Note:  This article was written following the week in which we in the U.S. witnessed the killing of two innocent black men by police officers followed by the vengeful killing of five police officers in Dallas on top of the ugliest political election in our history, and precipitous Brexit disrupting the European Union as we have known it.

Every day another unthinkable event happens, another individual or mass killing or the morphing of political identities and alliances as we see in the U.S. and Britain. Reality as we have known it is disintegrating. What can we do? What must I do?

These are the questions that rise to mind in the wake of two short heartbreaking weeks in which we have witnessed the killings of two more innocent black men followed by the gun-down of five police officers in the U.S.,  Brexit, and another horrific act of terrorism in France; two weeks engendering yet more grief, fear, sense of helplessness and despair amongst us all.

As a physician-healer, it is blindingly clear to me that we are facing perhaps the greatest crisis in 50 years. As a nation, we sense we are at a tipping point. If we seize the moment, we have not only the opportunity to create a new story but an opportunity for healing at individual, group, and collective levels.

As violence and chaos escalate, it is impossible not to see the time has come to seriously address the symptoms of sickness and underlying illness that have befallen our nation and much of the world. We all feel it; we all know it. That’s why it’s time to challenge ourselves to do something that is not more of what we know, but something we haven’t yet done. The time is ripe to set our selves on a new path.

Think about this: when you or I or any individual is seriously ill, manifesting increasingly severe symptoms of deterioration and fearing our ultimate demise, we do everything we can to seek healing and to restore health.

This is the situation we face now. As I read numerous articles and social media posts, it seems that no matter where we fall on the political spectrum, we are each experiencing grief over the epidemic of killings, disillusionment in our political systems, and fears of further unprecedented socio-political disruptions.

While politics occasionally delivers empowerment and hope, most often it does not. And while we need to continue to strive to make our political systems better, the answer is not in our politics. The nature of politics and governance is more based in pragmatism than empowerment.

The answer to our fear, grief, frustration and confusion lies in understanding the nature of healing, and then thinking strategically about how we can accomplish that. Healing is always possible, even if sometimes that means healing into death. While metaphorically it is clear that that which is old and rotten must go in order for something new and healthy to grow, I don’t believe it is time for the U.S. to die.

In the same way that the bacterial infection of an abscess can be incredibly dangerous if it spreads to surrounding tissues and organs and becomes life-threatening if it spreads systemically through the body, so has the abscess of racism, classism, and exclusionary politics reached the point of poisoning our society.

Healing by definition means the body or entity has regained integrity and coherence. The parts work together and are able to maintain a state of equilibrium. Equilibrium allows for a range of well-being within which we fluctuate. Once we get outside that range, however, sickness and illness occur. This is what we are seeing now – the coming apart of the social fabric itself of our societies and our nations. This is where healing can occur.

Like it or not, we are one human species sharing the resources of our planet. Yet, the re-weaving of the whole will only come from each of us healing our selves individually. We must each seek to bring our personal operating selves – which are often fearful, reactive and defensive – back into communication with our essential nature, that part of us beyond personality where true knowing, caring and right action live.

When I recognize and become present to my essential nature, only then do I have the possibility of seeing the Other, not as Other, but as connected to me. That ultimately my well-being is dependent on your well-being, as self-sufficient and independent as I may be or like to think I am.

No one wins unless we all win. If we recognize that, we can come back into conversation with each other. This muscle of respectful productive conversation is one we must continue to consciously work and to grow: learning how to dialogue, where we go into the conversation agreeing to listen; slowing down enough to be aware of and acknowledge our deeper feelings as well as witness our assumptions and judgments; and then being willing to be present and disclosing of all that, seeing each other as colleagues in a process of learning. Only then will we find new ways to come together to solve problems.

So we have to have the courage to “show up” fully and be Present – to ourselves, to each other, to the divine spark of life and love that we all seek to have and to be, as buried as it is at times, in our heart of hearts.

