Reflecting on Life in this Here and Now!

life in November

It is coming to the end of November, and I am rattled today. Life feels overwhelming at times. I am unable to be at ease. All of this is OK, and it is not! I pour myself a cup of tea and I sit with my journal. Journaling helps me make sense of my emotions. My first sense of anxiety this morning started, when I picked up my phone and read both sides of the vaccination narratives. I felt confused and worried about what I saw and heard, and fear said ‘hello’ to me. I was then drawn into clips of new movies to be released soon and I was conscious of their physical intensity and emotional content. I noticed my unease and I remembered a sadness as I listening to singer and storyteller and activist Christy Moore on the Late Late Show last night singing songs of the Holocaust and global warming and I had a moment of despair as I saw the reality of history, and how we never learn- it is happening today and the world is silent.

It is nearly too much for me to take in. Our future looks bleak in this moment. I watched Joanna Macy at 92 years old advocate another perspective on the solution. She spoke of hope at the great turning that can and is happening as we as individuals and communities rather than focus on the crisis of climate change, become conscious of our true nature as earthlings, creatures, off-springs of the earth mother, and our interconnectedness with trees and other ecosystems and how in alignment with this reality that we can in solidarity make changes and choices that benefit us all. Listening to her there was a sense of connection and oneness, and relationship rather than a problem out there to be fixed. I am reminded that I am suffering with my world, my earth, and I bow to the grief of that. I am not cut off from the nature of who I am, which is a child of the earth, my body is mirrored in the reality of trees and other living things. I heard and understood Macy when she spoke of our true nature.

I have just for the first time acquired a designer handbag on sale, I also changed my car to a 5-year-old car. While this is great and I am happy for the first time in my life to be able to afford these things due to a surprise gift from my deceased uncle, today I don’t find much comfort in these purchases, in fact I feel some guilt that I have this material wealth, while others are hungry. I assuage my guilt by telling myself I have worked hard all my life and it is ok for me to have these manifestations now. I know it is not me!

I laugh to myself because I know there is a full moon this week and I am affected by its energy and I am impacted by the uncertainty of Covid, our leaders, and the instability of the systems at all levels throughout the world at this time. I am sure of one thing and that is how little I know about anything that is happening. I am full of confusion, and troubled by the division, fear, and uncertainty around me and by the level of fundamental righteousness as we try to cope during this current world crisis. I agree with Dr Bobby Moore when we recently had a conversation, and he referred to the fact, that in a crisis, we fragment or come together to survive, and, that in a time of survival it is difficult to find meaning and purpose.

In my professional life, as a psychotherapist and supervisor, I wrestle daily with ethical decisions. At our training college at ICPPD we have made the decision to return to online classes through Zoom and while this is the correct choice now, this change like all changes, leaves me with a sense of loss and grief. I think that is exactly what I am feeling this morning. The feelings associated with grief include, numbness, shock, denial, wishing, hoping, bargaining, confusion, hurt, anger, sadness, anxiety, uncertainty, depression, helplessness, hopelessness, acceptance, letting go, hopefulness, resilience, and moving forward.

I am aware as a tutor of the loss of seeing and feeling our fascinating learners coming into class. Watching their comfort and discomfort as they find their place. I miss the “bundle” in the centre of our classroom that was created on our first class day together, symbolic of our combined intentions – the red lace, the purple scarf, the candle at the centre, the bell, incense stick, stone  and seashell, and all the representations of each learner. The symbolic ritual and gathering of this tribe of adult learners connecting with each other on several levels of being. I miss the experience of witnessing the fullness of the learner bring us all into the present moment with their morning reflection. I miss hearing the buzz of the discussions when learners in their small groups laugh, argue, cry, get animated and energised by shared experiences, critical thinking, exploration and wrestling with the topic of conversation for learning. I miss seeing two trainee therapists practice counselling skills with each other and how I can approach them in the room and support their learning. I miss the chatter at coffee breaks, and lunch hours. Mostly I miss the human contact, the unembodied connection with my human counterparts. I miss my feeling of interconnectedness and the fullness of shared human physical, mental, emotional, spiritual encounter.

Of course, I also appreciate the comfort and safety offered by Zoom in an online environment, and I cannot help thinking that life and living always carries a risk. I don’t want to be seduced by convenience even if it is almost the same experience of learning. It is the ‘almost’ bit that gets me and that I don’t easily have the words for. Today I hold all in my knowing and my unknowing.

I check in with myself in this moment and know there is a still place within me, and unchanging seat of ease. It is because I know this place, that I can go to places of disease and touch my vulnerability and the vulnerability of my world and environment. I remind myself I am not responsible for another person’s behaviour. I breathe and put my hand on my heart and return home to myself. I am aware that the bombardment, the tornado, and the spinout to overwhelm is caused by my thinking process and that the settling of this distress is in my body- grounding myself and breathing brings me to an interior environment. I let go, settle back into my spirit, into a gentle, tender, passionate presence that holds me with the strength I have known many times before. I rest in my heart at ease, trusting. All is well.

I finish with the Spacious Soul by Richard Rohr
There is there is something in you that is not touched by coming and going, by up and down, by for or against, by the raucous teams of totally right or totally wrong. There is a part of you that is patient which both goodness and evil to gradually showed themselves…There is a part of you that does not rush to judgment. Rather, it stands vigilant and patient in the tragic gap that almost every moment offers. It is a riverbed of mercy. it is vast, silent, restful, and resourceful, and it receives and also lets go of all the comings and goings. It is awareness itself (as opposed to judgement itself), and awareness is not as such “thinking.” It refuses to be pulled into the emotional and mental tugs of war that most of life is- before it is forever over and gone. To lookout from this untouchable silence is what we mean by contemplation… This is your soul. This is your True Self.

Blessings to all of us as we continue to negotiate our way through this pandemic one day at a time.
Christine Moran – Managing Director at ICPPD.

 

Rohr, R. (2013) Immortal Diamond. Wiley & Sons INC. London.

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