Finding Stable Ground through the Rising Tide

When are these colonies gonna rise up?” — — Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton

Whether we look at the situation in Jerusalem at the al-Aqsa Mosque/Temple Mount, the war in Ukraine, the elections in France and Slovenia, the on-going injustices in Afghanistan, the ever-widening racial, political and gender divide in the United States, or even the growing gang-violence right here on the apparently peaceful island of Bermuda, I’ve been feeling a seething and rising tide of rage bubbling up. And it’s not just on one side. It’s all around. Colonists vs. colonies, Right vs Left, Poor vs Rich, White vs. Black, Muslim vs. Christian vs. Jew.

In some places like Ukraine and Jerusalem, the rising is far less “rising” than it is flooding, and actively killing people, communities, environments, and cultures. Unfortunately for me, as an empath, this external rage creeps into me and I feel it everywhere I go. Even listening to or reading the news hits me like a cold ocean wave, and I’m triggered into a state of frozen panic, as the undertow of uncertainty, sadness and a desire to “fix things” even if I know I can’t pull me down. Because, it’s in my nature to try to make the best of things. It’s how I’ve survived. Even while dealing with cancer, I wanted to make things better for everyone else who was worried about me. And ultimately, it’s why I left New York. I couldn’t “fix it”, even by running for office, or making sizeable contributions to causes that promised to do so.

Rising Up was a theme that really grabbed onto me not just with the arrival of the revolutionary rap musical Hamilton, but with Elizabeth Acevedo’s iconic capturing of the feeling of the majority of women, minorities and LBTQIA+ in the United States when Hillary lost the election in 2016.

But it wasn’t until Covid that the rising tide on the subways, in the streets, and all around me: in the cardboard homeless beds piling up on the sidewalks and avenues alongside the outdoor restaurants desperately trying to stay in business as the virus spread further and further became too much for me to mentally handle. And I thought I could find dry ground and sanity to recharge some place “safe and boring” like Bermuda.

The truth I’ve discovered, however, is that finding and raising “stable or dry ground” between the walls of water to the left, to the right and all around, is a state of mind. It’s a determination to stay true to yourself, your values and determination no matter how high the tide around you rises. You can’t control the tide; But You Can control yourself and your response to the tide.

So, this week, year and those to come, I hope you can find the stable, dry ground within yourself and remain true to you and your path.

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