Not too long ago I was asked to describe 2020 in one word.
I immediately answered: devastating.
And then later followed with: horrifying.
My grief is quieter. Less obvious to some, but those that know me, can see it. In my eyes, my face, my vibration. I am functioning a little more these past couple of months. Trying to step back into my life. Not so much the world, baby steps. (But let’s face it, I’m predominantly an introvert with extroverted skills and capacities. Stillness, simplicity, sattva, depth – devotion to Truth and Divinity – these are my rhythms.) Now, I am more sensitive, deliberate, heart softer. My grief is not dense and raw like it was the first six months. It is quiet. It is patient. No, maybe I have become more patient. I see the ground I have walked. I see the very beginnings of my relationship with my father transforming into ancestorship, eldership, Shiva. And I am gradually starting to make out the deeper vision of – this initiation – what my work and responsibility is to my ancestors, my lineage, Goddess, the Truth – sentient beings. Slowly. This is not a race. No need to rush. Take it all in, feel it all. Pay attention, deeply listen – more shall be revealed. I trust and sense the next part of this initiation will unfold in its own time. And I am here, with it, deeply listening, following the holy queues.
People’s fear and anxiety levels have risen amid this second lock down, and I am indifferent, neutral. (And at the same time, I have empathy for them.)
The peak of covid has already happened for me. I have already been living the most devastating and horrifying scenario that could’ve possibly played out. Now, coming out the other side, slowly. Still shaken. Sensitive. My movements, informed. Much less fighting with the way things are – the way it all went down, that is. More being with it. With the way things landed (way down on the floor, that is). But that makes it by no means ok – I do not accept what happened. Yet I am with it.
And that has been the most forceful deepening of this devastating time. Tending enough spaciousness within me to hold all of this, all the while expanding my breadth to hold so much more going forward. This transmission is crystal clear. I’ve been unintentionally expanding and honouring my capacities to see, feel and move in the hallowed dark.
Once you go through the most devastating, horrifying experience of your life,
you naturally (and eventually after a substantial period of raw, dense grief) can become more open, more surrendered, your resistance lessens, you soften, your trust deepens profoundly in the Force moving through you, through this entire Existence. And everything that happens later on, feels less painful somehow. Even if it’s supposed to be hard. Even if it’s difficult for those around you. You have already been through the most tremendous and worst possible shit storm. And now you stand in a quiet reprieve, a quiet well of depth that forms as an inner resource of strength. And you naturally and quietly hold the space for what comes, even all of the difficulty, with that same quiet strength. Knowing that through your accumulative inquiry and life experience, you are in fact, well resourced. Perhaps this is resilience.
At the same time, as Francis Weller points out, it’s also an unsettling unfolding, because you don’t know where you are landing. (Do we ever?) This period of the utter unknown, which is absolutely necessary for this initiation of the greatest proportions you have encountered to date. And you trust it, deeply. You know this place, it is very familiar, “allowing what Is, to become.”
In the meantime, the value of communing and breathing deeply with Mama Nature/the elements as a healing ground has become even more profound. Stillness, deep rest, and the pulsating intimacy with real-time emotions and feelings – the essence of this alchemy of transmutation – has only further deepened.
Aligning with the truth of now, naked, open, engaged, and coming up with everything against me – and staying with this uncomfortable unfolding, as long as it took, takes. This is the real work for me. This is the aliveness of complete transmutation. This is what has got me to now. Otherwise I would still be in the raw, dense, thick grief. Do you see? I see and feel the ground I have walked, the bridges I have crossed, the large crashing waves that whipped me around, that swallowed me whole, that spat me out, shaken – and how this experience has enriched the ground I am walking now, and refined the nutrient dense ground I will walk out onto one fine day. Things have shifted, I have shifted.
I observe a deepening into not knowing, into being with the unknown. Trusting the unknown. Trusting the guidance of the Divine Mystery. Trusting the soul’s journey. A path of deep patience, of deep trust, of deep listening. Giving ample space and time for the sacred to come through me in a myriad of dark and light forms.
And so. There is also less resistance
to a cold winter in Canada, away from my (very warm, in so many ways) ancestral home. I am here with it now, and prepared as best I can (with a sufficient supply of merino wool and down, and my central heating cranked). Less resistance to the busy culture here. More being with the reality of the present moment, which has conveyed so much to me about where I stand, and where I will no longer stand. What do I truly value? What am I committed to, devoted to, what will I show up for? The importance of balance, of giving voice, giving space to emotions and feelings (so healing can truly take place), expressing boundaries, and getting better at asking for what I need in a culture that doesn’t often value connection foremost. Rather, most often in survival mode. Not my culture. Now, I open to what comes – with presence, after using my voice, and leave the rest.
I see how the indigenous ways and my ancestral homeland’s ways correlate.
In my ancestral land connection is paramount, and it happens through food, chai, and sacred rituals, prayers, gatherings, dance. When someone is born, when someone dies, when someone is married, when someone reaches a milestone, when someone is healing, being initiated – they are recognized, honoured, celebrated. Sacred space is formed around them. This holy ground, chai, and deliciously prepared local food (prasadam) – always a part of any honouring. All the while, aligned with the lunar, solar, and seasonal cycles.
I felt the grip of colonization in the first moments of emergency landing back here in Canada, back in mid-March, when I was barred from going straight to the hospital from the airport, to be with my ailing, beloved father.
In those early moments, I felt controlled. I felt divided. I felt conquered. I felt the trauma of colonization in my cells, in my ancestral lines, the trauma lines. Abandoned, unsafe – as the system controlled us, telling us they are keeping us safe and not abandoning us. What the fuck? It’s a sick, twisted lie. All of it. I pretty much do not know one person who is not struggling on this planet right now. Not one. The status quo keeps its people stressed and depressed, in order to control them, and keep them reliant on the system for “help”. Note the quotations, note the irony. For those who are awake, this magnifies the derangement of the system.
How do we keep going? How do we not get completely overwhelmed?
We keep breathing, we keep taking care of ourselves (and each other as best we can). And we take refuge in the simple notion that everything moves and shifts. And so will this. It will just take time. So we can anchor in what grounds us, in what nourishes us. And the weight that this global phenomenon has created, well, we do the best we can with it. And refrain from putting pressure on ourselves. And on each other. We are in a global pandemic. Doing our best to deal with it, cope with it, that is enough. You are enough. So be kind and gentle with yourself, and with those around you. Compassion and empathy are key, and it works both ways. We will get through this. We are. We have been for the last nine months. It will shift.
In the meantime, how will we hold it? How will we hold ourselves? How will we hold each other? This is the call of this moment, this is the work, this is the medicine. Are you tuned in?