on trust

i woke this morning, needing to write my way back to my self. i listened. it began with this bit:

trust in self

you’ve slipped away

just as i drank in your warmth

and your calm moved through my being

the only thing to do was to witness your movement

and wait

knowing you will return,

quenching my thirst.

and then–sure enough!!– an opening to this out-pouring, leading me inward:

“of course, just as things are falling into place with the vision, i begin to stumble. fear’s horrid and familiar grip taking hold, it’s fingers around the neck of life. at first, i stall. knees shaking. seeds of uncertainty set in and the fertile ground of openness and curiosity allow them to settle. there is some accommodation…maybe this is not the smart thing? maybe we’re not ready financially? maybe we are setting ourselves up with a risk that traps us? the creative impulse slows as this part of self takes center stage…and then i remember. i remember how it feels to be alive. i remember my children’s wide eyes and the hopeful questions about the land and Wild Roots and our place in all of it. i remember Michael’s soul awakening as we first set foot on that place. i remember my promise, the voices and messages and bread crumbs that i’ve faithfully followed, leading me here. the truth revealed again and again that both strengthens my faith and shakes it in its power. that truth–the roots beneath the fertile soil that has grown for thousands of years, millenia–reaching to the core of the earth and manifesting life into the farthest reaches of the heavens. These roots–this Truth–will not accommodate. they signal and i receive it. now, it is my responsibility to…respond. my response-ability. my choice.

the question is not whether i have trust or faith. but what do i choose to trust? in what do i choose to have faith? will i choose the Truth, liberating and loving? Or the lie of safety and comfort?”

all of this, a lesson on trust.

searching

we’ve been searching for land. we began several months ago, ready to finally take action on the tugging of our souls. yesterday, we headed out again. on the blue moon, halloween, a time marking “in-between” spaces, the liminal spaces between worlds. felt right to head out on this day, in this way. we had met a kind zillow agent who has been supporting us and had stumbled on something he felt we might like. it wasn’t what we planned—the other thing fell through—and knowing the search is always fun, yes!

here’s the short of it: we met james. who wasn’t just the owner of this land. he was in relationship with it. he loved it. he cared for it. he knew it. when he met us there, one of the first questions he asked was if i liked rocks. he spoke my language! i was so delighted and moved as he gifted me rocks he’d found on the land throughout his tour of the place…and something began to shift in both michael and i. it’s hard to describe these matters of the soul…

it was a returning.

my big gift—in addition to all the rocks!—was the knowing that this search is leading me to a felt sense of belonging. we began looking for land that could belong to us; now, i’m remembering i belong to the land. i belong to the universe. when you feel this down deep in your bones, it feels BIG. it is everything.

and the reminder that when search is experienced with curiousity and wonder, the gifts that come are unimaginable! expectations, planned outcomes—these things block us from so much possibility! we met james because we are choosing to lean into the questions, leaving behind the answers. and oh, how wonderful!

we’re already finding what we are searching for.

pause

in a recent lecture on living “half a shade braver”, poet david whyte spoke of the importance of pause. he gave the example of how pause is employed to presence ourselves to reality before us, gather ourselves. and invite our Self in—all before making a move. The example he gave that has stayed with me is that of a competitive diver. Up there on that diving board, that athlete steps out onto the board with full focus.: one foot after the next. And before diving, the diver takes a pause. This pause evokes something greater, an energy beyond what would be available if that dive sprung from the ego, from a state of reactivity, from the state of moment-to-moment busyness that is our lives.

a strong belief i hold is the value in inviting groups to pause as we gather. pause to notice, gather, evoke. to help us remember who we are—individually, together—and our shared purpose of why we are gathering. since david’s lecture linking pause to living bravely, i’ve been more curious about this practice and its impact. does it really matter?

after two weeks of holding this question, my short answer is yes. pause does matter.

and the longer response:

there is a lot of energy brought into meetings. being online is no different. angst, anxiety, excitement, grief, rage. being physically distanced for months now with little opportunity for the casual, in-between moments of exchange, it seems our zoom meetings are more charged. there’s always a little of chatter that needs to happen at the beginning…and then a deliberate turn to focus on the purpose.

a pause here, helps.

i like a singing bowl to ring us into “the circle”. to invite attention. to awaken. and then something that brings our bodies along, too. connecting mind and body: a song, some breathing, a poem or prayer in the heart-connecting qualities those forms offer. and weaving the practice of pause throughout the gathering even further deepens the quality of the connection. practicing pause becomes an aspect of the culture, a way of being together. when there is something said that calls for attention before pressing onto to the next thing, taking a pause (ring that bell, ask for a breath, simply call it out and invite a moment to “sit with this”). these things matter.

