OKAY, OK?

by lisa st john

“Fear keeps us focused on the past or worried about the future.

If we can acknowledge our fear, we can realize that right now we are okay.

Right now, today, we are still alive, and our bodies are working marvelously.

Our eyes can still see the beautiful sky.

Our ears can still hear the voices of our loved ones.” –Thich Nhat Hanh

 

O.K. was born, then grew up to be okay.

There’s been a few times in my life when I heard something and–despite all the turmoil and fear and shitty things going on in the world–I knew that everything was going to be okay. I knew that good, true life was all around if I chose to see it. Here are a few examples.

 

 

After a class discussion on the relevance of A Handmaid’s Tale
Distraught looking white female student about to leave…
     Me: “Hey, are you okay?”
Student: “I…I think I just realized that I’m a minority.”
Sad looking white male student after hearing how often girls in the class have been catcalled …
     Student: “I am so sorry. I’m sorry. I never knew how bad it was for all of you out there. I never      knew.”

After walking into the ocean for the first time after Kent died

crying… “I’m still here. The ocean is always here, always, alive.”

 

 

 

The best examples of hearing the okay-ness of the world have come from my beautiful son. Happy Birthday, Little Bear.

 

During a National Geographic video
MOM… how can people look at giraffes and not believe in evolution?” (age: 6-ish)

After school
“Mom! You’re not gonna believe this poet I just found out about in English class today.”
Me: “Honey, I’m an English teacher myself I think I know….”
“Trust me mom, you don’t know THIS guy. His name is Charles Bukowski!” (age: high school)

During a guided viewing of the Robert de Niro & Kenneth Branagh Frankenstein film (because we all know who the real monster is)
Deep sigh, hands thrown in the air, head rolling back against couch…
Me: “What’s wrong? Is it getting too scary?”
Eye roll…
“NO! But, but NOW who am I supposed to feel sorry for?” (age: 8-ish)

During a visit to Detroit for the Women’s Convention
“Mom, we’ve got something to tell you. I’m going to be a father.”

 

O.K.

Okay,

OKAY?

How about some joy?           How about some deep, soulful joy?

 

One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Soul on deck shines like gold in dark times. The light of the soul throws sparks, can send up flares, builds signal fires, causes proper matters to catch fire. To display the lantern of soul in shadowy times like these — to be fierce and to show mercy toward others; both are acts of immense bravery and greatest necessity. Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it. If you would help to calm the tumult, this is one of the strongest things you can do. –Pinkola Estes

 

Okay?

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