SUMMER THRU END OF 2020 - SETTLING IN TO UNCERTAINTY & THE UNEXPECTED
One day in 2020 (it varies for each of us), we woke up to a very different world. We didn't understand exactly just how different it was until we began to navigate day by day, sometimes moment by moment. We are in a period of destruction and transformation - from a way of life that was - to one that will be new and different; and, one that is unknown on some level. As we traverse through these uncertain times, I offer these suggestions for reflection or journaling. I continue to add to them periodically. They were inspired by 2020 events, though they apply to life at any time. Feel free to tune if they call to you.
I have heard so many touching stories of individuals who are not only grieving the loss of loved ones during the Covid pandemic, though are so upset that their loved ones were alone when they died. Due to safety concerns, they were not allowed in the hospital and perhaps busy medical personnel were not even present. He died alone. She passed without anyone there. These are words that seem to make the loss so much more painful.
Dying alone seems to be another theme of 2020. And I believe there is a message for us.
Reflecting on the passing of my own son three years ago, I know that even though there were no family members present, he did have medical staff with him. So he was not completely alone. However, I did feel very much alone in the grieving process, even wondering at times why I was still living and he was not. I did receive some notes or perfunctory texts from a few, though there were so many friends I did not hear even a word from - people who had known him, whose kids hung out together, who were neighbors when he was growing up... not a word. In our culture, we are not well-practiced in knowing how to be with death and grieving; and, as a result, many choose to stay away from it. It is simply easier.
Through this deeply painful alone time of grief, I came to realize that I was going through a profound transformation. I was waking up to seeing people and life in a way I had never seen before. Most importantly, I began to understand my true essence and beauty; and, realized more than ever that I was not alone. I connected to myself. I connected to my spirit and my soul. I connected to the earth and creatures around me. I connected to my helping spirits and my ancestors. I connected to my God.
I can't help but think that the loved ones who have passed during this year of 2020 who were noted as having died alone, were in fact very much not alone.
Furthermore, this theme of dying alone is facilitating a shift. I believe we are all being invited to understand and to connect at a much deeper level - to that which is our true essence; as well as, to that which is part of much bigger wheels in motion.
I can't breathe! is a theme of 2020 - from the Covid effects, to George Floyd, to the fires in the west.
The lungs are said to be the area where we hold grief. Grief is defined as deep sorrow, especially caused by death. Whether physically or metaphorically speaking, I believe that we are all experiencing death and transformation. We are all grieving as we say good-bye on some level to a 'life' that no longer exists and to a world that will never be the same.
Collectively, we've been forced indoors to look inside ourselves, to face our fears, to truly see our realities, and to dance with our 'shadow' or that which we've been denying or hiding. As my son said, we have each gotten off our rat wheels and are having to slow down and wake up to the life we are living, as well as to the world in which we are living.
How has 2020 changed you and what are you awake to right now? As you reflect and/or journal, pay attention to your lungs. Notice how they move with each breath. Breathe into your sides, your back, your chest... Breathe a little more fully with each breath.
Take good care of your lungs as you grieve. As I write this, we still have 3 and 1/2 more months to go in 2020. And 2021 holds no guarantees.
I am in the middle of another human cadaver study (via online streaming) with the brilliant Gil Hedley (the same person who led my in-person study at Rutgers Medical). This is his 450-something human cadaver study and I am in awe at how he (and thereby we) discovers new things every time. He is like a wide-eyed kid as he marvels at the beautiful wisdom he gains with each and every body. He speaks to the uniqueness of each body. As he says, each one of us is "spinning the theme of human" in our own way. And believe me -- seeing and experiencing the human body in cadaver form does not at all look like the pictures in medical and educational books!
Yesterday, he said the liver is just as unique as the features on one's face. Pause and reflect on your own liver. Put your hands on and under your right breast and breathe. It is there, in that vicinity, performing approximately 500+ vital functions. All the blood leaving from the intestines and stomach passes through the liver. The liver assists in creating nutrients and metabolizes drugs into a form that the body can use easier; and, it plays a vital role in the immune system by removing bacteria and making immune factors.
IF YOUR LIVER IS VERY UNIQUE, I ASK...HOW CAN A PHARMACEUTICAL DRUG POSSIBLY BE GEARED TOWARD YOUR UNIQUE BODY, YOUR UNIQUE LIVER? And given your immune system, is the drug creating more havoc than good?
I had someone recently share with me that she had been on anti-inflammatories for years and yet she was still experiencing the same condition that brought her to the doctor in the first place. Furthermore, according to the doctor the use of the anti-inflammatories likely had led her to high blood pressure (the doctor subsequently put her on a blood pressure medicine in addition to the anti-inflammatories). Woh. Why the continued use of anti-inflammatories which are intended for short term use? Why mess with the heart? And what is going on in the liver and possibly the immune system in this situation?
With this pandemic, I think we are missing the chance to focus on our immunity and what is implied in keeping it sound - you simply don't read much about this in the headline news.
