There is an incredible beauty and joy in the smallest blade of grass rising from the earth in spring. It’s an emerging of life, in both nature and ourselves.
(If you missed the last post Part Three: Entering the Castle click here before reading on.)
“Great joys make us love the world. Great sadnesses make us understand the world.” ~Kent Nerburn
In my last post, I left off on January 6, 2021 when I had just married God and watched the violence unfolding at the U.S. Capital building in the same morning.
My body was a melting pot of emotion – love and bliss in one moment followed by a mixture of shock, anger and grief in another.
I walked around in a daze for the next week unsure of what to do with all that was stirring in me… until one night when I felt frustrated with my mom.
It was something minor (and part of us learning how to live together), so why was I so frustrated about it?
I went to bed angry. “I’ll feel better in the morning” I said to myself in denial. After an hour of lying there wide awake, I knew I had to get up and talk to her or I’d have a terrible night of sleep.
I went upstairs and started my little rant fueled by anger of the little thing she had done…..when I lowered my head, my body almost shaking.
As it often was (and is), the little thing bothering me was only the gateway to the bigger thing that needed to come to the surface.
My body was feeling the Capital riot and the fragility of our democracy, the fear and upheaval the pandemic had created, the senseless killing of George Floyd, the intensity around the 2020 presidential election, the increase of violence, hatred, division, misinformation, blaming, accusations and more over the last four years, and the disregard and destruction of our planet (to name a few).
That melting pot of emotion was boiling over. My eyes welled up.
I sat there next to my mom, on her bed, crying into my hands, crying for all that was in the world. My mom looked at me with softness in her eyes while I spilled it all out.
When I finally took a breath, she shared with me the unsettledness of her era – the threat of nuclear war, assassinations of JFK, MLK, Robert Kennedy, civil rights and women’s liberation protests and the disastrous Vietnam War, among other national and global unrest.
Mom’s sharing helped me realize that up until this point, I had for the most part, lived in a world that was seemingly relatively stable (not to discount the tragedy of 9/11 and the Iraq war)… until recently.
“Oh” I thought, “This is part of humanity – cycles of upheaval, and we are certainly in one now.”
After an hour of talking, I leaned over and wrapped my arms around her and said, “I’m sorry Mom. I love you.” She replied, hugging me back, “I love you too.”
It was a defining moment for mom and I. We became closer. I had a new understanding and compassion for her.
I went to bed feeling more relaxed, my body releasing much of the chaotic energy it held, but what was I to do with the anger and injustice I felt that at times led to hopelessness and despair?
I knew the heaviness in my body was not helping me or anyone else. I needed to light the fire of truth and hope within me.
Over the next couple of months I watched documentaries about the restoration of nature: a man in India who planted one tree at a time over decades in an area of deforestation, the wildlife returning; another person who brought acres of land in New Zealand back to it’s native trees and shrubs; and another in Texas who changed a desertified landscape back to it’s lush, spring fed ecosystem.
My hope bucket was gradually getting filled.
Mom and I found another documentary called Kiss the Ground, on soil regeneration, inspiring and uplifting. We also enjoyed the occasional Saturday Night Live skit poking fun at the times – laughter is such great medicine.
Yes, we were (and still are) in a tumultuous time nationally and globally, but there was (and is) so much goodness happening out there when we look for it.
But how could I get inspired by politics? I found it at the end of the impeachment trial of our former president following the Capital Hill attack.
While I was deeply disappointed at the outcome of the trial, I was incredibly moved by the ten Republicans who voted to impeach him.
They risked their politicaI careers, and possibly there lives, to be in alignment with their moral compass. I was in awe of their courage and stand for the truth that was clearly opposite of the majority of their party.
It was deeply moving to me, like the mystics who stood unwavering in their knowing of God despite it’s leading to persecution or death by the very church they were a part of.
But what was I to do with the anger I had at times for those that persecuted, threatened and harmed others?
First, I needed to recognize that I was just as capable of persecuting, threatening and harming others – by the fact that I’m human.
Second, I needed to recognize that the anger I felt was creating a division in my own heart.
I believed they were bad and I was good…they were wrong and I was right (ego likes to hang her hat on that one.)
It was exactly what was dividing us as a nation and a world.
Could I put former President Trump and his supporters on the alter of my heart to teach me compassion? Could I stand for truth while also not judging those creating the opposite? Where was the line?
This is the intersection between the inner spiritual practice and living actively in the world.
While taking a retreat with African American Zen Priest Zenju Earthlyn Manuel, she stated “anger can harm or it can illuminate.”
The one that illuminates – that’s the fire of truth.
That’s what the civil rights movement stemmed from, that’s what the women’s liberation movement stemmed from, that’s what the young environmental activist Greta Thunberg speaks from, and so many more.
Could I turn my anger into one that illuminates?
I believed the answer was yes, and while this is a continuous unfolding, I look for where the fire of truth is ignited in others.
I was recently inspired by two politicians – Senator Cory Booker who, during the U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson’s nomination hearing, spoke from the heart on calling her his “north star,” (watch here) and Senator Mallory McMorrow’s speech that has gone viral on “we will not let hate win” (watch here).
The winter of 2021 ignited the fire of truth and hope within me.
Unbeknownst to my conscious mind, the activist within was born too. The seed had been planted during the Holy Wow experience of 2018 at the cabin in Big Sur, and it was now taking root.
There was one other film last winter that deeply moved me and would further fertilize the internal soil of my heart.
It’s a film about a modern day Hindu Mystic named Amma, affectionately called the “hugging saint” by her followers.
Her story is one of listening to the inner calling, despite being persecuted and cast out by her family and community.
It is a story of love in action – of love activism and the positive change that one person can create in the world.
I invite you to watch it when the time is right by clicking the picture below. It’s 1.5 hours long (with a few extras thrown in), free on YouTube.
Happy Mother’s Day to all mom’s, for all that you do, all that you give, all that you create, all that you hold, and all that you love…and to our Great Mother Earth, and the Divine Mother within each of us. I am deeply grateful.
More to come dear friend, from my heart to yours.
Wishing you peace and joy.
To read Part Five: The Gift of Mom(s), click here.
Categories: Conflict & Forgiveness, Heart Centered Living