Written by MJ Ryan, SheEO Development Guide
via Instagram @iburobin
As I write, Russia is still attacking the Ukraine, raining down terror and creating suffering and chaos. In response, many people around the world have been posting messages in social media. One post in particular, reposted by New Zealand SheEO activator Joanne Rama, praying for the midwives in the Ukraine, particularly caught my attention. It’s from a person named Robin Lim.
Take a look at the above image first.
What is this? A Motanka doll. “The Motanka doll, a symbol of fertility, is one of the most ancient guardians of Ukrainian homes,” writes Robin. “She is faceless, to let small children develop their imagination. Ukrainians believe that these dolls would take away illness from children. It was also believed that Motanka protects the house from evil spirits and ghosts.”
A faceless protector to develop imagination. Seems like something we could all use right now. The imagination to envision a world free from the oppression of all peoples everywhere. The imagination to hold the paradox of terrible suffering and our ability to create peace in our hearts and in the world.
For of course, what is happening in the Ukraine is only one place where suffering from violence is occurring. There is also shelling in Myanmar, civil war in Somalia, deaths of black and brown folks on U.S. streets. The violence of human-made climate change causing terrible flooding in Eastern Australia. And so much more.
How do we turn towards the suffering in the world without it consuming us, so we not fall into despair but move into healing action? These are profound questions we must live into, together.
An excerpt from On Being by poet Pádraig Ó Tuama speaks to my wish for all of us: “[W]e wish for peace, and the capacity for the long view of time to be adopted by those in positions of power: that the frenzy of war and aggression could be reduced, sparing lives, giving opportunities for alternatives.
“And in all the changes you are navigating—the major ones and the minor ones—we wish you richness of time, relationship and imagination, knowing that these will enrich the changes you are working hard to see.”