in a recent gathering of twenty people, the practice of pause enabled us to notice what was important, what was bubbling up underneath the agenda items that needed our attention. as hard truths were shared that helped to illuminate this, instead of reactively moving on/moving away to the “agenda”, there was a capacity for presence and to listen. the agenda became less important as the commitment to allowing what was unfolding among us, emerge. it was uncomfortable, it wasn’t easy, it felt counter to how we normally operate. and it felt magical, powerful, transcendent.

we tell ourselves that we don’t have time for “pause”. there is business to do, things to take care of, problems to solve now. yes. AND what i’ve found is that it is in precisely these times that the pause is most called for, is most full of promise. instead of adding to the chaos—both within ourselves and in the world—a pause can balance that with a bit of stillness and order that brings forth just the dose of creativity and wisdom that is needed now.

gifts of whiteness

there are cloaks of shame we all live with—parts of ourselves that hard for us to accept, to love. whiteness is one of these cloaks for me, for our nation, for my Christian faith tradition. i now open-heartedly accept the gifts that it brings. i am grateful for my whiteness.

it’s been a journey. moving from shame to gratitude calls for big doses of forgiveness and compassion.

i’m not new to this rodeo of healing. i’ve journeyed this road before, from shame to gratitude and ultimately to love. and yet this cloak of shame that is whiteness is different. it is not only my personal cloak; it is a collective one. it’s been passed down through generations. it runs deep.

years ago, a friend and colleague rev. nelson pierce was training our organization in institutional racism. he posed the question to our predominantly white team, “how does white supremacy harm you, as white folks?”. he went on to say that until we could answer this question, we would not be ready to join the fight for justice. i had never thought of how i as a white-bodied woman had been harmed by whiteness. how could i dare? it felt…dangerous, threatening, subversive, unacceptable to even consider. me, with all my privilege? and his question carried with it a truth that would not leave me alone. it wormed itself into my being and has been alive in me ever since.

i believe this question promises a way into healing and wholeness that can transform us—not only personally (as it has for me) but collectively.

following this question into my own wounds of whiteness has led me to a reunion with my ancestors. i’ve welcomed them from exile to stand beside me. i’ve learned how they long for forgiveness, love, freedom. following this question has gifted me insight into all the ways i turn away from my suffering and turn my gaze to others’. i’ve learned and felt all the ways i separate myself—internally, from others, from God. how can i be present to others—love an other—when i do not fully love my whole self? following this question has led me back to my own Christian faith tradition. i’m finding myself reclaiming the teachings of Jesus and the scripture, my faith in Spirit strengthening everyday. following this question has revealed me to what it means to experience love without condition, and what it asks of us in the process: surrender, faith, trust.

following Nelson’s question into the wounds of whiteness has returned me to my whole self, to God, to love. i had been right: it is a dangerous, threatening, subversive, unacceptable question. it is all these things because it is radical. it is liberating. it frees us from the bounds of this human world and opens us to the spiritual one. it’s turns the cloak of shame that is whiteness into a gift that evolves us.

i believe the medicine is in the poison. the healing is in the wound.

and i am grateful for the gifts of whiteness, and the healing those wounds offer.

october

i am october

seductive with my colors

painting earth in brilliant

blazing reds and oranges

yellow

whispering in hushed tones, “come, follow me”

chills in my breath, “wrap up, get warm”

crisp and cutting

in my fresh air

strutting and confident

i am here.

and i bring two moons

one, announcing me

one, as my mic drop

making my presence known.

unforgettable

i bring death.

burning down, down, down

the old

hospicing

seeding it, down, down, down

into the earth, into the soil and

decaying piles of old growth

to carry in my womb

a new life, born of me and in me

october

for bonnie, on her birthday

“what does it take to make us stand together as if we just grew that way?”

roots deep down

into the earth

reaching out

connected, bound up together

one

trunks, in postures of integrity

standing upright

knowing who they are

whose they are

branches growing, always

seeking and giving

light and life

in love

offering shelter and nourishment

a canopy above and below

and all of this

standing

in relation knowing and living

i am because we are

life running through and between us

welcoming the flow, the dance

everything

everything is here for us

in the quiet, stillness

the light shines

spreading like molasses over everything

sugar and sweetness, everywhere

inhale, receiving

in the uncertainty, chaos

the dark invites

holding like a mother’s womb, nourishing

spice and soul, deep down

exhale, giving

all we need is here

inhale, exhale

light, dark

dancing as one.