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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DEATH and LIFE

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Written 9.10.18                                                 Engulfed in Darkness by Beki                                          

 

Death knocks at our doors many times in a lifetime. Death is the end of a state of being. It is more often than not, a vibrational shift, a monumental transition, or a gentle one. We are meant to die so that we can live, again and again and again, a new reality. An expanded evolved self is born of the death of what was, so that something new can emerge. Life is simply not possible without the ever-expanding, life-giving storm of death.

Each time the ending comes near, bravely step into the hurricane of energy that is whirling your way and open your arms and your heart to embrace the fullness of its offering. Feel the winds of death whip across your face and envelop your body and scream, wail and sink into the fullness of its force. Do not resist! For it will have you anyway. Dive in and feel the wholeness of it and know at the core of death is LIFE, renewed, NEW and full of the potential of all that you have ever desired. At the core of death is life and Love, the love that has no opposite but is defined by the plethora of seemingly opposing energies that are really LOVE disguised. For Love loves death as much as It loves life. It sees the Beauty of death. The end of what was, so that what is and what is being created in this very moment can emerge from the depths of the womb that hold the seeds of new life.

So I urge you to face the fear of death. Walk into the fear of your yesterday that keeps nagging at you to stay safe and stay where you are. Live beyond the limits of your fear and step into the fray of wild and whirling Love in all it’s unpredictable forms. See the truth of Love in all that shows up. The beauty that lies at the core of everything. Welcome the ending that death offers as you hold the awareness that new life emerges from this surrender, this release, the last breath of an old way.

http://www.bekiart.com

Weathering Flo

Interestingly, just one year ago I posted a blog about navigating Hurricane Irma. Now my muse is Flo, and she inspired this expression of my inner contemplation. We keep getting the opportunity to face life’s challenges and to see how we have evolved. 

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Painting: The Vortex, oil on canvas by Beki

Sept. 16, 2018

Years ago I stopped watching TV and especially avoided mainstream news sources. My choice to do so was a response to my own Inner Guidance System (IGS) that is always sending signals of what actions to take and decisions to make. It is tailored for me. Indicators are offered by how I feel and the only way I can get an accurate read, is by removing myself from the outside hurricane, and enter into the stillness and quiet of my own inner connection to the Divine. Long ago, my IGS sent me the message that I was to remove myself from the outer storm in order for me to find the Eye/I of my inner being, which is Peace.

I trust that I will receive the information I need to make an aligned and wise decision, without entering the fray of media and its unsavory approach to sensationalizing the facts and science with way too much extraneous data. The media is emotionally manipulative and I simply do not want to put myself through that mental/emotional storm, especially in the middle of a literal one!

Hurricane Flo(rence)just passed us by. She whirled and danced out at sea for many many days and the mental storm began as the reporters and politicians built up the emotional drama that obscured so many of us from the simple facts of an unfolding track of when and where the storm would hit the Southeastern coast of the United States. As a resident of Charleston, SC, I am accustomed to the threats of hurricanes, and we often sit and observe the possibilities of the forces of nature heading our way, like the slave ships from the middle passage. I always feel this eery awareness of the track these hurricanes take, following a profoundly painful storm of emotion from captive African people past, traversing the Atlantic, not knowing what lied ahead. Could it be that these wild and powerful winds that take this path, are cleansing the auric field of the waters of our earth, to release the pain and trauma held in this part of the body of our great Mother?

As a vibrational healer, that uses the healing modality of Reiki, a form of healing touch, to help shift blocked energy in the body of the client, I have experienced how people store trauma in different parts of their physical and etheric bodies. The energy needs to be moved, shaken up, acknowledged, and felt, so that is can be released, transmuted, transformed. Could it be that the winds of nature are cleansing the blocked energies that are held in the earth and in the consciousness of humanity?

What I am most interested in contemplating right now, is how we can weather the emotional mental storms that come our way. How do we navigate the assaults that seem to come from outside of us and we have no control of? How do we find the peace in the chaos, and find our inner Eye/I of the hurricane?

Charleston was virtually untouched by the physical storm for the most part. A mandatory evacuation was ordered on Monday September 10th, which truly was too soon to really predict the path of Florence. Today it is Sunday, almost a week later, and we have barely gotten any rain. Hysteria began and the inner storm in the minds of the people on the coast raged, especially as they sat in front of TVs for hours of non-stop coverage, that espoused emotional language that would undoubtedly incite fear. Words like a “Beast of a storm’, ‘ a monster’, ‘the storm of a lifetime.’ I got glimpses of the onslaught. I retreated the best I could, and attempted to meditate, and listen to the Divine Guidance within me that never steers me wrong. It was challenging, but I managed pretty good, to still feel the Peace of my soul. I consulted sources that were offering information without the drama, so that we could make decisions based on fact, and not the fear-based emotions that whirled around me.

The dance of Flo was unpredictable and as it is with most forces of nature, she reminded us that we are really not in control. We can do our best to try to predict and control the world around us, but the deeper lesson for me from Flo is that I best learn to go with the flow, or I will be whirling around in a mental storm that robs me of the very Peace that I AM. Flo is a reminder of how we are always navigating these mental storms and that with intention and consciousness, we can commit to the Peace that resides at the center of all hurricanes. The peace that resides at the center of our own being. If we cultivate this commitment to Inner Peace then when we embark out into the whirling chaos of the world, we can bring this powerful force of Divine nature with us, and we can indeed have a positive influence on the climate around us.

