Hope we can continue together!!
Friends...just as I was about to notify you of today's post, I found I'd inadvertently deleted my document with all the subscriptions on it. Yikes!! Please if you'd like to keep being notified of my blog posts, just send me a note either here in comments or by way of email. Thanks so much for being one of my beloved readers!!
Hope we can continue together!!
“To speak of sorrow works upon it. . .
Moves it from its crouched place…” ~Denise Levertov
OK, I’m exposing myself here in more ways than one. After not writing for months, now I’m pulled to write consecutive blogs close together…what’s up with
that?? Will you take the time to read them?
What I feel to be true is that this outflow is, in part, an example of the nature of allowing one’s self to be in the deeps…the abyss…the gallows of dismemberment which I seem to have been in for months now. If we surrender to such a descent and give ourselves over to its rugged ways, one day moments of insight may begin to bubble up from the muck and mire at the bottom of the abyss. It is a sign that there is life down there…biological activity under all that goo creates bubbles of inspiration and they often contain something of wisdom.
I so appreciated those of you who wrote to me in response to my last blog called “Facing Extinction”. The conversation itself is fascinating as I learn how different ones of us are wrestling with their experience of the times we are in, but it is also serving to provoke in me a more tenacious pull into the inquiry. How do we face this time and remain heartful, kind and a viable asset to the world?? Certainly this is not the first time that humans have struggled mightily in response to a certainty that their world would soon “end”. One could argue the facts of what is true around the sense that so many of us have that we are in a dire situation on so many fronts but perhaps what is more important is the fact that so many of us sense something and many are being effected in dramatic ways by this.
Something is going on here.
First I want to suggest that we admit that there is a swell of people falling into depression, despair, anxiety, PTSD affects, sadness, reactionary anger, victimhood, etc. Just noting this has me want to point to the good news that our intuitions and instincts are working AND perhaps there is even a teaching here about our connectedness!! Isn’t it clear that we are all tuning into something…whether we follow the news or not, we sense something in the field. THIS is important. This is a sense we carry that is utterly valuable and perhaps a lifeline. Is Grandmother Spider is at work, casting her numinous web with stronger fibers in order to link us together in this time?
Secondly I’d like to offer a hypothesis of the heart here. While I, for one, am in constant prayer and questioning about what my part of the solution is and am ever faithful to the longing to be a change maker in the world, I want to note that for some people this happens more on the inside. Some do not have gifts for being on the front line of action in the physical realm, but DO have gifts alive and active and influential in the inner worlds. All are important! But let me propose here that there is some inner work that I believe is essential and absolutely being called for as a part of the healing necessary right now. I believe it is safe to say that every single one of us is feeling some kind of response to the world right now, with the climate in chaos, many species going extinct every day, the political bullying, and the diaspora of so many peoples from their homelands and so much more. Each of us responds differently from different rooms of our emotions, or at least expends energy to suppress the natural emotional response that wants to arise.
My friends, these emotions are rising to the surface for a reason!! Like the bubbles from the deep, they need to be aired and witnessed. By this I do not mean that we all need to become a bubbling, boiling mass of overheated expression, though that may be true for some and if you can do that without harm to others, fantastic!
Moreover what I am suggesting here is this. Who hasn’t, when quieting yourself to feel an emotion inside, felt the child self inside connected to the emotion? Our emotions were birthed when we were infants and fetuses, and it is safe to say that nearly every one of us was not tended with as much spaciousness, tenderness, and care as would have been ideal when we had the so many feelings that we had as children. Most of us had feelings at times that were met with hushing, ridicule, impatience, temper, ignoring, abuse, criticism, threat or shunning or all of the above.
How many of us have taken on any of those practices in our response to our own feelings as adults?
Can you feel the pain of this? The pain of the child within?
Whatever the causes…and there are many, our emotions are rising, even if by way of a falling into suppression and depression. Many of us are avoiding them when they threaten to overcome us…to be too big, too debilitating. So many are turning to medications to avoid them or escapism by way of a multitude of addictions.
What if the call at this time is to take the time and the tenderness of heart to be with the heart of the matter inside of YOU? What if what is being asked of each of us is to be a loving parent to the little one inside that is likely terrified by the state of the world? Or who is in despair for the inevitable loss of places and creatures in nature that were our friends and safe haven as children? Or who is traumatized by the threats of the world that are somehow triggers for how we were treated as children?
We MUST tend the children inside.
