I’ve been seeing life’s twists and turns with new eyes.
I’m developing eyes for divine neutrality (aka grace, or acceptance, or It don’t make no never mind) in the face of challenges.
I’m not a divine neutrality black belt. I can’t embody grace on demand. I’ve tried to meditate and give and gratitude-list my way to peace of mind for years.
What I’m developing a sense for, increasingly reliably, is the ability to remember grace is present and accessible, even when I’m in the middle of melting down and feeling put-upon by conditions: most recently showing up as smoke, loss of power (that’s light, heat, refrigeration, and internet not to mention my sense of feeling personally empowered).
Even pushed hard beyond my comfort zone, driving around town feeling like a ’60s Soviet Moscow woman trying to find basic necessities before the utilities get shut down, even then, moments of divine neutrality — resilient, graceful moments — are abundant simply for the seeing.
Divine Neutrality’s been the core of my deepening awareness in 2019, and like many insights, this one started with my physical body. I have autoimmune diagnoses and those of the musculo-skeletal type. For nearly half my life, I lived heedless of my own safety and that of others, which resulted in physical damage (mostly but not exclusively to myself).
I’ve lived longer than I ever planned to. By a lot. Long enough to have gone more than a few rounds with critical illness and crippling pain.
In January, a no-joke, long-lasting back spasm descended, probably induced by a yawn, or a stretch. The floor got very far away. Straightening up from sitting took a minute or more. I was in a shit-ton of pain.
I was discouraged and pissed. So I enrolled in a yoga class(!). (Talk about inner wisdom; I was surprised too.) First class: It took a long and painful time to get down to the mat, and I promptly fell asleep. Woke up in a ton of pain and as I lay there this thought came to me:
Divine neutrality: Sensations and processes in my body aren’t the boss of my state of mind.
Cut to autumn. The weekend before my birthday and the online sacred Remembrance Circle I’ve scheduled for that day — Saturday, November 2nd. (More details at the end of this article.)
Which means it’s October in Sonoma County and thanks to the climate crisis, the usual fire season is now more like fire-catastrophe season. And it was time for me to devote my energy to stuff I’d really rather not have to think about let alone deal with.
I didn’t like a lot of of what reality offered this last week.
- My housemate called from her layover to say she wasn’t going to come home on the day the power was going to be cut off. This triggered the meltdown I mentioned above. I yelled, she responded in kind, we got over it. (Coulda been worse.)
- I threw away food. I hate throwing away food. I tossed $60 worth of smoked fish. And more. (Coulda been worse.)
- The air quality was in the purple. I hate wearing a mask; not a good look and my glasses fog. (Coulda been worse.)
- I packed my first-ever evacuation bag and had to consider what to save. Which, since I downsized hard in 2017, would be everything or nothing.
But I didn’t leave. And I seem to have survived. So far.
Instead I kept offering bed/couch space, even when it was dark and cold in my house. And continued to offer when the power came on. I stayed put, in the uncertain October days, in my town, with my neighbors. I visited with, and walked with, and talked with, and texted with my badass resilient Sonoma County friends and loved ones.
I soothed myself with double my usual sugar intake during the days of no power (coulda been much worse!). And I celebrated the return of the local market (warm fresh food in the steam table) and thrift store when they got their power back. I even found me an exquisite rayon dress for $9.
And I felt grateful, reasonably graceful, and pretty freaking resilient, without trying too hard. Actually, without trying at all.
Join me on Nov. 2nd, for a sacred Remembrance Circle.
Honor your beloved dead.
This is the time of year — autumn in this part of the world, sliding into increasing darkness — when many traditions invite you to honor your ancestors, those who came before you.
From Yom Kippur, through Samhain and Day of the Dead, you’re reminded to name and honor your beloved dead.
Come celebrate this potent season with me. Join me in a safe and sacred circle (no recording). We’ll honor our ancestresses together. Bring pictures and stories of lessons you’ve learned, memories (the sweet ones and the not-so-sweet), what you cherish. Share your journey with and through grief. Share what you want to make sure to pass on and what ends now.
Join me in a sacred hour of honoring your line.
It’s so potent when we do this together. Even when the circle is a virtual one.
Apologies to my sisters in the southern hemisphere. Even though the light is growing for you instead of waning, I invite you to jump on the call.
Free. On Zoom. Saturday, November 2nd, 4pm PDT https://zoom.us/j/268355559