Keeping calm in times of crisis

When crisis comes, it’s critical to remember the calm center within, and hold onto that light for yourself and others.

Happy March 2020, Dear Readers. February was filled with intensity, crisis after crisis, and where I live, winter storms that came one after another. The world is now facing a pandemic via the outbreak of the Covid 19 strain of Coronavirus, which at the moment has entered about 60 countries, affected nearly a hundred thousand people, and killed several thousand. I’m not gonna lie, this is seriously scary news to deal with on all levels. Headlines over the weekend stated that people in the United States were buying up face masks in an effort to protect themselves, and the head of the Center for Disease Control has urged everyone to stop buying them, as fears increase that public health workers may not end up having the protective equipment they need in order to do their work.

In a moment of collective anxiety over the transmission of a potentially deadly virus such as this, it is easy to forget that humans live amongst all kinds of germs, viruses and bacteria 24/7. True, the vast majority of them don’t have the potential to kill us as we walk around in our daily lives. The past week brought the whole subject of germs and hygiene into sharp focus for me, so I thought I’d share a personal story with you.

As it happened, my eldest daughter who is in her mid-20s, became very ill with nausea, vomiting and severe intestinal pain early last week. After having a miserable night of suffering, her boyfriend brought her to the emergency room of our city’s central hospital the following morning. She spent most of the day in the ER, as the doctors took samples of blood and urine, and did a CT scan to figure out what was going on with her. They also gave her strong pain medicine, put her on IV drips for dehydration and antibiotics, and took turns coming into the room to let us know what they had found out throughout the afternoon. Turns out she had an unusual presentation of an appendicitis, along with extreme inflammation of her upper GI tract, which was obstructing the normal flow of her colon, causing severe abdominal pain. That evening she was admitted to the observation floor of the hospital, and moved to a room where nurses watched over her, administered medicine by IV and injections, and did what they could to make her comfortable for the following three nights and days. A surgical team of doctors checked in with us each morning, giving updates on her condition as we waited to see how she responded to the very strong antibiotics she was being given. Because of all the inflammation surrounding the appendix, the lead surgeon felt it would not be wise to perform an appendectomy right away. It became a waiting game as they sought to determine whether they should operate and remove her appendix. So my daughter spent the week in the hospital bed, suffering through many hours of pain, diarrhea, nausea, and just generally feeling pretty awful. She was not allowed to eat or drink any fluids for the first 24 hours, and then only allowed food, after two days of fasting, for a few hours before they restricted any more, thinking they would do exploratory surgery the next day.  Many more hours of no food nor drink followed; however, the doctors eventually decided not to do the surgery after taking a second CT scan two days after the first one.

My daughter is very fortunate in that she has a loving, caring family and friend group who were with her, often in shifts, throughout her hospital stay. I came each morning and stayed with her through the day. Her dad and sister came in the afternoons and stayed into the night. Her boyfriend came in the evening and stayed, sleeping in the lounger chair next to her bed at night. Friends came, bringing flowers, cards, various kinds of food and drinks in hopes she could eat and drink, told stories and made her smile. Slowly, her pain lessened, the inflammation was reduced, and by the end of the week she had improved to the point that the doctor put her on oral antibiotics and finally released her from the hospital.

This week was one of the most stressful I’ve experienced in many years. It was so unnerving to not know what was happening inside my daughter’s body and whether or not the doctors would perform the surgery, since it seemed they kept changing their minds. There were frustrating communication gaps between the lead doctor, her team, the nurses and the night resident who would come and give conflicting information to us. For the first part of her stay, every time a nurse or nurse assistant would come in the room, they put on disposable suits and wore masks over their faces. Only after a couple of days did we find out that was a precaution because they didn’t yet know if she had a contagious infection. Once the lab results came back negative on that, they stopped wearing those suits and masks each time they came in. Then there was the worry hanging over the atmosphere of “germs being everywhere,” while I became obsessed with handwashing and sanitizing everything I touched, like door handles, toilet flusher, faucet handles, and every surface became suspect of possibly holding harmful bacteria. I got so deep into the anxiety of germaphobia that I’d come home from the hospital at night and take off everything I wore, took super-hot showers, and started worrying about possible germs lurking in my own apartment. This past week was an In-My-Face example of examining how my thoughts contributed my state of consciousness and emotional state of being. The more I focused on the frightening germs that seemed to be everywhere within the hospital, the harder it became to remain calm and strong for my daughter’s healing process. I had distinct moments when I held my hands over her torso and tried with all my might to energetically suck the sickness from her and give it over to the healing angels whom I knew were also there with us in the hospital room. I believe it helped her somewhat to be in a state of prayer and meditation around her healing, along with all those antibiotics they kept pumping into her body. I know healing works on all levels—physical, mental, emotional and etheric. But for me personally, the most difficult part was fighting the irrational fear that kept cropping up of catching the bad germs that were all around us.