I am grateful for Flo, and all the hurricanes of life, that prompt me to practice Peace with deep intention and focus. I am grateful that I did not need to experience the Eye of Flo this time but received her gift in a gentle way. Each of us affected by the presence of Flo whirling towards our coast, had our own personal experience. Some lives were impacted in very profound and tangible ways, with physical loss involved. More of us were pulled into the mental and emotional storm to weather in our own way.

How did you weather the storm? Can you see the gift she left at your doorstep? How will you BE the next time you encounter a storm, whether it is literal of metaphorical? I encourage you to seize this opportunity to contemplate these questions, so that you may ride the wave of the alchemy that is offered by all of life’s challenges.

In Love and Oneness and deep gratitude,

Beki

The Inner Hurricane

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‘Eye of the Storm” oil on canvas, Beki

This has week has been utterly exhausting emotionally and mentally, as we and many more in the Caribbean, Florida and the South Eastern US have been watching the strongest biggest storm on record to plough its way through the waters crushing islands and threatening our safety, stuff and peace of mind.

Peace of mind is what I really want to address here. How do we cultivate an aptitude to inner peace, so that when life’s hurricanes, literally or figuratively, threaten our wellbeing, we are able to respond from peace rather than fear? Today is 9/11, an infamous day here in the US when the Twin Towers in New York City were reduced to rubble after 2 planes intentionally flew into them. It was shocking and devastating and rocked the sense of security Americans had felt in regards to such attacks. It shattered a collective sense of comfort and maybe a false peace of mind. 911 are the number we dial to call for HELP.

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How can we dial directly to the help that taps into the peace of mind that allows us to weather any storm that life delivers to us? Yesterday, in the midst of this whole experience of preparing for Hurricane Irma that was slowly turning west away from us, revealing that the personal threat to our town and home would be minimal, I grappled with my own inner storm. I woke up at 3 am to find my two sons and nephew ‘mesmerized’ in playing computer games together. It triggered a mini storm in my head that I seemed incapable of quelling. My initial internal venting entailed feelings of anger, indignation, irritation, hopelessness for humanity and the obsession with these glowing screens that give us this false sense of connection with each other, but actually rob us of the connection with the organic world of human contact and the beautiful earth we inhabit. Yes I went there! As a mother of 3 sons I have grappled with this feeling of frustration around the whole issue of video games and such for 20 years. It has definitely been one of those reoccurring concerns/thorns that has contributed to taking away my Inner Peace, uncountable times. Needless to say, the inner storm amidst the outer storm robbed me of much needed sleep.

I don’t want to focus so much on the issue of glowing screens here. What I am really interested in is the inner storms that can be triggered by thousands of stressful thoughts. Usually the thought is aligned with fear. Certainly the discomfort felt in preparing for a hurricane and watching the media coverage around the storm has the potential to cause as much angst as riding out the storm itself. It is the projection of a devastating future, fear future, that grips us. With the modern conveniences of glowing screens 24 hours a day, we have this thought that somehow we can control the outcomes by listening to the confusing, mixed messages offered, whether it is about the weather or diseases or politics. We cling to the messages hoping they will provide us with the guidance that will solve the problems that face humanity. Secretly we wish for the guidance to quell the storm in our mind, possibly even more than the condition that is causing it. Of course the true guidance we seek can only be found in the silencing of the fear-based chatter and to go to the True Source of all solutions.

Suffering stems from the thoughts, not the reality. I have suffered on and off this past week as we navigated the information about this outer storm. There were times I was able to consciously focus on peace and stayed away from the media as much as possible, but still would catch wind of fearful frequencies. Well, how could I miss them. The frequencies of the fear blew as strong as Irma’s winds. We are challenged to find a way to the inner peace, the ‘I’ of the storm, that is serene amongst the mayhem of life. This is the greatest challenge of the times, I feel. The distractions are unbelievable! How can we cultivate this Inner Peace instead of feed the fire of the Inner Storm?

While I do not know what the ultimate answer is for that question, I do know that I am on a journey of answering that for myself. Each of us needs to find our own way. It is the awareness and intention that is the first step. As we become aware of the source of our inner storm as the thoughts we think, then we realize that we can intentionally redirect the thoughts. What activity or practice can support you in redirecting thoughts? I walk in nature. I write, I paint. Sometimes meditation helps. Going to sleep is miraculous. What calms your storm? What nurtures the scared inner child? What soothes you back into alignment with the Source of your True Self?

peacePeace’, oil on canvas, by Beki

When I align with Love, with the Divine, with my Inner Being, the unlimited, eternal Self I feel a deep joyful peace. When I feel this peace, I do not feel fear. The two emotions cannot abide together. I recently heard a zen monk say, ” To be fearless really is actually being peaceful.” Unconditional Love is really being able to stay aligned with Love regardless of the conditions. Unconditional Peace, Joy, Love. This is the practice that brings freedom.

When I am able to live more and more from this cultivated, intentional place of unconditional Love, Peace and Joy then not only do I benefit from this freedom, but I have a chance to affect Peace in the world around me, one person at a time. My very presence will then have the potential to quell the storm within another, and another and another.