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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The Divine Disrupter

Written 3/30/2020

We are in the midst of a profound collective contraction, unlike any we have experienced for generations, within humanity. The Coronavirus Pandemic, that began in China some short four months ago has spread across the globe effecting every human on earth in some way. As a result, we are being revealed to a Divine Truth that cannot be ignored. Now more than ever we are experiencing the the Truth of our Oneness. We are feeling how we are intrinsically and intricately connected to each other. This is being felt in the most tangible and physical way. We are part of one body. Within the spiritual context, we are all a part of the One Source, the ‘body of God’. Within the human context, which is simply an extension of the Divine essence of who we are, we are part of the one body of humanity. Each of us, effect each other. We all matter. We are a part of each other, a greater whole. 

We have believed for too long that we are separate from each other, and on an island unto ourself. We have operated within the precarious bubble of safely based on a false premise that what I did, felt, said did not really matter beyond myself and perhaps my small inner circle. Many of us have believed that we really don’t matter, and that my presence or absence in this world does not have much of an impact on the whole. 

Now, as we navigate this massive global crisis, we are being asked to play a part in saving the lives of others within the body of humanity. We are being asked individually to recognize that our presence, our actions and choices, can have a profound impact on the whole. We are being literally revealed to the way in which we are an intricate part of the whole, in this case of humanity. At a Divine level, we are part of a greater whole, as individuated expressions of the Infinite Source of All.

We are being asked to physically distance from each other so that we can contain the virus from spreading unchecked to all parts of the whole, to mitigate as much damage as possible to  the bodies of humanity. We are being inspired to recognize our individual impact on the whole and take social responsibility for not just yourself and loved ones but for the global community. 

The CDC, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, has issued the recommendations for mitigating the virus with simple yet drastic measures: Hyper-vigilant hygiene practices and  ‘social distancing’. In a massive attempt to control human interaction, everything except essential services has been shut down, not just in the United States, but in countries across the world! It is an unprecedented effort that requires the cooperation, not just of the governments that implement and enforce the effort, but each household and individual within the family units. It is easy to ‘cheat’, because it is so incredibly against our nature to socially distance ourself. We are being called to become aware of how our bodies impact another. We breathe the same air as our brothers and sisters in China and Italy, Canada and Argentina, Iran and Russia, just as we breathe the air of our beloved. 

There has never been a time that it is so clear that humanity is one organism made up of billions of ‘cells’ that make up the whole. It seems to me, that it has never been more prudent that we recognize this and stop bickering with the other ‘parts of the whole’ as though they are not necessary elements of our wholeness. We have been at war with each other for so long and it is literally killing us. It is time to stop looking for someone outside of our own ‘body’ to create peace in the world and realize the power that each of us have as a critical part of this whole body of humankind, and make peace with the collective self. Our lives depend on it. When we hate, hurt, curse, abuse, disrespect another, we are in essence doing that to ourself.

Right now we are being called to act in unison, in cooperation, in harmony, so that we can find homeostasis. Perhaps this exercise of divine discipline will activate a new quality of being that reaches for yet a greater health of the human condition. Perhaps this Divine disruption will bring us to our knees ushering us into a prayer for a new possibility of a more unified humanity. Perhaps this intense and painful contraction will be the catalyst needed to birth a new consciousness that awakens us to the Divine Truth of our Oneness, that is expressed in our human interconnectedness. Perhaps our awakened consciousness will remind us of how we belong, not just to each other, but to this earth. Humanity is born of both the Divine dimension and the physical earth body. Perhaps we will not only realize intellectually, but viscerally, in the very core of our being, that the wellbeing of every part of this whole is essential to our wellbeing and that the wellbeing of our planet impacts the wellbeing of humanity. May we be inspired to a deep understanding that the wholeness of our brother and sister affects us all. Whether you love or abhor another, they are a part of you, and until we love all parts of ourself and integrate all of the facets of our being, then we will not be healthy and free. 

This journey starts and ends with the self. Until we heal, feel, integrate and love all parts of ourself and stop projecting our shadows out into the world of the apparent others, we will be spiraling in the illusion of separation and never quite land into the unconditional state of wellbeing and deep peace that is possible. 

So we have brought ourselves this Divine Disrupter in the form of a deadly virus that spreads like wildfires, like the frequency of fear that keeps us from embodying Love. We are being asked to love each other and ourselves enough to stay home, stop everything, get off the tread mill and perhaps consider what really truly matters in life. We have a profound opportunity, like never before, to initiate the sacred act of selfless service and recognize the service to the whole is always service to the Self and in turn, service to the Self is service to the whole. 

This is the sacred activism that is penetrating the old paradigm of separation consciousness and reminding humanity of their interconnectedness, their Oneness with all of life. In recent years this knowing has been activated by the many natural disasters throughout the world. Our Mother Earth has bore the brunt of delivering this divine disruption to awaken humanity, with fires and storms and earthquakes, floods and tsunamis, at a greater frequency and intensity than ever before. Now this virus infiltrates the lungs of humanity reminding us that we breathe as one and that we are truly in this together. 

So let us take this Divine opportunity and synchronize our breath, our movements and elevate our consciousness to the dance of beauty and brilliance that is possible when we collaborate as a global community. Let us love each other by following the collective measures intended to tend to the wellbeing of another and at the same time recognizing that this is the gift we give ourselves. Let us stay centered in Love, grounded in the nourishing heart of the earth, open in heart and embodied by Soul. Do this in your own sweet unique way. We need you now, more than ever. You matter. 

Love overcomes fear. 

Beki