There is something about spring and this whole time of year that seeps into my lethargic, winter-dulled mind. When I think I’ll never get rid of that heavy parka, boxer-style mitts, scarf and earmuffs — poof! New life erupts in birdsong, tree buds, and an overall friskiness in the wildlife out there. It’s Easter for many — with its symbols of life coming from death, love and light rising victorious over darkness and sin. Every single year, like clockwork. The seasons don’t last, they turn over.
We have seasons in our lives too. Some of them are brief and giddy, riotous with color and flavor — like the besotted honeymoon period. Don’t we wish that kind of joy could last forever! We also have longer, heavier and slow-moving periods, like when we, or someone we love, is struggling with chronic or life-threatening illness for which there are no quick or easy answers. It is so hard for human beings to be in a state of uncertainty, to have long chunks of seemingly never ending time, where we mostly wait, ... and wait, and wait some more! We want an answer from the universe, something that will move us from this stuck, dry and seemingly colorless place into a new season — one with more choices, new roads to take that beckon and enliven.
Like everyone, I long for the pandemic to be over, to see our dear ones living so far away. Just to connect more freely in person, share a meal, and hug and kiss our hellos and goodbyes. Remember that? I don’t think I appreciated how precious those connections were. I hugged a close friend I hadn’t seen in forever, just recently. It was against the COVID guidelines, but we both had our masks on, and were so utterly delighted to see each other, we spontaneously took the risk. With the warmth of that hug, the smell of my friend’s hair, and the strong beating of our hearts, my spirit leaped with joy and tears threatened. How had I ever taken this simple, but so special connection for granted?
Ivanla Vanzant has a book she published years ago, called “In The Meantime”. If I’m remembering it correctly, it consists of mostly prayers, to help us through those long blocks of time, when it feels like our lives are literally on hold. Life, as we knew it, changed dramatically, and there is no new “normal” as yet that has emerged from it. We had gotten used to living fairly fast-paced lives, and in that place of in-between, we are often forced to slow way the heck down, leaving swaths of time of relative inaction. And when we’re not doing, our brains fire away, filling up those empty spaces!
We can be in that desert-like place, worrying and obsessing, trying to control what we have no agency over. I was in the habit of doing that for well over 60 years, and have found it unhelpful and an incredible waste of energy that can take a real toll on my health. So how do you change this? First off, I know now that loving and accepting myself for having these feelings is Step # One. Our survival brains have been programmed to react this way. It’s human and it’s natural, not to mention very useful sometimes. So it has its place — but I really don’t want to stay there, ongoing.
So I tap down the intensity of my feelings with EFT, breathe slowly and deeply, and tune into the many supports that are always there for me if I direct my attention there. As I calm and move into the parasympathetic “rest and digest” part of my nervous system, my thinking and creative brain lights up. I am more in the present moment, where I am indeed safe, and look out at the world with eyes that see, and ears that hear. Our perspective can change beautifully when we bask in the ever-present love around us, and acceptance of the now.
People sometimes think there is not much life in a desert. There is, of course, but you have to look for it and find it! Birds nest inside the sequoia cactus, to escape the worst of the day’s fierce sun and dryness, and to feast on insects. There are plants there, their dull colors blending in with the surroundings, so they are barely noticeable. But it still rains on occasion, even in a desert, and boy, does the landscape ever change! I once went to a sunrise ceremony just outside Sedona, Arizona. It had rained the night before, and drops of moisture clung to leaves, sparkling like diamonds in the sun. There was more color in the plants themselves, and the occasional flower blooming here and there. Everything looked so fresh and alive. It felt to me like one of nature’s little miracles. You just never know when it’ll happen, and my appreciation for that gift just filled my heart with joy.
During those more difficult “dry spells” in our own lives, besides using our favorite methods to return our body/mind/spirits to a state of peace and calm as often as we need to (building great habits!), it helps enormously to be observant and fully present for any little miracles that show up unexpectedly. When our 4 year old grandchild says the cutest things over a video-chat that we talk and laugh about afterwards, my deep sorrow at not holding her since she was 11 months old takes a back seat. And when it returns, it has softened a great deal, as I bask in gratitude for the delight of that unexpected gift!
Sometimes we ask God or “Universal Love” for a mighty big, seemingly impossible miracle. My dearest friend has been struggling to heal from Stage 4 cancer for over a year and a half. I ask, putting it out there in the universe, then I leave it with that Wisdom that sees and knows so much more than we ever will. As we wait, and the days go by, I don’t want to miss out on any “little” miracles. The chance to spend more time together and deepen our relationship in unexpected ways. The extraordinary coming together of an army of caring helpers, who share their love for her in the ways she needs it most — food, lawn and garden care, sitting with, and a plethora of healing modalities. A big miracle (to me) is watching my friend accept and receive all that love, when her entire life has been in the service of others.
Of course there are tremendous difficulties and challenges, but this is still — someway, somehow, a beautiful and sacred time for her and all who love her. I am SO open to the “big” miracle of her healing from cancer, but I am grateful for the many little ones that fill these “In the Meantime” days. They are the precious moments of love and connection that are not restricted to chronological time or geography. They will outlive every one of our corporeal journeys, lasting forever in memories and passed on from one generation to the next — perhaps the biggest miracle of them all!
I am excited, and just a wee bit nervous about starting a Blog. A book is edited and re-edited till the cows come home, until I feel comfortable with both the message and the tone or “feel” of the piece. If I did that with a blog, I don’t think I’d ever get it out there! It’s more of a “state of the moment” sharing --- what I’m thinking or feeling about a topic that I judge may resonate with my readers, very specifically from a present moment perspective. This will not be a daily, or even necessarily weekly offering. I will write when I feel moved by the Spirit to do so!