I knew very well there would be another Shelter in Place Order coming. With the intuition of this rising Covid wave and the lives it would take, came that knowing. But like everyone else…I hoped I was wrong. That it would not shut things down again. Our county never made it out of the highest level in California, the purple zone, but I was still able to work for the last 5 months and that is a huge blessing. Even more for emotional well being, than financial, but both. Now it will be on pause again.
Fill up your tank with Joy, storm clouds are coming through. In dark and heavy times it is even more important to open my heart wide to simple healthy pleasures that water the seeds of joy. I booked two nights in my go to reflect and go deep place a whole 20 minutes from my house. Intuiting that shelter oder coming within days, I traveled twenty minutes from my house, to a spot that is an entirely different world. I open up the door to my room and am reminded of this…
Five little walks yesterday…three with the dog and two alone. Find your medicine and use it. Some may think of a trip like this as escape but I know it is simply selective watering. Instead of consuming news of the latest death toll, the latest grand chaotic denial in and out of the White House…I’m walking slowly feeling the earth beneath my feet on the way to the ocean. Imbibing the frothy rythym of the waves. Listening to songs, crying spontaneously as my heart opens and I feel…rather than being robotically numb.
Whatever seeds we water the most will grow. I need stability and freshness so I come to the sources that can nourish those seeds with in. Mother ocean, so constant and loving. So vast and mysterious. How did I spend so much of this year so far from her? Living so close to the ocean but not taking time to feel sand between my toes and see the setting sun.
Death is such a powerful teacher if we can actually acknowledge her presence. A dance of transition is a foot. And it is with humility I am listening to this ever changing music. Yes, you are working…no you can’t work…yes…well outside…no maybe not. In a while, perhaps. In a longer while, maybe. That beautiful reality of impermanence and uncertainty could actually become a dance partner if I allow it. Rather than an enemy to be vanquished and dominated so I can have my very safe and predictable life on my silver platter. How much more I cherish having a job, food, housing, friends, family…when I know they could be snatched into another adventure at any time. Death is the great awakener to life.
When I lived in Plum Village with the monastic and Lay community of Thich Nhat Hanh I heard of a nun that had received a cancer diagnoses. She was told she’d die within 6 months. Upon hearing that she was permitted to come to Plum Village where she wanted to spend her last days practicing with that community, living mindfully with what time was left her. However, she did not die in six months. Or two years. She fed the seeds of joy and practiced with a community that know how to live in simple, healthy ways. Her cancer went into remission. If you knew you just had six months to live…how would you spend your days, who would you reconcile with, what preparations would you make? Why wait?
During these Covid days…some are very sick and dying. Some are lonely. Some are over worked and at high risk. Some are losing their income…but where are you? We all have this moment to do the best we can with what we have in front of us right now. Knowing everyone is in a different situation.
As I intuited, I heard the word that our Shelter in Place for my county is being activated at 10 pm on Sunday night. But before I heard that news I got a message from my neighbor about a family up the street that had tested positive, a little boy, his mom and boyfriend that now are sick with Covid. So now all the children on the street who had been playing without masks will be wearing them. Everyone is handling this differently but the collective consequences are rising.
How can I be stable, calm and fresh for others in the coming days? By coming back to myself and taking care of my own suffering, nourishing the seeds of joy. Sometimes it’s time to let go of the wheel and trust the universe…in the grander scheme of things. I continuously give thanks for all the good and let it all the way in.
When I return home, later today there is the Chop Wood, Carry Water actions to take of being the grown up in the house. But from a completely different vibration, a vibration of gratitude and trust. Like reactivate my unemployment, as this will be my last weekend of work for at least a month. Take care of the chores. Clear space within and without and see what beautiful seeds I want to plant in the days to come. But first there is time for one more barefoot beach walk…