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Gratitude, grief, and California wildfires

Updated: May 24




Since the wildfires in Northern California started 2 weeks ago, most days when I drive down the hill from our mountain home and see the place where I have lived my whole life covered in a blanket of heavy smoke, I cry. I cry because of the grief and anger I feel for the people who died, for the people who have lost everything, for the plants, for the animals, for our lungs, and for all the ways we are hurting the earth. I cry also because I am filled with so, so much gratitude and love for everything that I do have -- my health, my loved ones, my home, our planet. I cry because I feel fear that at any moment, we could all lose everything.


It struck me as both beautiful and paradoxical that I could feel the intensity of all of these emotions --grief, anger, fear, gratitude, love -- in the same breath. I didn’t connect it at the time, but this is exactly the path of the tantra yogi and yogini -- to exist in the paradox. The teaching of tantra yoga is that paradox is the only spiritual truth. The path of the tantra yogi and yogini is to consider the following:


How can we feel pain, grief, and anger, and also feel joy, love, and gratitude?

How can we feel hopeless and fearful, and also stay hopeful and optimistic?

How can we love deeply, and also acknowledge that everyone and everything we love is impermanent?

How can we live fully, and also acknowledge that we will eventually die?

How can we know the darkness, and also know the light?


I don’t know the answers, but I am willing and devoted to live in the question.


With love,

Hana