The world is pretty chaotic these days: political turbulence, hate crimes, pollution, economic unsteadiness. Some days it feels like the ground is slipping out from under our feet even as we try to walk forward - or just stand still.
How can we find stability in times like this? What is there to hold onto?
Folks in my grandparents' generation would have told us to turn to religion (Christianity, in my family's case). People did that during the Great Depression, and even more vigorously way back during the chaotic times of the European Middle Ages (plague, anyone?). But these days, people are leaving organized religion in droves because it no longer helps them, no longer supports their values.
So what else is there? What if you're not religious, or spiritual, or anything like that? What is there to hold onto?
For me, there are two constants: nature and the ancestors. A spiritual bent is not required for either of these, though of course they can also be powerful components of a personal spiritual practice (that's the case for me).
Nature. Life will find a way, as Michael Crichton wrote. The dingiest, most concrete-ridden city still has dandelions forcing their way up through the cracks in the sidewalk. Yes, we're doing a pretty good job of denting nature right now, what with pollution and bee die-offs and endangered species. But I promise you, on a global scale, nature is bigger than we are. The Earth will survive (whether or not we do is probably up to us).
So hang onto nature, whether you live in an urban, suburban, or rural environment. Look up at the sky. Watch the weather (it's far more than just a list of numbers on a phone app). Pay attention to your local wildlife, whether that's deer or birds or squirrels or whatever. Touch the soil. Go to a park. This is all the Earth, way bigger than all of us put together, with its (her) own cycles and powers.
The Ancestors. My ancestors are a big part of my spiritual practice. But you don't have to be spiritual to recognize that your ancestors got you to where you are now. Hold onto them. They survived far worse times than you'll probably ever go through. You don't even have to know exactly who they were. They're in your blood and in your bones, literally.
Every time you look in the mirror, your ancestors are looking back out at you. They're the ones on whose shoulders you stand. You're here because they survived. Their strength is your strength, all the way back to the very first human.
So hang onto these things, nature and the ancestors. Let them give you strength. Let them be a firm foundation for moving forward, no matter how shaky everything else may be.
You got this.