🎶 On the First Day of Christmas, a crisis gave to me: uncertainty in a COVID tree. 🎶
It’s a very different holiday season of uncertainty for all of us on our beautiful blue planet. We’re still in the trenches, battling a pandemic force that has a mind of its own. It is taking all the collective and individual bravery we’ve got. Together, we’ve stood up to crushing numbers of seemingly overwhelming physical and emotional tsunamis this year. If you’re living amidst a personal crisis as well, I empathize completely. Many of us are facing challenges and devastations separate from the pandemic, or huge losses and difficulties because of it. We’ve been torn up and torn apart. We’ve cried. We’ve asked for help and resources. We’ve despaired. We haven’t slept. We’ve prayed. There are mandates we dislike. Around our world, so many are suffering, waiting. But this pandemic is a disease of disconnection as well. Many times, we’ve all felt alone & isolated.
Pandemic angst has rolled in and out like a tempest, in crashing waves.
In this season of separation, burnout and continued change, with bans on numbers of us in one place at a time and Zoom celebrations, how do we keep our spirits up behind the scenes?
“Calling all angels, calling all angels.” It’s a time for angels and humans to connect, to stand together upon some safe place of refuge. And “I won’t give up if you don’t give up.”
Where and What is Your Safe Place to Land?
My hope is that you have found a safe place to land. If you’re still looking for one, I offer you a hand today, to pull you up out of your overwhelm onto the solid ground of abiding hope, contentment amidst struggle, and some constancy.
Where is this safe place to land? It resides in three places. First, in this real and solid connection we have with each other. Second, it is inside of you in your inner home, your Essence. Third, safety resides outside of us in what’s greater, in God, in Source, in our infinite universe. We humans are all interconnected energy beings, joined like strings of lights, and we are never alone. We can anchor ourselves authentically through each other, from our inner homes within us, and from God.
We human beings are all standing together on the same shore of refuge, entwined. Angels may be nearby.
Click play button arrow to listen to Train: Calling All Angels
We truly do have each other
Human connection is one of the most healing resources available to us. There is a breeze of renewal. A chinook coming. The beginning of the end. It is blowing gently through our hair, and if we relax into it, we can feel its soft upsurge like warm hope upon our faces. There is music playing, not so far away. There is a song we are all singing. We have sung it before. Let’s keep singing. We are all human beings, interconnected by our beingness. Our musical human voices are in harmony with one another in the air both figuratively and literally.
We can embrace the grace of change, or we can go into it complaining, kicking and screaming. Changes will keep coming. Having a more welcoming approach can provide us relief. There is replenishment in movement, in our voices rising together: let’s sing about hope, about change. Let’s chant and reform, actively creating change while gently and creatively envisioning and embracing it. Let’s dance ourselves into connection and transformation. The universe thrives with unified forces of creative energy.
We Are Together in the Darkness
There is darkness. There is dark pain within us and around us. This blackout wraps its arms around us without our permission; it is surrounding us now and it is a robe we’ll all wear in our future whether we want to or not. We can, and I believe we must, writhe, scream and cry inside of it, acknowledge it, move through and beyond it. This grieving, our anguish, hurts like hell. But just like all processes which move us forward, it is the muddy, murky path into our growth and healing. It is not us, and it does not define us. Holding space for the fruitful darkness is essential and smart healing, so let’s allow and participate in this parallel process. Remember, we are not alone in the dark. Someone is close by, and our togetherness is a blanket.
We Are Connected by What IS
We are all reading and hearing the same news each day, experiencing similar reactions and feeling ups and downs. Instead of serving pain and doubt for breakfast, I suggest we fill our bowls with what Is. That we observe and recall both our inner and concerted fight against this continuing pandemic and, still doing what we can to make things better, that we take in the present moment with the grace of a good sport while still going to battle. Not that we’re admitting defeat. Just the opposite: that we move harmoniously and bravely with this force, like unified aikido fighters, using our own vibrating life energy to attack and kill off this monster of illness, death, grief, anxiety, and depression, dissolving its gripping tendrils as long as it’s still here.`
What I’m offering is a therapeutic, spiritual view into our inner and outer states. We can’t make others wear masks or stay home unless we are civic leaders or outspoken guides. Hospital workers are ceaselessly, exhaustingly doing their very best with medical expertise and compassion. Many of us and our friends and families are working in the trenches to care for the sick and dying. If we are a step or two removed, from farther away we can offer our kindness and vision, in meditative creative energy, envisioning and enacting the healing of our planet. Let’s remember: collectively, we are one. We’re united as humans, and our call to action together was announced and is sustained. Removed and feeling helpless at times, we can always meditate, pray, work hard where we can, and serve others.
We Create Our Future Collectively Via Presence
In our inner work, outer efforts, and collective initiatives towards change we create the future. Every moment is like a seed; any moment holds the potentiality to change an entire day. Every choice matters in both the short-term and the long-run, and so how often we come into aware concentration makes a difference. Our focused attention is called dharana in yoga and is the equivalent of presence. The more we are all present in each moment, the better our decisions will be. We will move into brave actions based upon wisdom derived from individual and collective presence.
