Resilience

Mind, Body and Soul. Acrylic on canvas. By beki

9.11.20

I live in the land of hurricanes and floods in the lush, green Lowcountry of South Carolina barrier islands. My sister lives on the other side of the country in the land of earthquakes, droughts and wildfires near the majestic hills and dramatic seascapes of California. 

In 1989 one of the strongest hurricanes plowed through my little city on the sea, leaving us with an apocalyptic version of Charleston and its surrounding lands. My husband and I were young and naive and casually bunkered down to ride out the category 5 Hurricane Hugo in our small townhouse in North Charleston. We had a tie-dye business at the time, which we operated in the open-air market downtown. We had all our handmade inventory packed in our car, which we unloaded daily to set up in the market. We did not even bother unloading it for Hugo’s arrival. We had no idea what we were in for as Hugo was raging out at sea with its eye on us!  

The experience was surreal. The pressure in the apartment was so intense that shampoo bottles were imploding, squirting the creamy gel out of closed tops. A tree fell on the roof and sprung a leak in my art studio, water pouring into a light socket in a big closet where I had my paintings stored. Fortunately we had grabbed a garbage can that was blowing around wildly in our front yard earlier as the storm began to ramp up and we were able to collect the water in the empty can. Since we had foolishly not filled the bathtub up with water, as they suggested on the news, that leak was our blessing in disguise. The water we collected served as our only source of water to flush toilets and bathe with for quite some time. While our neighbor’s car parked right next to ours was crushed by another fallen tree, our car was spared and our inventory was miraculously saved. 

While the devastation of property was disturbingly extensive, the demolition of nature was mind blowing and heart breaking. As we surveyed the damage for days to come, we were struck by how fortunate we were to be relatively unscathed, and yet horrified by what this storm had done to this beautiful part of the world we had come to love. I was devastated by the loss of trees more than anything. It looked like a war zone. We were without running water or electricity for at least a month I believe it was, perhaps more. After a couple weeks of primitive living, we packed up and drove to visit family up North. 

While in Canada we heard the harrowing news that there was a massive earthquake in the Bay Area of California, which is where my sister Sarah lived! Two natural disasters in the family within weeks of each other on the opposites sides of the country. How ironic. While it was traumatic and the destruction in the Bay was massive, Sarah was safe and so were her people. 

Our family was shook. 

In the last few years there has been a considerable increase in ‘natural’ disasters and we have braced for hurricanes every season without a break for the past four years. It is hurricane season right now, and so far we have not had a scare for my town yet, but it has been a very active season. We still have about a month or so and I am praying we will get a break. However, as I write, my sister and her world are experiencing wildfires that are raging all along west coast of the U.S. which is profoundly effecting the air quality in the Bay Area where she and her wife live. They cannot go outside to breathe the air. This is happening all in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, a disease that impacts the airways and the ability to breathe.

Wildfires have been a problem across the globe, threatening life, land, livelihoods, and most poignantly, the air we breathe. Could it be poetic justice. As humanity has clumsily, thoughtlessly, greedily, and recklessly plundered, pillaged and poisoned the earth, the air and the water, we are really feeling the consequences of our actions. Some still deny our part in tipping the balance of a complex and brilliant ecosystem that has sustained life for eons, yet most of us, dare I say, are waking up to the errors of our ways. One may wonder if Mama Earth might decide to shake us off like little pests before we do too much more damage. The truth is it will not take long for the ecosystem to recalibrate after removing us from the equation. The extinction of humanity would be a boon to the planet and the life forms that are in resonance with the natural flow of this planet. We had a glimpse of this during the global shutdown of the majority of human activity initiated as an attempt to slow the spread of the Coronavirus. Pollution dropped extensively, air clearing in areas that smog was so normal that wearing masks was commonplace. Within just days waters cleared. One of my favorite demonstrations of the effects of halting human activity was when over 100,000 flamingos descended on the big city of Mumbai, India during their annual migration! 

So there are two main things I want to address in this writing: the resilience of nature and the resilience of humanity. After Hurricane Hugo demolished my beloved city and countryside I lamented as to whether I wanted to move. For what I loved most about Charleston, that feed my Soul deeply, was the land. My heart broke for the broken trees and I had no idea how long it would take to resurrect its innate beauty from the death I saw everywhere in the barren land. Miraculously nature mended itself gradually and steadily. While we lost a lot, there were still many members of the tree family left standing including ancient oaks who have lived through more than we can begin to imagine. 

As nature mended itself and the lushness of the Lowcountry returned, the human communities banned together to support each other to rebuild homes and businesses. After tears, grief and gratitude, we rebuilt our world around us. Life is resilient! All of life. And we are a part of Life. We belong here and when we are at our best we love Life and we are generous stewards of it. When we are at our best we create beauty and honor beauty. When we are at our best we give freely and we love fully. When we are our best we add value, beauty and life to this precious world and earth we live in. 