Yes, even if you are a parent to children that you care for daily, we must take the time to tend, love, calm and listen to the ones who are terrified inside.
Imagine if we all did this for ourselves? How then would we be with each other on the political stage, on the street, in our relationships, in our schools and simply at the market?
The work starts within. Period.
What we see around us exists within.
Inside we have ecosystems falling out of balance, we have shunned immigrating feelings, we have separated our inner children from their inner parents, the rivers of our grief are damned and polluted, we have bullies threatening the innocent ones, we have good ideas stomped upon, and extinction is upon us…aspects of ourselves that will never live again. Can we turn within to this vital world and tend it with the care of a Mother? Can we open our arms and hearts to hold the hurting ones? be present to hear all the feelings with love? make the small things important and every feeling matter?
What if…WHAT if this is where all the healing begins?
Within our Earthen Bodies and Hearts?
”On the last day of the world, I would want to plant a tree.” ~W.S. Merwin
The owl’s breath moves in my lungs…her strange voice cloaks my throat. A feather lands before me on my path. I feel her near even in daylight.
Things are changing…I sense it everywhere. Do you feel it? What is your way through this time?
Lately I feel myself as a kind of Cassandra; a pariah in a world trying to avoid itself. I can barely speak in any other conversation with this one of our inflamed and dying world beating so strongly in my chest. My resistance invites my suffering. I am reminded of the spiritual teaching that it is in the efforting to be somewhere other than where we are, that we most suffer. Trying to get away from suffering is the biggest cause of suffering.
I have been trying to get away from my own inclination towards depth and darkness that has me dwell here more than is healthy perhaps. There is dirt under my fingernails from trying to claw my way out of this underworld. I ache. I don’t recognize myself. “Things look at me doubly and I must look back and let them happen”, as poet Adrienne Rich points to.
Dissonance rings in me…I cannot find my old tools, or they have rusted and dropped out of sight and into disrepair.
My own heart beat startles me in its magnitude. I catch my breath thinking it is someone walking towards me in the darkness. My eyes are entrained on the loss. In the entrainment, more loss arrives on the threshold. Each time my mind thinks it understands and knows what I should move towards and how I can be of service, the ax comes down and severance is the only note in the evensong.
Today I finally sat down and read all 33 pages of Catherine Ingram’s paper entitled, "Facing Extinction." I didn’t want to, but I did. Interspersed in the continued shock of more and more evidence of just how bad our situation is, came also a kind of easing of my mind for the simple calm of having company in this unending excruciating conundrum we find ourselves caught in. If you dare, you can join me in reading it here.
Rilke, the poet of dark depth reminds me, “Now you must go out into your heart as onto a vast plain. Now the immense loneliness begins.” Oddly, this too soothes me. To know others have tread on similarly shrouded paths offers something. It is not hope, but it is company....perhaps solace.
We need each other now. This is not a time to isolate, though so much of me is prone to that. Please know your voice is welcome here next to mine, as is your heart. Perhaps we cannot stop the insanity, but we can be together in the witnessing and grief. We can learn to breathe and calm ourselves and others, and we can remember the practice of noticing that we can choose where to put our attention and gather, like a fist full of wildflowers, the moments of sweetness that are still so vibrantly here.
Today I am trying to remember this.
The coyote that I found dead on the trail this winter still lays a bit off trail where I placed her three months back…barely altered by predator and time. I marvel at the slow process of dismemberment happening to her. Nothing seems to be happening for weeks, even months and then, ever so slowly, a fluffing and sloughing off of the downy under fur…that which was closest to its body offering insulation and warmth from the cold. Its form is undone as the fur explodes as a halo around it. Her sharp ear still makes an arrow against the sky and the feather I left has slipped into the downy cloud of her obscuration.
In my dream, the ground is literally dissolving beneath my feet. I know that I will not make it through this flood of mud that is becoming a waterfall before me. I turn and reach out for help.
“The eyes of the future are looking back at us and they are praying for us to see beyond our own time. They are kneeling with hands clasped that we might act with restraint, that we might leave room for the life that is destined to come. To protect what is wild is to protect what is gentle. Perhaps the wilderness we fear is the pause between our own heartbeats, the silent space that says we live only by grace. Wilderness lives by this same grace. Wild mercy is in our hands.” ~Terry Tempest Williams
“There comes a time when the bubble of ego is popped and you can’t get the ground back for an extended period of time. Those times, when you absolutely cannot get it back together, are the most rich and powerful times in our lives.”
1. Becoming Seed
2. Blooming Forth