The images and headlines, the constant breaking news about the war in Ukraine, become more tragic every day. Even the words, "War in Ukraine" remain unbelievable to me. Yet the faces of hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian refugees crammed into trains – waiting hours to cross borders to safety – of children crying and parents carrying bags of hastily-gathered belongings, is heartbreakingly real.
Drew and I feel particularly close to the situation because we lived in Russia for seven years, when he was Head of School at the Anglo-American School of Moscow, and I was a teacher. We became close friends with Russians who worked at the school. Sergei taught me how to drive in chaotic Moscow traffic; Zhenya and Matvey hosted us at their datcha; Natasha shared beautiful plants from her garden. We think of them now, knowing that the sanctions are impacting their lives, at no fault of their own. As Putin carries out his unprovoked and unspeakably inhumane invasion, people on both sides needlessly suffer.
We search for ways to help, where/what to donate, how to make a difference. The outpouring of worldwide support to Ukraine is heartening, and we join those tangible efforts. But, on a daily basis, I ask myself, "What can I do?" "How can I be a part of the peace, not the anger?" One more angry person is the last thing the world needs right now.
So I do the one thing that I always do when peace is illusive in my personal life or outside my window. I walk a labyrinth – a meditative walking path – where I slow my pace, my breathing, and simply put one foot in front of the other. I've walked the nearby labyrinth at Hendrix College several times since the Russian invasion, and each time find a bit more peaceful energy renewed. I stand in the center and send that energy to both Ukranians and Russians.
This week I received an email from Ellen Bintz Meuch, a fellow Labyrinth Facilitator and founder of The Global Healing Response. Her email contained a meditation that can be used when walking a labyrinth, with specific intention to send peaceful energy around the Ukrainian/Russian situation. I've copied it below and highly recommend it as a tool for personal and global peace in the days ahead.
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In the absence of either, the meditation can be used in the quiet of your own home as you direct peaceful energy to yourself and others.
Peace be with us all.
Global Healing Response for Ukraine/Russia Invasion
by Ellen Bintz Meuch
My intention for this labyrinth walk is to feel the coherent energy of my own heart, then send that coherent energy to world leaders and those in the conflict in Russia and the Ukraine.
(something you can read to yourself, prior to saying and walking with your intention).
I fully release and let go of those things I cannot change. I let go of my fear of my own challenging world and that of the outside world.
I breathe into my heart; I exhale from my heart.
Let me begin my labyrinth walk with untying my own knots of chaos.
I breath into my heart; I exhale from my heart.
I begin to feel the heart center opening.
Turmoil and conflict undo the world beyond my world. When I take a breath into my heart center, I steady my own energy, my own world.
When I breath into my heart I feed my spirit with the sustainer of life, the breath.
When I exhale from the heart, I am able to direct the gift of heart energy to anyone, anywhere.
I know this to be true.
I am grateful for this practice as I know I am full of generous potential, and capable of sharing it with others.
I open my heart wide proclaiming myself as a resource for humanity.
I begin walking my labyrinth, centered, unburdened, and connected to all.
We connect as One, when we share our heart’s coherent energy.