As we mature from what seems like a brutal phase of teenage recklessness and our collective frontal lobe finally develops enough to be able to distinguish right from wrong with the wisdom of natural consequences as a guide, our parents will be able to breathe a sigh of relief. The Divine parents of Life know better than to interfere with the powerful learning process that comes from natural consequences. For unlike us human parents who try to control and protect rather than allow for the natural consequences to unfold, Divine Love knows the power of our resilience. It knows there is no loss in the grand scheme of things. Love knows we must learn from our mistakes, and that this is the way we evolve and expand. Our Divine Parents Love unconditionally. This Love transforms, creates and heals. 

No matter how surly and unlikeable our teenager gets, somehow some way, even in our conditionally-loving humanness we love them just the same. Fiercely. Could we expect any less from the Infinite Source of Love from which we all came? Could we consider that no matter how bad our behavior has been at times, no mater how unforgivable we may feel our actions, that we are still welcome in this place we call home. Mama Earth, Divine Love, Source, Allah, Yahweh, Vishnu, Mother/Father God love us all the same, in spite of our wayward ways. 

The real challenge we face is whether we can love ourselves and each other. This daunting task of changing our behaviors must begin with self love. The truth is that the homicidal tendencies seemingly rampant in human behavior is really a disguise for our suicidal wish. For how else could we continue on doing what we do to the earth making it more and more likely to be uninhabitable for human life if we did not have a subconscious death wish.

In 8th grade I wrote a speech on suicide and the only line I remember is the opening sentence. “Suicide is a call for help.” Is humanity calling out for help? In the midst of this chaos of emotion  reflected in the world around us, is it possible for us to forgive ourselves, and truly love ourselves and do the same for others? It is our only hope. If we continue this erroneous path of self-loathing expressed in all forms of violence, abuse, and recklessness, we may inadvertently, and perhaps even innocently commit mass suicide. For when we remember the truth of our interconnectedness, a genocide is suicide. Literally. When we kill another we indeed are killing a part of ourselves, on all levels: biologically, energetically, morally, spiritually.

So if you won’t forgive and love yourself for you, do it for me, for your beloveds and the ones to come. For all of humanity, for the sake of us all, please find it in your heart to love yourself. We do not have time to waste, wallowing in our self-critical nihilism. We have much too much loving and living and healing and creating and growing to do. For when the collective of humanity chooses to live, LIVE we shall! As we develop self love then not only will we demonstrate this love to ourselves but it will be natural to do the same with others and the planet. The outer word will become the reflection of the inner world vibrating with Love. We will allow ourselves to be nourished again by the Mother Earth and receive the natural bounty of her gifts with reverence and gratitude. We have learned from our mistakes and understand so much that we did not understand before. 

The lush, green land of South Carolina restored itself after ravaged by Hugo, cities crumbled by earthquakes have been rebuilt, rain falls on once cracked earth, soil regenerates when left untouched, families resurrect after centuries of slavery, a woman finds her voice after decades of abuse. We are fucking resilient! We can do this y’all. We can love each other. We can love ourselves. We can love and honor this beautiful blue planet we live on. We belong here. We belong here. We belong. 

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My Theory of Emergence

The Vortex. Oil on canvas. By beki

8.25.2020

I propose, from my own spiritual, creative, artistic point of view, my own theory of emergence. I have been contemplating this as I explore the germ theory versus terrain theory as we are in the throes of a global health crisis, the COVID-19 Pandemic, that hinges its existence and perpetuation on the stronghold of this idea of germ theory. It presumes that a germ, a pathogen, a virus, that lives outside us, can jump on us, projected from another person infected with this disease, and cause disease within us. 

This model of reality is entrenched not just in our story of biology, but our social structures and traditional western religious models that assume that we are victim to something outside of us that determines our fate. In my own journey of awakening, I have come to a deep knowing that the Source, we call God, is not a force outside of me, but a Divine essence that resides within me and within all of Life. This Essence is Love and permeates and animates all of life. I also have a felt knowing that we are all sovereign beings of divine proportion, creators with profound and unlimited power that we have become utterly and tragically unaware of. So much so, that we succumb to the belief that we can be crushed and obliterated by an inert virus that succumbs to 20 seconds of hand washing. We believe that if we can just keep it out of our bodies, we will be safe.

In spite of this truth that the Universe resides within us all with divine intelligence and benevolence, the story of separation that fuels the beliefs that we are alone, weak, vulnerable, sinners, and so on, has infiltrated our minds and highjacked our reality. These self-deprecating legacies, entrenched in the lore of humanity, have inspired a perception of reality that tells the terrifying stories of contagion that gave me nightmares my whole life. 

Now I sit in the midst of this nightmare, and I am forced to wake up or else I will drown in my own fear. 