Working from home, as many of us do, at times I feel a need for momentary connection. Because my street has beautiful overarching trees, it’s popular for walkers. Sometimes I watch out my window waiting for a minute or two, and sure enough someone comes down the sidewalk, out for a brisk walk, often with their dog. I pop outside on the porch and say a quick hello, but I try to greet others with focused attention. The momentary engagement in presence and connection is satisfying.
One of the best gifts we can give, especially this season, isn’t something that costs money: it’s authentic connection, presence with people we care about, not presents.
Surrender to the New Abnormal
It was never “normal” before, and it won’t be again. We lived with change in the past; changes were simply more tolerable and less global. Perhaps you have already assertively surrendered to this new, constantly morphing abnormal, and are learning how to live consciously, linked to your inner golden Essence, less identified with your situation, emotions or mind. I hope so! We can get out of the felt drama of our circumstances through our vibrancy: with music, sharing information, discussions, allying with our bodies and through creative action we will find and be the answers that reside in our hearts and intuition. Everything we do and share mindfully matters. We will never return to the outdated perception of normal. We’ve got to let that past go.
Now, There’s This: The Yin and Yang
“Now, there’s this.” My mantra of acceptance, this phrase brings me into presence. Though the pandemic weather outside is frightful, there is a warm glow from the fire of the delightful, everchanging Now, right here in the living room of our connectedness. Change itself can become intriguing with an open heart and a commitment to adaptability and resilience.
“It is good to work for change, but always return to what Is. If you accept all things whether painful or joyful, you will always know that you belong to each other and to the Tao.”
~The Couples Tao Te Ching, interpreted by William Martin
I find peace when I’m simultaneously assertively surrendering to what Is, and exerting effort towards change. Activating both yin and yang. Envisioning something different and taking strategic steps can help us bring healing to our families, friends and our communities. We have all done what we can, and let’s continue to. We’ll keep stretching, keep expanding our capacity to not just handle tremendous challenges, but take them on with wisdom, truth, and grace. I have chanted, “Now, there’s this,” over and over most days, week after week, throughout 2020. I actually say this repeatedly: “Now, there’s this. Hmm, ok. And, now, there’s this.” Do you have a similar constant chant?
Tools for Conscious Bravery
Tools for conscious bravery help us. Becoming more observant with awareness practices for bravery & insight will help us survive and thrive. These are heart-focused, body-centered & intuition-building techniques that we can live by, and I present some of them here on this website. Meditating for bravery, getting ready for battle, for example. We don’t necessarily battle the world; our biggest battle is with our tricky, obsessive, negatively biased minds. Conscious breathing is the doorway out of our minds and into clear seeing. Practicing stillness and silence aid us; in connecting with our hearts, our senses and our true selves, we can discover solace and strength this moment. Bringing our Fear along with us in our imaginary backpacks daily, we face change and the unknown. The Now is the only place we can actually live; when we’re here right now we can get to the future more consciously. (See my next blog on: 10 Portals into Presence in the Now.)
Inhale: I am home. Exhale: I’m with you.
Inhale: I am present. Exhale: Present with you.
“Home” is your inner Essence. The “you” can be other people, God, or both. This is a simple conscious breathing tool for inner and outward connection. See yourself in an imaginary bubble of presence as you do this, breathing in and out at least three times, with deep concentration.
The Now is the only place where anything actually makes sense. Embracing the grace of change and bringing our fears along with us, we propel ourselves into acts of conscious bravery. Breathing into and connecting with this moment, we can springboard into whatever brave actions we need to take.
We Can Do Tough Stuff
Throughout 2020, we have been able to do tough stuff. We can & must continue to do these and other hard things. We’ve all found some inner bravery every day, and stepped into greater consciousness, living awake however we can, finding moments to encourage, support, lift up, laugh and cry with one another. We have been holding each other even if it’s from a distance. Necessity is a strict teacher, & we students of the living school have open hearts and minds, are adaptable and resilient. We’ve been brave under fire. We’ve come closer to one another, even from a distance. You know this: we’ve got to persevere. There is no giving up or giving in now. Moment by moment, in gratitude for life, we take a few more steps forward together.
The Warm Glow from the Everchanging Now
There is a warm glow from the fire of the everchanging Now. It is a fire of blazing energy we’ve built together.
We can continue to commit to finding our presence, living awake, being conscious, making time for authentic connections, even if it’s over FaceTime or Zoom. Energy is everything. With love & good vibes, we can allow our emotions but not soak in them. We can make plans and carry them out but not get stuck when they don’t bring the results we’d hoped for. Living awake keeps us from giving up.
Let’s remember who we are: our inner Essence. And we are never alone: we are connected to each another. We were made from the stars, and are light strands of our Source, God, nature, the boldly expanding universe. We are beautiful beings of consciousness and presence that are not defined by our circumstances or by other people.
Some Gratitude for What Is
Today, friends, please try to find some gratitude for what Is. We can do this starting the moment we awaken. Beginning our days mindfully from our beds; with conscious breathing and prayers of gratitude, we can always be thankful for a roof over our heads, for food and water even before we put our feet on the ground. I learned this practice from friends and start my days this way.
My hope for you this wonky season is that you can become a little bit more brave, more dauntless, to adapt to change and train in resilience. We can all create happy holidays from the inside out and the outside in, together, no matter what our circumstances. Let’s cherish moments and string them together like little lights to brighten our paths.
I’m here for you. We’re here for each other.