Outward Turmoil: an Invitation to Inward Change

Photo: Our grateful thanks to Marcos Paulo Prado on Unsplash!

by Dr. Connie Hernandez, ND

In the course of my (relatively) long life, I’ve witnessed no other time when people across the globe were presented with so many grave challenges.

Environmental upheavals, droughts, fires, floods, and storms.

And, of course, COVID.

In 2020-2021 our days have been dominated by unrelenting concern for understanding and adapting our response to the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

As of this writing, COVID had killed 2.6 million worldwide and disrupted the lives of many more millions.

Dr. Connie Hernandez, ND

To add to the landslide of outward calamities, our nation has been divided by political fanaticism and ideological differences.

Truth is more than ever difficult to discern, as fact and fiction blur in the media.

In summary: we’re living in highly disruptive and dangerous times.

What will be our response? Will we accept the famous dictum of Star Trek’s half-human, half-machine Borg: “Resistance is futile”?

We could reasonably say that the healthiest response would be to adapt and roll with the punches. But perhaps we can do even better.

The Serenity Prayer widely adopted by 12-step programs hints at the deeper spiritual meaning of these times:

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”  

Raising our awareness to the spiritual source of our existence, our focus shifts from lamenting the way things are, toward building something new and better.

Whenever we look for the divinely offered gift in challenging circumstances, we’re rewarded.  

Consider some positive effects of COVID. The pandemic has shifted our cultural norms and priorities, not always in bad ways:

  • Online platforms have expanded our opportunities in business and education.
  • They’ve also provided fresh opportunities for families and friends to connect.
  • We’ve replaced vacations with staycations, discovering the joys of taking time to be grateful for what we’ve got close to home.
  • Parents have had an unprecedented chance to spend more time with their children.
  • With the closure of restaurants, people who had never cooked have learned to prepare healthy meals.
  • Hours spent in mind- and nerve-frazzling commuting have been freed for introspection, spiritual pursuits, exercise, and service.
  • Savings accounts have expanded as we’ve weeded non-essentials from our lives.
  • People are re-evaluating who they are, who they want to be, and what they want to be doing. And that’s a good thing.

Whenever I’m tempted to stress over the pandemic or politics or world events, the “pearl in the oyster,” for me, has been the choice to turn away from the outer events I have no chance of changing, and direct my attention inward.

In the past I might have come home and turned on the news. Now I head for my meditation room.

I’m finding my twice-daily meditations to be a salvation.

I’m not recommending that we stick our heads in the sand. I would simply like to suggest that we take the opportunity to craft a lifestyle that will help us center ourselves and access our intuition, as an essential first step toward discerning what’s ours to do, and to do it.

The world today is looking more than ever like a blank slate. Our former reality is barely recognizable.

If we can summon the courage to embrace the future with our heart and mind, we can open ourselves to inner sources of inspiration and creativity that will help us not merely survive but create a better world.


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