind myself. We're meant to feel the entire spectrum of emotions and move through them. Still, when hearing about kids torn from their parents, and US officials saying "it's someone else's problem to fix," you kind of feel like giving up, flashing the middle finger to society and gorging on Netflix and candy. Because...how can you change something like this in this massive world?
Well, you can't, not on your own. Changing policies and systems takes a collective effort.
But you can change lots of people's lives, I promise you this.
Can you think of a time when someone else brightened your day? Can you think of a time when you exchanged a smile with someone, or a stranger gave you a compliment and it shifted everything?
What if you spent your energy on doing these little things? Would it make a difference?
Most expression of anger comes from passing on what's already been inflicted upon them.
Hey- we don't have to pass it on, and we don't have to add to this sick cycle of hurt, hurt, anger, sadness, hurt. We can do two things instead:
When we're hurt, scared, or experience any of those freaky feelings, we forget to breathe. This is why Yoga is so valuable (and trending!)- it encourages breathe among lots of other beautiful things. Breathing allows for movement of anything we experience. It's the essential, primary, and most simple form of release. When we let things go we can move on. Imagine someone cutting you off in line and calling you a butthead. How would your body feel? Tight? Congested? Electrified?
Breathe and let go of that energy as much as you can in the moment. Don't let it have power over you.
Then choose kindness. Say there's a stranger in the checkout who is taking forever to get their things together and pay. Imagine that no matter what they're doing, it's not about you. Imagine they could use some joy. Be kind. See what it does out there in the world because good golly we need more kindness!
Being kind is possibly the most important thing you can do right now, as an individual. Still, try and solve communal problems because we need that. Still, donate to great causes that provide resources- that will make a huge difference. But don't underestimate that power you have with every person you come in contact with. A lonely people with all the resources in the world, is no better off that a well loved and cared for person with nothing to their name. YOU are a key ingredient in this kindness game, so connect, offer yourself, and don't expect anything back. Kindness is unconditional. (If it wasn't, it would be called networking.)
Dorothy goes through Oz and eventually makes it back home. She's aware, for the first time, of the rainbow beyond the clouds that were crowing her clarity. She's grateful, and starts to open back up. That stuff's contagious.
If happy, little bluebirds fly beyond the rainbow...why oh why can't I?
Annie is an author and illustrator with books available on Amazon and local book stores. She is open for commission, too! She lives in California, and loves tea, bike rides, reading, and exploring new places.