Many of us find it difficult to accept and trust what we’re seeing, feeling, sensing around climate change and the other the big issues of our time. We lack solid self-support systems and can’t easily trust ourselves. We feel vulnerable and at the mercy of large world forces. We may be concerned about climate change and it keeps us up at night. Or we’re drawn into partisan conflicts that are unsettling.
We feel that if we step outside the circle of peer expectation there’ll be no one there for us. We’ll be hung out to dry. We fear we’ll be alone with all our bridges burned. The traditional supports with steady jobs and religion based in the community are no longer there to support us.
We lack a solid self-support system. By a solid self-support system I mean the inner and outer supports that tell us that, at least for now, we’re in a friendly world where we’re welcome just as we are.
Support doesn’t mean co-dependence, that someone else will do it for us. I mean self-care that includes trusted others, on our wavelength as part of our lives. I feel a hunger for this in people I speak with. I feel it myself. Doesn’t everyone have a deep need to be welcomed and acknowledged, seen for what they’re bringing?
The art of the future is the deep welcome. It’s the self-care that extends to the part of us that feels unwelcome and not wanted in the moment, that feels blamed for what’s not working. The opposite of welcome is shutting the door in our own or another’s face saying you’re not what I wanted. You’re not important. You’re not worth it. That’s the voice we fear we’ll hear if we really show up.
What we really want is the deepest of welcomes. We want a welcome too for the part of us that wants to make the world a better place while we can, our dreams. What we usually do, settling for less, doesn’t work. Settling for less might take the form of resistance (saying yes but demonstrating no in our actions), or resignation (giving up and plodding through), or rebellion. I mean rebellion in the sense of being against something and not for; I don’t mean Extinction Rebellion which I see as pro-active activism.
The deep welcome, our place in the world, is claimed, not given. But we can’t claim it sitting on a meditation cushion. It’s in relationship in the everyday world where we practice the art of deep welcome.
This deep welcome, this self-care is a primary political act. Activism is important, but to the extent it lacks the spiritual base it’s ineffective. The self’s real nature IS deep welcome anyway. It wants, we want, to take in the world and contribute. We want to live and be a part of it.
This deep welcome is something we open to gradually. At first it’s an intellectual idea that we may like a little or a lot but still aren’t practiced in. We don’t know how. (I’m not speaking of meditation and personal practices that are important but not enough in my opinion, not the firehose that is available to us now.) Secondly it looks like welcome groups with respectful conversation, honest as we can stand – and a lot of listening. Third is Presencing Practice, a moment to moment welcoming of what’s coming up. Presencing Practice carries on into our daily lives.
The core understanding is the felt knowing that it really is safe to be ourselves, even that we don’t have to do anything but be ourselves and live our lives, and that we’re deeply welcomed and held as we do so.