What is the delicate dance that exists between holding this reality in our hearts and minds and leaving room for the light of hope? Hope is a four letter word. Because to have it is hard. Especially when the world around us is scary, crumbling, broken, fragile. The more we know, the harder it is to maintain that grasp on it. 

In moments when I feel darkness creeping in, when I’m exhausted and I can’t escape the negative thoughts crowding my brain, I always start by thanking God, the universe, whatever you call the mysterious energy that gave us life, for all of it: the negativity, the difficulty, the pain and the beauty.

I got a tattoo a few weeks ago that I’ve been designing for a long time. The feather represents the stories of my heritage; inside the feather are the symbols of a Panamanian star, a Marshallese star, and an Argentinian sun. There are a lot of painful stories here, as well as joyous ones, and the significance of the birds is that when we allow ourselves to feel and acknowledge all of it, the craziness of this dichotomous life, we can release pain and turn it into creative freedom.

The very concept of being thankful for life’s polarities, allowing that gratitude to release stagnant pain and release it into creative flight gives us the strength to see the world from a heightened perspective, thereby gaining the ability to shift the shape our lives are taking. I have seen this work in my life in a number of personal ways, and this tattoo is a constant reminder that suffering can give rise to creative expression, solutions and vision.

What is it we need to do right now? I’m sure some of us are being called to write, to make scientific discoveries, to slow down, to consume less, to come up with sustainable solutions, to cherish connections with loved ones, to feel a little deeper..whatever it is don’t let the fear and depression stagnate you.. feel it to the depths of your core and then release.