“Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Do not be afraid.”

– Frederick Buechner

Earlier in the year, I wrote this quote down on a piece of paper and kept it in a box beside my bed. I had just made a choice that I would find publications I trusted and start to follow the unrest occurring across the world. Prior to this, I had often turned away. The hurt I felt in my body when I read about how so many innocent people had to live, was deep.

The quote helped me to see that denial is not the answer. Acceptance is the key. Not acceptance as a tolerance of the wrongs; but an understanding that we cannot move forward without first acknowledging where we are – and how far off track we have strayed. The quote also reminded me that my fear would not help anybody. Fear fuels ignorance and poor decision-making.

Currently, our world is in pain. During these times, I often find it hard to see that there is any magic left on the planet. However, I think such disasters make us aware of the fragility of life. How we truly owe it to ourselves and all those who have suffered, to go out and have the best, most fulfilling experience we can. We need to make our personal happiness a goal that surmounts frivolous achievement. As we watch the news, we are reminded how pointless many of our daily worries are. How wasteful that energy is.

We experience the rise of numerous feelings. Fear at the uncertainty of the future. Guilt, for being safe in our beds with our loved ones, whilst others have not been so lucky. Most of all, complete helplessness.

But, in amongst the loss, magic does exist. Whilst there is hurt, hate and opinions, there is also an overwhelming expression of pure love and unity. Such terrible things have led many of us, even those who choose not to keep up with overseas conflict, to imagine a more peaceful planet.

And we should never underestimate the power of the collective. Our great minds have created worlds.

So, if you are feeling helpless, there is much you can do. Each time you feel fear rise up in your body, you can choose to acknowledge it, close your eyes and imagine the world you want to live in. We can also choose to love fiercely. Not just those affected all over the world. But those around us and most of all, ourselves.

A spiritual teacher once said that when a heart is smashed to pieces, only love remains. So during these terrible times, choose to let your heart be broken by what has happened. We should feel the pain deeply. We should not become numb to death and destruction. We should not turn away from our grief. This grief is there for a reason – it is our compass to a better way.

Lastly, we can choose to make our lives count in all possible ways. What little daily moments make us happy. What are our dreams. What gives our experience meaning and purpose. How can we give to our community. These things need to become the priorities in our life. They contribute powerfully to humanity.

“Don’t try to change the world, find something that you love and do it every day. Do that for the rest of your life. And eventually, the world will change.”

Sloane’s Song, by Macklemore and Ed Sheeran

Much love XX

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Hi, I’m Katie. I am a kiwi neuroscientist with a love for consuming and creating content. This site is where I share my personal thoughts and the thoughts of incredible minds from around the world. PhD in Neuroscience, University of Otago.

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