I’m no longer lost in bed. I’ve emerged and am full on. The last two months of grieving and mourning have been very important. I truly believe we have to grieve and mourn our losses fully in order to emerge into life again. I just can’t up, up and go, go, go, all the time in response to hard things. I no longer have the energy for that, nor do I believe it is what is called for, from me.
I completely respect and honor all those who are called to the streets, the letter writing, the protests, and the full engagement with protests and responses to the overwhelming waves of legislation, legislators, and folks in power who are transforming, or attempting to, the landscape of our country and world. I’ve been one of those people, but I no longer am.
I’m an Unruly Mystic, like Hildegard of Bingen and many, many others. I do my work deep inside and in prayer. I actually sing to the earth and the water. I don’t just want them to be safe, I enter into conversation with them and I mourn or delight with them as I would with you. I also do my work by cooking for folks who are sick, or visiting folks in jail or at the hospital. I escort friends to surgeries or support them in their times of need. I participate fully in my community and show up there.
I respond to anger and bigotry with love and kindness, as best I can.
I am very sensitive to other people, to all people, and to the earth. I’ve written extensively about my empathic nature. It is very hard for me to be around large groups of folks, unless I am in a prayer space or context. Anyone who knows me, knows if they sit next to me, I will start touching them, massaging a hand or a foot, or I will offer nourishment of some sort. I can’t help myself. This is part of my engagement with Tikkun Olam/Mending the World.
I can and do receive from folks as well, it’s not a one way street. The flow between people gives me tremendous energy. While I no longer feel able to be in huge crowds, even one or two people will make me feel energized.
So, for those of you, deeply in the news flow and riding the wave of information that is streaming in every media form, I offer an alternative. Be in that place as long and as often as you wish to be or feel you must. But don’t be there 24/7. It’s not the only place you can have agency and power. It’s also important not to constantly be stimulated or fearful. It’s just not good for our brains, bodies or hearts. Fear and constant stimulation are not healing, helpful or useful for long periods of time.
We should be fearful when we are threatened, or those we love, or the causes we are aligned with are threatened, but we can’t live in fear. Information is more complex. There is no clear stream of it. All of the media we are receiving is clouded and murky, colored by someone’s need to get the spike in our heart-rates up first and faster than the next guy. Unless you are actually reading a newspaper, journal, or a long, well-researched article or book about a subject, you are not getting the full picture. Even then, there is bias.
So, how do we proceed? I have no idea, but it doesn’t matter. I don’t need to know how to move forward or to have the whole thing figured out before I engage. I just have to put one foot in front of the other on my walk, or make sure I freeze 1/3 of every batch of soup I make so that there is always some in my freezer if someone sick needs any. We don’t have to watch every second of what is happening to be informed about what is happening.
I am moving forward into full engagement as myself, into the next few years. I know there will be more grieving to do, but there will also be more honoring and celebrating to do. Some of us are writing postcards on the Ides of March and sending them to the White House. This is something I can and am doing.
Here’s my post card, front and back.
So, I invite you to take a risk, jump in a body of cold water with a friend as a witness, immerse yourself in warm waters or cold ones, but immerse yourself and purify yourself of the violent and hateful speeches and rhetoric and ugliness. It will still be there when you emerge, but you won’t be as tainted by it.
Water is Life, use the living waters, wherever you are, and give thanks to the Creator and the river, stream, ocean, or lake. Living water is different from bath water, it needs to be flowing, so that you are in relationship and movement. Stagnant water will not do the trick, nor will an indoor swimming pool. If you are unable to immerse in a living body of water, immerse in your bathtub or hot-tub anyway. Do so consciously and don’t just sigh when you get in the water, think about what you are doing. Think about what you want to let go of and state it out loud. Get your face and hair and whole body under the water, be immersed. Do this three times. Then say a prayer of thanksgiving for the water.
The traditional prayer after we do a Mikveh is one of offering thanks to the Holy One, creater of the waters, for the gift of immersion and purification. Whatever body of water you are using, it’s all coming from the same place.
Mayim Chayim, Waters of Life. Water is life-giving in all of its known and clearly sustaining forms as well as in its hidden, wondrous, under the surface offerings. We can find hope and healing in water. Sing to the water, let the water know you are grateful and you care, this helps the water and it helps you. Then when you emerge, you truly will be born anew.