My heart goes out to all those affected by the floods, fires and drought – humans and critters alike.
May you be safe from harm, may you have food, water and shelter, and may Mother Nature’s warnings cause us all to change our ways with Her.
Teach us love, compassion and honor
That we may heal the earth
And heal each other
~From a Yokuts prayer (Native American tribe of Central California)
The many places flooded in Montana are known and loved by those of us living here and those afar too. There is an opportunity to help people and critters in need at the end of this post.
(If you missed the last post, Part Eight: The Turning Point click here before reading on).
Last week I left off with mom’s return to Montana from Rhode Island after three challenging months caring for her sister with cancer.
We settled back into routine of living in my one bedroom house together – a quiet reprieve for both of us.
But before I share what happens next, I want to share something I noticed when I finished my week of silence at the end of August, as it links to the story I write about today.
As I slowly re-entered life, I felt much more viscerally the fast pace of our culture – a pace that I had been going for most of life, but clearly realized I no longer was after the retreat.
My whole being was now the pace of a turtle after a year and a half of ‘being’ and the world around me was going at the pace of a running rabbit.
I retreated many times back into the sanctuary of my home to come back to center after engaging with the world, and asked, “Can I live at this fast pace again?”
The answer I came to was No. I never wanted to be that busy again.
I realized it wasn’t intentional to go that fast pace, it was the pace of our culture, and to be part of and accepted by the culture, I unconsciously believed (and feared) I had to be busy and do more to be liked, loved, a good role model, a contributing citizen of my community; and also the realization that the busier I was, the more I could ignore the feelings of discomfort inside.
While I had been leaving those beliefs and fears gradually by the wayside over the years on the spiritual path, they still had their pull at times.
That “wanting to be productive” came up again in early November 2021, so I decided, against the better wisdom of my intuition, to build a fence in my yard.
The first day I really over did it (one of my old tendencies), which started a prolonged bought with wrist tendonitis.
If only I’d listened to my intuition!
But the slowing down experience really came into focus of why it was so important when I read a book during that same time titled, The Way of the Rose by Strand and Finn, a husband and wife co-authorship.
In one particular chapter they were sharing how, starting in the year 1830, there have been over 500 apparitions of the Virgin Mary/Black Madonna/Our Lady of Guadalupe/Great Mother world-wide (different names for the same being).
“Why did the apparitions start in 1830?” The authors wondered.
When they researched history, there was no major cataclysmic events that year, but what they did find was that 1830 was the year the train came into being.
It was the first time humans moved faster than their feet, a horse, or sailboat could carry them.
It was the beginning of our bodies moving faster than our souls.
We went from being connected to, and grounded with, the earth’s rhythms and cycles, to the industrial age of productivity, efficiency, and speed…and lost ourselves, our soul selves and the connection with our Great Mother, in the process.
I stopped reading.
It made so much sense…on every level.
It’s why I felt more comfortable walking than being in a car.
It’s why I felt connected with God when I was going slowly and so utterly disconnected when I was moving fast, my body literally disjointed between my mind and my soul.
And it wasn’t just physically fast, but the fast pace of the mind that came from this and the busy-ness of schedules, rushing around, and doing more than we were ever meant to do in one day.
The busy-ness left my soul in the dust, like mom’s hubcap on the side of the Nevada desert interstate.
When I looked back though, I could see clearly that the slower I became in my days, with more space to BE, the more I felt connected to the Divine within me and around me.
I had found the hubcap – my soul had been reunited with my body.
What I also found, is that by not pushing to do everything on my to do list, everything that needed to get done got done – in God’s time.
It was like the difference between swimming up river against the current vs. floating downstream with the current.
When I let go of the “time” part (and the angst that came with it), listening instead to the inner guidance of what to do and when to do it, the groceries were bought, the house was cleaned, the yard was mowed, the dinner was cooked, all in flow with the current, and not all in one day like I believed it had to be done in.
In Buddhism it’s called effortless effort, because that’s what it felt like… effortless.
My turtle pace came to be even more clear when a dear friend called me on a Sunday night, mid-November telling me her mom was likely to die in the next few days (due to a chronic illness).
She asked if I could come stay with her two kids so she could leave the next day to be with her mom (her husband was out of state and couldn’t get back in time).
I could feel intuitions No, so I said no to her.
We hung up.
I thought about her not being with her mom before she died. My heart ached.
I called her back a minute later and said, “I’ll pick up the kids from school tomorrow. You need to be with your mom.”
It felt far more important to help her out than me going along with inner guidance.
My friend flew out the next day.
I picked up the two easy going, wonderful young teens from school, made us dinner and went to bed.
One of their two adorable dogs thought using my entire body as a pillow was a great way for him to sleep, but putting him outside the door wasn’t an option as he’d scratch on the door all night.
I woke early, bleary eyed, with the kids, made breakfast, helped get their lunches packed and drove them to school – this was all before I was typically awake in the morning.
I stopped by my house to meditate and yoga and then back to their house to get me and the dogs out for exercise.
Back to school to pick them up, make dinner and to bed.
The second night my friend had the brilliant idea to put their pillow dog in the van in the garage for the night.
It worked beautifully. Much more sleep the second night.
Back up early again, make breakfast, help with lunches, drive to school, my house to meditate and yoga, dogs and me outside, pick up the kids from school, make dinner…
My friend sent me a text that morning that her mom had passed during the night.
I was so grateful that she was with her.
Another woman took over for me that night with the kiddos. I went home and slept for 12 hours.
These weren’t even little kids – they were self-sufficient teens!
Even though I was exhausted, I was so glad I had said yes, and it also gave me much more understanding of, and compassion for, what moms and dads go through everyday. It’s a lot! And a labor of love too.
When I relayed this story to another friend she exclaimed, “You were like a golf cart getting on the interstate!” We both started laughing, “Yes, that’s a perfect analogy!” I said in return.
I was clearly now turtle/golf cart pace.
How could I return to ‘normal life’ again on the interstate?
To walk on the Earth is to embrace the Earth
and draw from it everything you need.
~Our Lady of Guadalupe
More to come dear friend, from my heart to yours.
Please note: I will be taking the next few weeks off from writing to allow my wrist tendinitis to heal. You’re in my heart and I look forward to connecting with you on the other end, when I bring you Part Ten. Please reach out with any reflections or questions of your spiritual journey between now and then.
An opportunity to help out those affected by the Montana floods:
~Donate here to the Southwest Montana Flood Relief Fund. Money goes to providing food, clean water, shelter, lost wages, home repairs and mitigation, and more. Money goes to the Gallatin County United Way.
Categories: Health & Happiness, Inner Wisdom & Intuition, Stress & Anxiety