True courage doesn’t feel like courage. It appears as and feels like a choice-less choice, the only way forward. If we want to survive and thrive, collectively we now face a choice-less choice, which is to get Present on the path to healing.

This is what we must do. And it is also what each of us can do. Understanding how I need to heal is the path to my essential nature where I am inspired to engage in action with others that can alleviate suffering and facilitate healing, not only in myself, but in others, in the world and for the planet.

Whatever your way is, do it. Whatever your station in life, tell your story. Make art, educate, do humanitarian work, take action for healing of the environment. Find your way. Whether you work with your hands or your mind, use your skills to help make the whole healthy again.

This is what we can and must do. The acceleration and prevalence of the profound disruption we are witnessing are the symptoms of an old order breaking down. The time has come for each of us to get to work to create a new reality.

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Be in Gratitude

by Manya on May 31, 2016

Gratitude Prayer

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Today, I am so grateful for my life.

I have a wonderful life.  I am healthy and getting stronger every day living in this mountain climate where I get to walk through a beautiful city that sits in a basin of the Andes Mountains.  I am deeply loved by my husband and soulmate, dear old and new friends, and my family.  I live in a beautiful country with lots to explore and see.  I have a deepening circle of sisters with whom I can share my heart, mind, and soul.  I have enough money to be comfortable and do the things I want to.  I am learning and creating.

How can it get better this?

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What are you grateful for?  How can it get better than that?

What would the world be like if we practiced living in gratitude for all that is?

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Six Reasons Moving to Ecuador (or any developing country) Could Lengthen Your Life

November 4, 2014

“Why would you want to live in a third world country?”  was a question I heard often, both before and after I moved to Ecuador.  [The question of whether Ecuador is a third world country or actually a developing country shall remain an academic question here but you know my bias.] Ask most expats their […]

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Getting a Life In Ecuador

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It’s happening. I want to say finally but that’s my impatience chiming in.  It’s taken 14 months of being in our adopted country, Ecuador, to feel like I am beginning to have a new life.  And I am very thankful. The first six months, I didn’t care about getting a life.  I just wanted to […]

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Two Tools For Your Psychic Emergency Preparedness Kit

August 8, 2014

While this post is not explicitly about Ecuador, it is definitely related to being “awake” in the Andes…..so what do you do when the shit hits the fan, you feel like crap, and you wonder if, finally, you really have screwed up your life? I know some people are simply immune to this depressive, neurotic, […]

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Enjoying the Theatre of Life in Ecuador, Part I

April 23, 2014

One of the gifts of being in your 60’s – if you haven’t attained it earlier in life – is being able to see your personality and laugh at it.  Perhaps it’s that we finally stop pretending to be who we’re not and at the same time we have finally learned the ways in which […]

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Full-Hearted Living in Ecuador

March 8, 2014

Living in a culture that is new to you compels a grateful heart, which is one, if not the, key  to happiness and abundance.  I think this is one of the secrets as to why so many ex-pats love living here. I have rediscovered – as I think I first did when I moved to […]

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A Simpler, Easier Life in Ecuador

February 17, 2014

Seven months into our new life in Ecuador, I am so appreciative of how much simpler and easier life has become.  Only in retrospect do I realize just how stressful my/our life had become before we moved, stress that had been slowly accumulating over the previous few years. Yes, there was a job loss that […]

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Can Your Marriage Survive Expatriating?

February 4, 2014

Can Your Marriage Survive Expatriating?   Expatriating is the ultimate test of a marriage.  Hands down, it could be the hardest, most stressful, strain-producing experience the two of you will ever go through. The true gift of this great adventure is that it offers an opportunity for transformation.  But, like birth itself – while glorious […]

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Don’t Worry About Your Purpose, Find A Path

November 12, 2013

You want to take a mountain hike, and fortunately there’s a trail map showing you several options.  Which do you take?   There are always two ways to journey.  One is to have a destination and choose a path that will take you there.  Or you can simply meander in a less purposeful way, enjoying […]

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