This personal story brings me back to the original point of this blog post—the Covid 19 epidemic that is sweeping through the world, and especially the collective fear that its presence is bringing so palpably into focus. For so many centuries of our collective memory, we have fought epidemics of one horrible disease after another. The fear of death and suffering through contagious diseases is still alive within our DNA, so how can we best fight those fears and evolve beyond them? Because that is exactly what we must do now. Dear Readers, I don’t have a solid answer to these concerns, other than to keep realizing that we are powerful beings of light having a human experience in these most extraordinary times. We must trust that kind, helpful, smart humans are all around us, helping those of us who become ill. The angelic realm is always here, ready to help us as soon as we remember to ask for support. The vast majority of the time, we do have the strength and courage to look our fears in the eye, and realize that fear is the old acronym—false evidence appearing real. We are powerful, and the more light we can gather, ground and radiate out to the world, the more inoculated we become against the world’s ills and disease. So, as the past week showed me so clearly, the most important thing we can each do is to keep calm and do what we can to be the steady presence for others, no matter what arises.

 

I see your courageous spirit and honor it

spelling_bee_kids
It takes courage to compete in the school spelling bee!

In these days of corruption, constant shocks and upsets, each of us need to call upon our inner warrior of light. Like the heroes of popular culture, we must go within and conjure our brightest, most courageous selves to come forward and lead. We are collectively in the midst of an unprecedented learning/ teaching moment—through the power of compassion, heart bravery, and deep listening to one another, we are growing our human “movement of movements” toward a new epoch for humanity and Earth.
Dear Readers, what a messy, chaotic and exhilarating moment it is!

Every day the national and world headlines are filled with examples of people standing up and speaking truth to power. We applaud their bravery and empathize with the repercussions of those acts of courage. Some are chastened, others repressed, and sadly, some pay the ultimate price of their very lives for taking decisions of extreme moral courage. Yet, if we pay attention to the people in our very own daily sphere, we see that acts of bravery are all around.

I’d like to give you an example of ordinary children displaying courage from my own life. This school year I am tutoring children who struggle with reading in an elementary school outside of Denver. A month ago, I volunteered to coordinate the school’s annual spelling bee. Having never organized one before, I had quite the learning curve of how to pull off this minor feat. Fortunately, through the help of a few knowledgeable teachers and the kind-hearted principal of my school, I managed to check off all the moving parts, finalize the contestant list of 22 students, hold practice sessions, and arrange for our bee to happen.

Finally, the day for our spelling bee arrived. At 1:30 pm, a group of parents and family members were seated in our cafeteria on one side, rows of nervous student contestants on the other. There were 22 students ranging from third through fifth grade, all of whom had cleared the 85% correct score on the written test they needed to compete. I sat at the table with three judges, all teachers from our school. Our principal acted as the MC and Pronouncer (the one who gives the spelling words to each student). She did a fabulous job of setting the tone—this is fun, it’s practice, and if you wish, you can use this spelling bee as one of the amazing extra things you did in elementary school this year!—for the students. Each student wore a name badge, and took their turn introducing themselves to the audience and judges. First we had a practice round as a warm up to help them get used to the protocol of answering—“olive: O L I V E: olive.” Then the rounds began. For the next 45 minutes the students competed, taking their respective turns at spelling increasingly more difficult words. Slowly, students spelled a word incorrectly and were out of the competition. After seven rounds, only the top two spellers remained. Then came the final, nail-biting round of spelling. If one student missed the word, it went to the other to attempt the correct spelling. If they both got it wrong, another word was given. This continued for about 10 minutes as we all watched intently to see who would be the ultimate winner. The finalists were a fourth grade boy and a fifth grade girl. They both did an extraordinary job of staying cool while concentrating on their mental puzzling out of the spelling words. In the breathless finish, the girl spelled incorrectly, leaving the boy to give the correct answer and the prize of first place in the bee. Afterwards, congratulations were showered upon not only the top finalists and winner, but for all the students who competed in our spelling bee.

Watching our students competing today, I was struck by the degree of bravery they each displayed by their act of showing up, standing up, spelling the words to the best of their ability, and stepping away when they failed to give the correct answer. There was an undeniable feeling of pressure on each of them to perform well, to give the correct spelling, and to concede defeat with grace. Each student performed admirably, showing all of us adults that doing something difficult can be an inspiring, courageous act and one that they can be proud of accomplishing.

