“There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. That is how civilizations heal.”

Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison wrote these words to artists, but I’m sharing them with you as a spiritual practitioner of Life. This is the time when we must all step up, lifting everyone around us as we go.

I’m writing this at the end of the week when former FBI Director James Comey testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee. The pundits have been jabbering about what he said, but there was one sentence he said – almost a throw-away line – that really spoke to me: “I am between opportunities right now.” I loved that statement. Even though it was meant as a little joke, to me it indicated a spiritual sophistication in him that we haven’t seen in many people on the political scene lately.

To see “unemployment” as being “between opportunities” evokes the spiritual principle of Gratitude. Comey seems to have turned the humiliation and outrage of his firing into an opportunity to speak truth to power. Wow.

I read an article recently in which scientists described what the brain looks like when the “negative” circuits are lit up (sorrow, sadness, guilt, victimization, depression, etc.) Interestingly most of those circuits are in and around the amygdala – the fight-or-flight brain. But when scientists then asked the clients to start listing things for which they are grateful, those circuits shut down and different ones lit up. These new ones were circuits in the brain stem and in the frontal lobes – areas of the brain that control and induce a more sophisticated form of m creativity, and experience.  Here’s the link in case you want to read more about the study:  https://www.theladders.com/p/21219/neuroscience-4-rituals-happy

I’m wondering how many of us are able to find the Gratitude in our present polarized world? I think of Jerry Brown, my governor of whom I am very proud, who saw Trump’s exit from the Paris Accords as an “opportunity.” He went to China to talk to officials about agreements we can make between California (and a few other states) and China to continue to diminish human-caused ecological damage. Yay Jerry Brown.

If you look around you’ll see profound levels of positive activism that have been inspired by the demolition balls called the Trump Administration and the Republican Congress. Can you change the circuits around fear and polarization that are lit up in your brain and instead light up the circuits of creativity and possibility? Are you courageous enough to turn your outrage into opportunity?