The week’s madness, following our peaceful holidays, was profoundly unsettling and left me feeling desolated, abandoned by the joy I normally choose to meet the new day.
Like so many others, I was shocked, saddened, and utterly unsurprised that we had arrived at this terrible moment. We lost 5 lives, including U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick; the People’s House was entered illegally and violently, and desecrated; members of Congress, most of them trying to uphold our democracy, were imperiled; and all of this was done by a deluded mob unable to disentangle bizarre fabrication from fact, led by a madman and his enablers. It seemed a most disheartening way to meet the New Year, given our many preceding months of loss, depleted energy, and low tolerance for yet more disappointment.
And there was no peace in being right, in forecasting this would be the likely result of putting a man so small, offensive, corrupt, and incapable in a position that demands a working intellect, wisdom, and a finely-calibrated moral compass. But his spectacular failure, 4 years of it steamrolling through our democracy, flattening our spirits, severing ties, cheapening everything held precious, has been nonetheless stunning. And the weakness and complicity of too many made this week’s events a probable reality. We told them this would happen; we tried to prevent it; they refused to seize the moment and rid us of him last year; here we are.
So, I suppose my response should also have been predicted: We-knew-this-would-happen-outrage, followed by grief, and then long hours of sleepless desolation.
Desolation can be a proper response to the events of Wednesday’s evil, and it can be illuminating, but it is not where we’re meant to reside. “Enthusiasm,” after all, means “in God,” or the delight of conscious intimacy with what we believe to be sacred, and so, identifying an absence of joy indicated I needed rebalancing and required consolation.
Long years of pursuing spiritual health and integration has taught me life is a journey of continual discernment, where the integration of heart and mind, emotions and reason, is vitally important to our choices and actions. What am I feeling? How is it experienced in my body and breath? And what are the “right actions” with which to respond? Where is Love leading me? What is the movement? Where am I being pulled? What am I resisting? What do my choices ask of my gifts? How do each of the choices before me serve Love and all the relationships it’s led me to form? Art work: music, movement, writing, painting, sculpting, photography…anything deeply right-brained can help us through discernment, as can contemplation/meditation, and a form of exercise that works for you. I especially favor walking and yoga.
I stilled and listened. And looked to the magical wintry Earth, waiting for me.
The new year has blessed us with many days in a world flocked with rime ice, coating every stark surface revealed by winter. We experienced several evenings of freezing fog, which allows supercooled water droplets to be held as liquid within the fog, even though the air temperature is below the freezing point (32º F). Once the droplets freeze onto surfaces, a white deposit of exquisitely feathery ice crystals forms rime.
I grabbed my camera, and Phillip and I headed to the nearby state park to hike and and heal. It is a precious sweetness to have a companion so blessedly matched to my mind, heart, and spirit. The years have smoothed our differences and deepened our respect; we are content to be who we are with each other and that is gift. So, together, we roamed the land where others discerned their life questions a thousand years ago, roamed the landscape of our hearts, and observed the beauty of rime ice clinging to forms, and offering its art, freely.
And, as always, walking healed and rebalanced our spirits. And, from a point of balance, it was easier to see ways that the horror in our nation’s capital was met with an equal amount of blessing: for example, resolute leaders working through the night to ensure the country’s rightful and necessary transference of power. And when that transfer is complete, it will include a Congress enriched by two new members who will allow the wheels of legislation to turn once more and actually take care of our country’s people and the Earth during this perilous time of pandemic and climate change, when everyone’s gifts must be equally welcomed to the table. And we have vaccines that will save lives, if we can remain patient.
And when we arrived home, a package waited at the door. My dear friend in the UK had sent it six weeks ago, and she had been so very concerned about its confusing journey and the increasingly likely fact it wouldn’t arrive by Christmas. I kept assuring her it would arrive when it needed to…and it absolutely did.
The poor box looked like it had been drop-kicked, several times. It had holes, crumpled sides, dented edges, and ribbons and ribbons of packing tape, applied in what surely must have been a final effort to support its survival. I really doubted anything inside would be intact, but there you go: just when your spirits need lifting, Love comes through. Inside was an oil diffuser and a box of glass-bottled oils, and both items were in perfect condition. Literally, tools for re-balancing, arriving at exactly the right time.
We’re moving on. We’ll get through this; we’ll survive and do better. And there is much to be done. The majority of the voters in our democratic republic have decided the course we’ll follow for now. All are welcome at the table, and, if some choose to refrain from participating, the door remains open, but moving on also means moving away from here and now. I hope those who are struggling will travel with their own discernment, heal, and join us. We need their gifts.
In the church year of my faith, Ordinary Time settles in after the joyful rhythms of Advent-Christmas-Epiphany, and its presence is most wonderfully welcomed by my spirit this year. I yearn for all things ordinary: For a country that’s healing and a government that works. For anticipated, unmasked, open-armed reunions and new gardens. For traveling. For a peaceful exchange of ideas. For healing walks and an appreciation of the Earth’s simple and complex wonders. For meeting new people, at restaurants. For neighbors and families in joyful relationship, and for the surprise of perfectly-timed gifts.
Happy. New. Year. Be safe and well.
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