My theory of emergence, reflected beautifully within the ‘New Biology’ that I have recently become very intrigued with, is that everything emerges from you: your body, your mind, your consciousness. As I was doing my morning mediation I thought about how love is something that we seek outside of ourselves all the time. We ache to be loved. But could it be that we ache to feel love or loved. Certainly outside conditions can inspire the environment for the feeling to arise within us, but love cannot be injected into us. Someone can be effusively loving us and unless we can feel it within us, the gesture of devotion can have no effect. Therefore it seems to me that Love lives within and when felt it emerges impacting all who are present to experience the emergence and expression of what was there all along. 

The terrain theory in biology postulates that it is the inner environment of the body that is most consequential when it comes to the ability for conditions of disease to manifest within the body. In a way the disease emerges from the body as a way to alert the person that there is imbalance within. I feel that this imbalance begins with the mind, the thoughts and beliefs, and slowly makes its way into the physical body as a form of inner communication. In this sense disease is not so much a negative event, but rather a  network of communication designed to wake us up to something either spiritually, psychologically, or environmentally that is out of balance. Disease is a mechanism to inspire awareness for rebalancing, homeostasis.  

I also believe that there are conditions expresses in one’s life and body that are inspired by a more mysterious source that allows the soul to experience the adventure it came forth to live. In this case, while the disease could be a way of indicating imbalance, it also could be called forth by the soul of the human for a profound and deeply desired experience that our human minds cannot make sense of. Some things we just simply cannot understand from the human perspective and certainly not from the logical mind divorced from the mystical heart of intuitive knowing. 

Yet, this terrain theory of what I would like to call emergence, feels kinder to me than the older theory of the germ. It offers an empowering story in which we are never victims of life. Rather, we are continuously being offered feedback from the universe of what we are holding within our mind and body that no longer serves us. Just like the belief system that embraces the law of attraction, and that we ‘create our own reality’, I recognize that both by intention and by default, I am participating in my life’s expressions. I choose consciously or unconsciously by my focus and my perception. 

When life feels completely out of my control, I have learned to surrender to my Higher Power that not only lives within all living beings, but lives within me. This act of surrender, in a way, is a declaration of my faith in my Divine Self and the Infinite Source that I am one with. This faith is emergent. It is not something that can be learned. It can be cultivated, but the seed of faith lives within each of us. 

I have come to understand the collective reality, not as something imposed on me, but as an opportunity to see how I am either in coherence or dissonance with that reality. I can then choose consciously how I will participate in the emergence of a desired expression of collective reality. As a Divine Being, I recognize that my expressed energy has an impact on the whole. 

What we embody we emanate. 

When I am intentional and conscious of what I am embodying, I am choosing to be a vector of Love, peace, wisdom, kindness, respect, reverence, patience, understanding. It is my desire to embody that which I yearn to experience reflected back to me from the world. This quality of being that naturally and effortlessly emerges from me, is always what is being reflected back to me. The feedback gives me clarity as to what I am embodying. 

When I am looking outside myself and striving to change the conditions/symptoms, that are really the feedback offered for self awareness and self-reflection, I will often feel the mounting fear and exasperation, victimhood and hopelessness that is the very thing aching within me and causing me to flail in the world of form to create change. 

While some things will seemingly be accomplished from this old way of creating change, the more effective approach to bringing balance and homeostasis to a diseased, chaotic world, is from the inside out. Heal the dis-ease within and embody the essence of what you desire to see reflected in your world and you will become a powerful force for change. The work to heal anything, indeed, comes from within each of us. It is profound, conscious work and often considered self-indulgent. Yet, as we enter into a broader and deeper understanding of life, where the spiritual, social, biological intersect, where all is interconnected, you will recognize the beauty of self-full consciousness as a potent elixir for collective transformation. 

So dear citizens of planet earth, consider this possibility. If you are in the throes of the coronavirus experience or any other threatening reality, take the time to go within and explore what in you is a reflection of the world outside of you. Each of us are experiencing this global condition in different ways. Each of us are triggered by different aspects of this drama. As you see your part in this collective expression, consider what you would like to change about your offering. What is it that you need to embody in you, that you would like to see expressed in the world you live in. As you become clear, you are able to stop projecting all that you fear or despise outside of you and allow yourself to feel how it lives inside of you. 

This courageous act of self awareness is a profound gift to yourself and the whole of Life. As you own this dis-ease, you heal it. For as long as it is outside of you, you will be helpless to heal it. You can only heal what is yours to heal. This self-love heals you. As you heal, you become an unhindered vector of Love that has more influence and impact on the world than any diseased part of yourself ever had. Your inner terrain becomes a field of Love and light and all that comes into your sphere ‘catch’ the virus of love and this is the energy that becomes  contagious. Love will spread like wild fire to all the expressions of life around you and then the rippling effect will be exponential. 

You will be a vision of glowing health that will light up the world with your inner flame so others become more awake and aware of their own Inner Light. So take the time to tend you your inner terrain. It matters. For it is the very space from which all matter emerges.