Civil rights, the economy, war – the media and the government pushing fear and anger and anxiety. We are surrounded by heavy, tiring weight from the first morning scroll through our feeds to the seconds before bed as we put down the news. There is a misconception, I believe, that if we aren’t personally aware at all times – if we let ourselves fall ignorant for a moment, even – that the world as we know it will come crashing down along with our rights, freedoms, and personal well-being. And yet, as we stay endlessly up-to-date while scrolling or staring at a screen, don’t we already feel exhausted and sick to our stomachs?
It is important, I believe, to live by a set of values – and I fully agree that we must all stand up and speak out when those values are challenged. Our culture, in fact, is defined by what you or I decide to work toward and protect. But we are human beings, lovely and beautiful and broken. We are not machines. One cannot expect to be fully aware, precise, and proactive at all times and not burn out. We are built and designed to need rest – and how wonderful – for that means we are built and designed to need each other. For the advancement of our community you are encouraged, every so often, to release your grip. You are not required, by anyone or by anything to hold all of the world’s weight on your own. Just as someone cannot truly give unconditional love until they learn to love themselves, you cannot continue to offer anything to your endeavors without allowing yourself time to breathe, rest, and recharge.
Now I do recognize that I have been afforded certain rights that others have had to fight for simply because of my gender and skin color, and I in no way mean to trivialize the struggle that continues every day. But I do stand with and beside all who have a goal and a determination to live in a more kind, compassionate, educated, open-minded world. We are not two or four or a handful, we are millions – and just like a chorus chanting a song of hope or an orchestra playing one grand symphony for peace, we are all allowed to take a breath, to put down the weight for a moment and trust our fellow players to seamlessly carry forward. We do this with the steady knowledge that we shall give the same when they too need air. A true team, indeed, does not require all of the players to be on the field at once.
So be gentle with yourselves, and be kind. Remember that our ultimate goal in some realistic and non-utopian sense is a kinder, more open world – and that in order for us to work toward such an idea we must first find it within ourselves. All we hear and see and are bombarded with lately may feel insane, but we ourselves don’t need to feel as such. We are allowed to take breaths, so please take one. Give me your weight, give it to your friends and rest, and offer to hold theirs when they need it. Eat well, sleep well, exercise, read, and research. Keep your mind and your body healthy – for you and I, my friends, we will be the warriors of peace.
Michael F. DuBois is a writer, filmmaker and artist living on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. He has a deep love for the ocean and is interested in stories of peace, introspection and personal growth.