There's always good news hidden amongst the bad.
By the looks of things, there are some good things happening (for some of us). In the US, the CDC has issued a statement that vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks in public. In the northeast, Spring really does seem to finally have arrived with warmer weather, flowers blooming profusely and a long winter finally behind us.
But there are also many events in the world where suffering, disparity and isolation continue to increase. The virus is still raging, inequity is still rampant, the climate conditions continue to worsen - along with many "smaller" issues still unresolved or worsening.
Do we dare to be lighthearted in the face of the many sobering facts that confront us every day?
Wouldn't that attitude be unrealistic? Pollyanna-ish? Head-in-the-sand?
I say NO! To be lighthearted doesn't mean we are dismissive.
It doesn't mean we don't care, and for many of us, care deeply.
It doesn't mean we don't believe problems exist or can't be fixed.
And it doesn't mean we turn our heads away only to focus on what is pretty or nice or harmless.
It DOES mean that we can come from a place within us that is free from being serious, anxious, worried or afraid. Who can think clearly and creativity when submerged in those dark waters?
It does mean we can take action from love and compassion.
It does mean we can keep our eyes open for new possibilities, new solutions - even if the problems are age-old and entrenched.
And it does mean we are capable of doing our part, however large or small it is.
When I lived in New York City years ago there were PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) representatives that frequently took over the corner across the street from me with their signs and their shouts decrying the terrible treatment of animals.
Now, I'm an animal lover and I care deeply about all animals but I could barely stand to look or listen to what they were shouting about, I would have to cross the street because what they were exposing was so difficult to bear.
And of course there are many, many issues which are truly horrible and inhuman, yet they continue.
If we only focus on the darkness, we could spend our lives only seeing what hurts us all - humans, animals, the planet - and end up curled in a fetal position under our beds.
But if we're willing to focus on the light - the goodness, the possibilities, the creativity that's possible in every situation to make them better, then something new can come out of what we see.
As I see it, to be lighthearted is to be filled with light. Some people who are lighthearted call themselves lightworkers, carrying hope and compassion to the world. It's doesn't have to be some esoteric label since it's actually a very practical, down-to-earth calling.
We help where we can, because we know we're all in this together. Beneath all the competition, greed, anger and loneliness, we all want the same things: to be happy, to love, to have enough.
It's easy to forget we live in a world of possibility when so many impossibilities have been imposed.
So it's vital that we remember what our essence, our true nature holds within it. We are inherently creative, so wherever there is a problem to be solved, a challenge to be faced, we have within ourselves the capacity to look at it directly, fully present, and have solutions occur to us.
And when we see the first glimmers of those "solutions," we can be absolutely certain that the Universe (or God, or whatever you want to call it) will continue to support us as we follow the breadcrumbs to bring those solutions into reality.