I left work early on Wednesday, went home, and wept. I just bawled. It was all too much. And it was only Wednesday.
Our campus observed Holocaust Remembrance Week this past week. On Friday, we hosted a dialogue about the future of politics in the United States. I see the exhaustion. I see the fear. I see the overwhelming sense of hopelessness, and I admit: I feel it too.
Not for myself. One of the ickiest thoughts that has floated through my overcrowded brain this week was “if I did nothing, if I had no idea what was happening in our country…I would be blissfully ignorant. I could go about my daily tasks and probably notice nothing. And I heard phrases like, “It’ll be ok, he’s just crazy..” or “Stay strong!” UGH. I understand the desire to deescalate a situation for coping sake, but…I just can’t. This is horrible. So many people are really, really suffering. And as a Buddhist I know, that suffering begets suffering, and it affects us all.
Of course my students feel overwhelmed and in despair. There is no end in sight. It feels as though we are fighting not only an uphill battle, but one behind a giant steel wall! (sorry, that was just too real.) I try to tell myself to keep working, keep putting on a strong face for my students that I love, but on Wednesday I just couldn’t any longer. Recognizing when we need to take a moment to breathe is important, because the situation is both urgent and will be a long haul.
I ran 16 miles today, the most I have ever run. I felt great: there were thousands of people on the course today. Every few miles a group was giving away water and snacks. I ran the last half of the course with a new friend who teaches near my home in Boston. Not bad for a self-care Saturday.
When I got home, I looked at my training schedule. Almost half way through the 18 weeks before the big race day. Suddenly I felt anxious: The mileage only increases. I will need to carve out more time and need more strength to keep to my plan. I have to be efficient, make good food choices, and no matter what, not give up. There is no skipping a day, even in the rain, the snow, after eating too much cake.
Consider this time a marathon AND a sprint: the urgency is NOW, dammit. Shit already hit the fan and is now spreading around the room. I think my marathon training is symbolic of the work cut out for me and the people I look up to, leading the charge. We’ve got to contribute in every way possible and not skip a day. At the same time, we need to suck down that weird GU to stay fueled- take moments of rest to recharge. And there are others among us, at every step. Our paces may be different but we’re running toward the same place. I’m sustaining my energy off the communities I graciously get to find solace in, and take wisdom from. One foot in front of the other.
I don’t have any words of wisdom today, or even a “let’s be hopeful!” message, except that I know some pretty damn amazing people working their asses off and I’m lucky to call myself a fan/supporter/hopeful ally (NOT ally- working toward it). Revolutionary Love today, every day.