Dear Readers, in these extreme and uncertain times, I encourage you to take notice of where and how you act courageously in your daily life. Who in your sphere inspires you to be brave? And just as importantly, who do YOU inspire to be brave? There has never been a more urgent need to notice and celebrate courage and compassionate action than right now. Keep calm, stay steady, and keep on going. The world needs your light, kindness, and your moral courage.

 

They know they are all one family

crows-in-trees

What a super intense month it has been! An image came to me today of the whole earth shaking, as if an inconceivably large force from the cosmos is literally shaking our planet free from the forces of darkness that have gripped it for millennia. We are in the midst of unprecedented shifts on a collective level, and no one is immune from their effects. Are you feeling the intensity, dear Readers?

Here in the United States the most obvious example of shakeup is the presidential impeachment hearings. This week was extremely tense, as the House Judiciary Committee held long, bitter and contentious hearings to present the two articles of impeachment against President Trump. After two days of rancor, they finally voted early on Friday morning along perfect party lines. The vote on both articles was 23 ayes / yes (by all the Democratic members), and 17 no (by all the Republican members). The vote will move to the full House of Representatives next week.

Reflecting on the impeachment process over the course of the past month, a couple of points stand out. One is the degree of seriousness with which lawmakers and aides have treated the procedure, and the sheer amount of hard work that has gone into all the moving parts. It’s been fascinating to watch the spectacle unfold, produced by many people both behind and in front of the cameras and devices. I am struck again and again by the fact that, at its core, our government is made up of ordinary human beings who have chosen the work of governing one of the largest and most unwieldy governments on Earth. Aside from jibes and attacks from certain Republicans who complained repeatedly about the supposed farce of what they called a “waste of time and taxpayer money,” many people, from the House Intelligence Committee, to the Judiciary Committee, to those who read and commented on the news reports, care deeply about American values, its constitution, its democratic ideals, and the Rule of Law. The fight is about the interpretation of those ideals and rules. It’s a good time to be a government lawyer in Washington D.C. these days, as there is no shortage of work!

The other striking thing about this moment in time is, of course, the fact that the United States feels anything but united. In fact, I’d argue that it is as divided as it was before and during the Civil War of the mid-19th century. We seem to have entered into a new era of civil war, only now it is being fought on social media sites rather than physical battlefields in the southern states. The terminology is similar—battlefields, war chests, attacks, scorched earth, weaponization, casualties and so on. Families are divided about where they stand on the issues, and the future of our country and world. It has become so surreal that it appears we are no longer all living in the same reality. And yet, we all ARE living upon the same and only planet we all call Home.

We are in the midst of an impasse. People are moving ever further to the extremes of polarity and dualism. Unity, oneness, harmony, peace, justice and love are being violently overturned at every opportunity as the forces of separation and power-over-others jostle for the front spot on the world stage. This is occurring against a backdrop of the continuing destruction of our environment and unprecedented weather changes which are portending serious loss of life in the very near future. We are hurtling towards the cliff edge. And once we go over that cliff, the question is before us:  What will happen next?

Today I walked in the peaceful park near my home. In one area were gathered about a hundred crows, having a large council meeting. Crows are such interesting birds. They are unintimidated by humans or most dogs, and their society appears very orderly and cooperative. Crows understand they are one family, all connected, and they cooperate with each other. Certain ones have particular roles, whether to be the guardian, the messenger, the speakers, perhaps the leaders. They never harm one another, rather they work together for their common good and safety. I have read of crows attacking humans or animals if they feel threatened. We have old stories passed down through history that paints crows in a similar light to wolves and other predators. Yet crows are generally peaceful birds, who have their own kind of society. For a fascinating look at crows, watch this video on Vimeo.

Human beings would do well to take some lessons from crow society. We are the only species on Earth that seeks to destroy itself and does not understand that we are one family, part of one another by virtue of the fact that we are all human. We have mastered amazing feats, learned how to do incredible things with our bodies, minds, and will. Yet, we still do not understand that our hearts are connected to all and each on this beloved planet. This is the underlying malady that is harming our species and our entire ecosystem, while seriously endangering our collective future. What will it take for us to finally awaken to the truth of who and what we are? To end the bitter polarity which divides and destroys us?

It is the end of this last year of this decade. In a couple of weeks, 2020 arrives. The start of a new decade, and an energetic reset button for Earth. It is a new opportunity to change for the better, to embrace our unity as humans on our planet and to bring compassion and empathy into our daily lives. My personal affirmation for the new year and new decade is that we all realize the truth of ourselves—we are One, there is no separation, we are a human family and it is time to end the enmity which has divided us for so long. We must cut the cords of deceit that have determined our destiny for far too long. Justice and truth must prevail now.