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Saturday, July 23, 2011

In spiritual shadow: Seeking answers and my struggle with hope...the famine in East Africa.

This week I’ve sat in spiritual shadow.  My typical day usually starts with a cloaking of positive affirmations.  Mostly self love and self-empowerment as I aim to reach my fullest potential  and nurture self sustainable happiness. Most days I’m amazed by the real power of positive thought, projection and reflection.  But the escalating awareness of the East Africa famine has altogether placed me in a funk.  My sorrow is deep and as equally isolating is my inability to manifest solution.  One media outlet has recognized the famine,  as of present,  “The World’s Worst Humanitarian Emergency.”  I guess what  I’m trying to say is that I’ve come to a crossroads as to my own ability to emotionally, spiritually & existentially come to grips with such catastrophic humanitarian devastation.  I’m heavy laden in a fugue of disbelief, tremendous sadness, helplessness and hopelessness.  Everyday, I help to bring new life into the world. It’s virtually impossible for me to conceptualize the loss of life of tens of thousands of newborns, infants and children from dehydration and starvation.  I’ve donated hundreds and yet I feel like that modest contribution is but a grain of sand against a vast desolate desert.  So many have already perished.  Of course I’ve contemplated the option of joining  Doctors Without Borders, OXFAM, Unicef etc.  But like many,  I have the commitment of a job and inflexible financial obligations that just aren’t sympathetic nor acutely amenable to my desire to “click my heels three times” and arrive in the Dadaab refugee camp.  I truly respect, admire and give honor to the countless  international aid workers who sacrifice other "traditionally recognized" higher standards of living to work within some of the most  bleak, barren  and  brutal conditions on the globe. 

Without question I find myself perseverating in a cerebral and emotional pool of privileged guilt, powerlessness and earnest spiritual disorientation.  In less dramatic circumstances, I would have simply professed : “hope is enough, love is enough, compassion is enough, positivity  is enough.”  Yet, with each moment that I type, countless suffer and many more die.  It’s just not enough…

As devastatingly crippling as the mass loss of life has been my fruitless quest to try and understand why.   Some culturally responsible reading has helped me to understand certain aspects of the political and eco-agricultural complexities behind the famine.  But that by no means helps to find peace with millions of infants, children, women and men at risk of dying from something as universally available and taken for granted as food and water.  I struggle to hold on to hope.   At the end of the day, like all tragic events in history, countless lives will be forgotten and life will move forward. How is that acceptable, comprehensible and personally negotiable? What’s worse is that I’m here - thousands of miles away - so unfathomably un-contributory to a real answer and solution.

Despite my struggle with strained optimism, my promise to the "collective will of humanity" is to continue praying, continue caring and to maintain a voice of awareness. 

Amidst sorrow and what looms as unsurmountable circumstances,  I do understand that to "give up hope" is just the same as giving up.  And when I lay down to rest at night, and awake embracing a new day...the heart of me knows  that "giving up" is simply not acceptable.


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