I recently read where approximately half of all Americans take one prescription drug with 40% taking 3 or more; and, these numbers increase significantly in older age brackets. If you are one of these individuals who take prescription drugs, put your hands back on your liver and breathe deep breaths. Think about the drugs you take. Why do you take them? Are they working? Are you taking additional drugs to boost or help with another drug? Are you experiencing any side effects? What is your liver having to do to metabolize your drug(s)? What might your body be trying to say to you regarding the reason you are taking the drug? Are you being empowered to make some sort of shift in your life?
Take good care of yourself and 'be decent' to others is what I've been telling my clients.
Yet, it is quite remarkable to see the chaos unfolding in all areas of our reality.
This virus is not made up. It is real.
It is not something to fear.
It is something to respect.
There is so so much we do not know.
The world seems upside down. We are going through a reset.
And I truly believe the virus is here to facilitate us to wake up...big time...
It is shining a bright light on all that is broken, including our collective systems and structures; and, on all of our internal systems and structures.
Floor boards have been pulled up exposing all the dirt. Closets are wide open with skeletons pouring out.
What a beautiful invitation that is to change...to transform into something much better.
What if each of us woke up every morning and rather than get swept away by the news of complete chaos and sometimes madness... instead, we paused and focused on our passion, recognized our individual power - what we are capable of and what we are here to do, while at the same time began to dance with our own shadow...
What if each of us took baby steps every day to then show up and respond (rather than react)... with our highest and best self...
What would that look like to you personally?
Today marks the anniversary of the sudden death of my 21 year old son. Everything that transpired around that day is still so fresh in my mind -- a day that marks the beginning of a chronic "pain" for me. With each passing year (this is third anniversary), I glean more wisdom and insight. And for that I remain grateful...and hopeful.
I have both friends and clients who have been through tragic events in their lives...deaths, diseases, loss... and for most of us, we all have one thing in common...more than ever, we are awake and aware. Tragedy gives one a very different perspective on life and the lives of others. And our learning and growing is on fast-track.
We are awake and aware to the over-concentration of trivialities; the self-absorbed egos; and the disrespect most have for all that inhabits this earth including for our own bodies. We also know that we often have no idea what is really going on in people's lives.
Navigating through 2020 is challenging for us all, though some are more awake than others to the fact that this is the chance for us to press 'the reset button' and step into something that is better and more sustainable for all.
When I was six years old, our neighbor's home burned to the ground from a faulty electrical system. It was a very memorable event for me and I can still 'see' those powerful flames soaring from the house two doors over and 'smell' that odd combination of wood and chemicals. I remember that the brick chimney remained intact, a solid foundation that became the cornerstone for the rebuilding.
2020 is shining a bright light on all the systems and structures that are broken (including our own internal structures). It is about destroying the old in order to rebuild the new. That being said, we cannot erase history or erase our past. Additionally, we do have some 'brick chimneys' or part of the foundation that is okay or even good from which we can rebuild. Not everything has to be eradicated or die completely. There are elements of wisdom in many structures.
To begin, we have to look at the 'skeletons in our closets'; and, pull up the rugs, even the floor boards to see the 'dirt' underneath.
What is there for each of us to see? Rather than deny it or run from it or be guilty about it or be righteous about it, we have to face our role in it. None of us is a victim. Every single one of us plays a part in what is not working, in what is broken. Sometimes we get lost in all the emotions surrounding it; or get too 'heady' analyzing and talking about it all; or, react quickly rather than respond with well-though out intentions. And it is not so simple to see all the layers of brokenness - there are many systems and social structures that are not working. The unsustainability of it all is crashing down on us - and each and every one of us has to wake up, become aware, and shift in big ways.
What is there for me to see today?
There is so much disagreement, so much polarization among thoughts right now.
Imagine for a moment...
That there are elements of truth to everything we hear.
That there are elements of falseness to everything we hear.
That leaves a lot of uncertainty.
And with that uncertainty comes a great deal of discomfort. That is likely a reason many are holding on to one way of thought with strong conviction and steadfastness.
"Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one." ~Albert Einstein
Simply put, we do not know right now.
The truth is soooo much wider than any one train of thought.
We are going through a huge transformation.
We are having to go through this process to uncover so much about who we are as individuals,
and who we are collectively as humanity.
We cannot go back.
Things will never be the same.
As I have been saying all along...
It's about so much more than a virus.
Systems and structures, including our own, are being broken down.
At the same time, some element of the structure remains.
And all the while, there are rules that are changing at rapid speeds, yet are there to be respected.
What is one fixed belief you are holding on to?
Where did you get this belief?
Also, think briefly back to your early childhood, your mother, your first connection...not just the bad or the missing, the positive too.
How would you do it differently if you were mothering yourself?
Notice how your body feels when you think about fixed belief(s)
or early childhood.
Don't analyze it.
Breathe focused and intentional breaths.
Get up and walk
or move about.