change,  goodness,  nature,  observations,  resilience

On Finding Goodness

Photo by Yota Schneider

It’s really a wonder that I haven’t dropped all my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart. I simply can’t build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery, and death. I see the world gradually being turned into a wilderness, I hear the ever approaching thunder, which will destroy us too, I can feel the sufferings of millions and yet if I look up into the heavens, I think that it will all come right, that this cruelty too will end, and that peace and tranquility will return again.

Anne Frank

Anne Frank wrote that, in spite of everything, at a time when her world was being destroyed. She was 14.

I’ve been thinking a lot about goodness lately. It has become exceedingly difficult to focus on goodness, given the tsunami of bad news and toxic culture assaulting us daily.

Racial tensions, inequality in the face of a pandemic, loss of life and livelihood, sheer malice and hatred …. there’s nothing I can add to the list that you don’t already know and experience. Every. Single. Day.

Yet, throughout history, it’s been hope and belief in something greater than ourselves, that has carried humanity onward.

I’ve found that there is always some beauty left-in nature, sunshine, freedom, in yourself; these can all help you. Look at these things, then you find yourself again, and God, and then you regain your balance.

Anne Frank

Every morning, I wake up early and come downstairs to sit for meditation. Lately, I’ve been sitting outside on the porch, listening to the birds announcing themselves to the world. They’re the perfect companions to my morning meditation.

It was during yesterday’s session that the idea of goodness began to take hold of my thoughts.

How can we rise above the darkness that has permeated our days and restore our faith in our innate goodness?

As I listened to the birds, I looked around at the pots filled with flowers and herbs slowly growing. There was a slight breeze and the scent of lilacs filled the air. Neal opened the door and the pup leaped my way and stretched, begging to be held. A fresh cup of coffee waited for me on the table. A new day had begun. I felt happy and content.

I’ve always found beauty and contentment in nature and the little things.

It’s during moments like this, when I feel at peace with myself and I rest in the beauty of nature, a meaningful conversation, a piece of music that touches me deeply, a poem, an act of kindness, my garden, the sound of flowing water, silence … that I become renewed.

And then, I can feel that goodness is indeed alive and if we can only hit pause before we strike back at what scares us or threatens us, maybe then, we can find a way to restore our world.

Seeing goodness does not mean that we ignore our challenges or deny the problems that are, after all, ours to solve. For me, it means that maybe we can get down to the business of problem solving with good will and caring.

What about you? What helps you feel renewed? Where do you find goodness in your daily life?

I invite you to share in the comments below. Let’s inspire and support one another. It’s how we affect change in our small corner of the world.

Yota works with women who are in the midst of personal and professional changes and milestones. Her approach is deeply influenced by her cultural roots, work and life experience, and her long-term practice of mindfulness meditation. In addition to her work with individual clients, Yota speaks and writes on mindful living, overcoming self-doubt, and the art of letting go.

6 Comments

  • Paul Ellis

    Goodness arrived this morning during a podcast prep call. It came in the form of language shared by practitioners of meditation and Sustainable Investing…a most mysterious word across eons of time bearing unfathomable depths of meaning – Mythology!
    A release from the burden of self-imposed time and limited meaning brought the sound of laughter into my throat from deep in my heart, and life is good๐Ÿ˜Ž

    • Yota Schneider

      Hi Paul,
      I love this! Thank you for sharing.
      Let’s not forget that when Pandora opened the box given to her by Zeus and every disease and misfortune flew out in the world, it was Hope that remained in the box asking to be released. I guess even the vengeful Zeus could not resist a little twist. So, he threw a rope in the sea of despair he unleashed.
      And so the dance continues ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Gloria Vaos

    Praying… always โ€œtalkingโ€ to the Almighty and going through my peculiar long wish list with him/her. I choose to believe that things eventually work for the good of us, no matter how screwed up they might be. I searched for inner peace and strength to be able to wait patiently until things turn around … and they always do. Is not always easy, to the contrary faith or spiritual fitness is a very exhausting โ€œsoulโ€ exercise. I just hope this time it will be the same as other challenging times and the awfulness of the moment will come to pass.

    • Yota Schneider

      Hi Gloria,
      Inner peace, strength, patience, hope, faith in something stronger and more noble than human motivations … just reading the words makes me feel better. Thank you for sharing how you strive to find goodness no matter what storm you’re trying to weather.
      Big hugs my friend.
      Breathing with you.

  • Natasha de Castro

    I was just having this experience yesterday where I woke up feeling anxious. I find no way to understand, make peace with, or digest the unreal levels of injustice that are being lived and exposed daily right now, and it feels like it has reached a new intensity that I am beginning to feel in a tightness of breathing. So I sat in bed, trying to write my way into the day, and realized somehow that I needed to be outside with plants and the earth. As i began to weed, to move plants from here to there and bring flowers into as many corners as possible, I began to feel the healing of caring. I found a Solomon’s Seal, that delicate native plant that grows so quietly in the shade of the woods, and it was trying to grow in the middle of the intense pachysandra rug. I cleared a space around it, and as I tended to it, I felt as if I was given a little light in my darkness. I saw that I need to come back to the earth, to care for little living beings- at this moment, I can find nothing I can do to save the world, but I think that if I can maintain a little light in myself, maybe when a moment finds me, when I can be of service, there can still be some “me” that can serve- some light I can share with others.
    Anyway, those are my thoughts on what has helped me feel renewed ๐Ÿ™‚

    oh and Trevor Noah- his recent comments have been absolutely brilliant…. comedians bring me hope with their intelligence and insights and at times the laughs they find are a good thing! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Yota Schneider

      Dear Natasha,
      Thank you for sharing your journey to finding your light in the midst of darkness. Ditto on the Trevor Noah comment, by the way ๐Ÿ™‚ He’s intelligent, honest, vulnerable, yet he completely owns who he is and I admire that. And yes, he’s so damn funny. I love him!
      I too feel sometimes so darn helpless and ineffective. And then, I take care of what is right in front of me. I tend my garden, my people, and whoever reaches out to me, and I feel that maybe, if I stay centered and sane, I’ll be able to hear the call when I’m needed.
      There many different ways to make a difference. I know that little plant is breathing a lot better today because of your efforts.
      Love and hugs to you always.

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