A story I heard today about saying grace before a meal, had me reflecting on how the single word grace has different meanings in English. Which had me thinking about grace and then this:
We must live into the discomfort
that we have been touched
if you feel no discomfort
because somehow you feel
worthy, then you do not
really understand grace
what you have
if you’re willing
is a glorious invitation
to let go of yourself
to look at your nakedness in the mirror
to see every flaw and scar
to be devastated by what is actually true
And then to lean
your bared and shivering self
back into grace
and give thanks
Read ~ 4 minutes. Listen ~ 9 minutes
It seems like ages since I've been outside walking. Between smoke-hazed days and torrential downpours I just often have sat and looked out the window and not felt like venturing out. But today as the sun broke through the clouds, the rain stopped. I came out to our newly opened park. It's been closed for over 2 years, since we were in peak Covid.
It's strange. As always, you can never come back, as they say that everything changes and it's true. Even being here, everything has changed. There's more fences. There's more signs warning about the boundaries and the limits of where we are and are not allowed to go and how we are allowed to get there ....
I'm holding that gently, knowing that there are reasons, good reasons in some cases, for why that is so. Reasons that have roots in, to be honest, the deeply colonial history in which so much of what we live in is based. It's the kind of history that we often ignore. And I'm trying to do better at remembering the roots of who we are and how that impacts everything that happens now
I live on a boundary. It is the boundary of 2 countries and 3 nations. And we have not always lived in easy partnerships or easily neighbourliness to be honest. Not-with-standing the words that are printed on this border crossing about being children of a common mother and how these gates are never closed. But in truth these gates are gates.
There are reasons for gates ....
Mostly I am simply pondering everything. Everything I'm encountering. The leaves that are autumn and yet not autumn. It has been so warm that the colours that we expect to see at this time of year are very faint. Just now some of the trees that would long be resplendent in orange and red and yellow are just barely tinged with that, mostly still showing green or having simply dried up and dropped.
Those smoky skies came with drought. It’s been so dry here. The leaves on the trees are green but the grass has been brown. This is not how it normally is here at this time of year.
But this started really as a reflection today about simply being out. The air today feels so clean. There’s a particular smell that is such a west coast smell. The ocean meeting the trees and this time of year there’s a autumn smell. It is the leaves that have dropped, decomposing. It’s all here.
(Sound of a single engine airplane flying overhead.)
This border crossing also sits below a route for airplanes to the local airport. And the traffic now has increased again. During so much of Covid, when the borders were essentially closed, it was quiet. And now there’s many, many cars.
I feel like there was so much that we have learned, or we learned for a moment. And I’m trying to hang on to that. Kind of like when you go to an inspiring talk or workshop and come away thinking “Yes, yes! I’m going to do that. I’m going to take that away with me.” And then find that life just flows back in and we forget the new things, we forget the ways that we made a commitment to living better, to living more alive, more intentional with our lives.
I’m trying not to let it all go, all the lessons from this pandemic. All of the moments of wonder and challenge. Things that challenged me, things that made me think about who I am in the context of who we all are. And how we live together and how I want to live in community, live in common purpose with other people, with creation. How I want to use my time and my gifts. And it's attention. It’s a struggle. And I often feel isolated even now.
And yet in this moment of pause, of sitting in the beauty of this day, in this late afternoon as the sun is starting to slide down towards the western horizon .... I’m just noting the beauty and hanging on to my gratitude. For all of it .... For this moment. These thoughts. That’s all.
The brokenness of the world is being lived out in my body.
Listen ~ 8 minutes
One year and 8 months ago I broke my foot. You would think that by now it would be feeling so much better. And yet, recently, it has been feeling a level of pain and anxiety that it didn't even when it was still broken. My ankle is stiff. And it's like my foot is carrying all of the anxieties.
Today at yoga as I sat on the floor while the rest of the folks carried on with Warrior 2, I continued to flow but, leg spread wide, weight off my foot. And just in paying attention to that sense of anxiety rising from that foot I realized something.
In energy work we often talk about what is the underlying metaphoric message that our body is telling us. I broke this foot when we were just about 8 months into the pandemic. When we had believed we were coming out of it and yet a new wave was emerging. And Bill's dementia was more acute. And I had begun to need to coach him more on things, I had to pay attention more as strange things would show up in the water kettle. It was not only as if, it was the case that I was carrying extra burden.
Today as we had hoped by this point, two years plus past when we all first went into isolation. And while the world seems to be opening up again, in some ways there is caution. Some people are masked, some people are not. And certainly Covid is not gone. More and more of my friends are posting images of the two lines showing on their rapid test.
We are not past this. And yet, even as we are not past this we have hit an economic crisis that has not been seen here for so long. Inflation is as high as I can really remember. They talk about the eighties when I was in high school, high inflation. And now again. But at a time when relative incomes have dropped significantly.
And on top of that environmental devastation. This year as the atmospheric river washed out our roads, the heat dome killed wildlife. And we had the coldest freeze that I remember since my childhood here in BC, the South coast where the weather is typically mild. There have been fire, floods. Over 600 people died in that heat dome last summer and then a fire ripped through an entire town burning it to the ground ....
And now war, with Russia invading Ukraine. The world unsure how to respond. Not wanting to escalate the war and yet standing with Ukraine. And while we offer sanctions against Russia it feels a little bit too much like thoughts and prayers as yet another school in America gets shot up by a gunman. And then, again in America, the overturning of Roe vs Wade which guaranteed the rights to access to abortions for people who needed that service and it has been repealed. States are tripping over themselves to ban legal abortion sending women back underground while continuing to show no love and support for actually born children ....
And its as if all of these are coalescing in my foot. The weight, the world, that sense of the stability being taken away. It's like my body is living it out .... It’s like it is sunk into my ankle, into my foot sending waves of nausea through my whole being. Holding the weight of the world through the brokenness of the world ....
It struck me that this image in many ways illustrates the times we're in. On one hand it captures what appears to be a peaceful and lovely river on a beautiful day. For those who live nearby, the water level so close to the base of the bridge warns of the stark reality of impending flood. I walked here to be refreshed by the beauty of nature and found the path under water.
Growing up in B.C., in school we were taught about the mighty Fraser River and the man for whom it was named. Yet this River has flowed long before his arrival and is known by many names to peoples who live along her shores. "The river is called “Sto:lo” in Halqemeylem and “Lhtakoh” in the Dakelh language, both meaning “river” in their respective languages. To the Tsilqot’in people, the Fraser is appropriately named “ʔElhdaqox,” meaning Sturgeon River, in reverence of the captivating and prehistoric fish that traverse the waters of the south Fraser. (1) As much as we might claim this flowing water, she is her own being. And yet our lives intertwine.
There are days when the whole world seems like an impending flood. Water is life-giving but floods are destructive. Yet they are also messengers. The deluge of weather events reminds us that we are part of, not set apart from, the natural cycles that sustain all life. The rising waters of political and social divide compel us to look in our own hearts and at our own lives and see where we have added to that flood, even unintentionally. The beauty and the threat compel us to both hold in love and to take clear and decisive action to keep the most vulnerable from being swept away or subsumed.
Both beautiful moments and flood warnings highlight what's at risk and why how I show up matters.
This is the River of Life. Don't look away.
It's in releasing her blossoms
that the tree attains the sky
Twice each week I hold On-line Healing Circles centred on evocative and deeply healing guided meditations. Join me Monday mornings at 9 a.m. and Thursday evenings at 7 p.m. pacific. Learn more at the Good Vibrations: the Energy of Resilience facebook page, check out the Healing link on this site or drop me a note by e-mail. I always love to hear from you.
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