This is a holy week for so many - Jews celebrating Passover and Christians observing Easter. Both holidays have roots in the ancient traditions and both have the themes of rebirth, renewal, faith, and resilience. It's hard not to witness these themes in our daily lives as the society that we know has changed dramatically in the last few weeks. We have been called on to dig deep into our personal reserves to muster resilience for even the most mundane of experiences - grocery shopping, walking around the neighborhood, navigating government structures, etc. To cope with this crisis, many of us are looking to the future, when life will be better, when we can return to "normal." But as the quote by Murakami so eloquently states, our normal will be new in its form. Our rebirth and renewal will be from a place that absorbs all the wisdom from this time, and leaves behind what is outdated, no longer useful, and personally destructive.The phoenix rising up from the cosmic fire, leaving its former self behind.
So many of us throughout our lives have experienced our own crucible that left us far from our beloved normal. When we are forced to move from what we hold dear, there is grief, sadness, and anger. But what I have also experienced (often with a HUGE dose of resistance) is an emergence of new opportunities and ways of being. We experience this as a reincarnation within our current life, pieces remain the same but are colored by newness that we never considered before. Frankly, I wouldn't be discussing these themes at this point in our collective crisis if this wasn't a holy week. But the timing is an invitation for us to take note of what is inspiring us, what is challenging us, and what whispers of new ways of being arising inside us. These small moments are breadcrumbs to the new normal we face once we emerge from this challenge. And we will emerge, just as creation from the egg and the phoenix from the flame have done over and over again.
My invitation to you is to take notes, literal notes, of what is arising for you during this time. What are you enjoying? What is challenging you? What are the habits you turn to when you are limited in choices? How are you feeling? What are your concerns and worries? What are your observations of yourself, your community and culture? Once you make your notes leave them be if you want. Maybe now isn't the time to make meaning of all that is occurring, maybe it's time to add your notes to the fire and see what arises weeks, months, and years from now. It's hard to make meaning in the middle of an experience - and Goddess we are in the thick of it. But a storm eventually moves along, and in its wake there will be time to take stock of the person that emerges. But for now, as the storm rains heavy, I pray we each have shelter that is safe and healthy. I pray that the new normal lands with softness and grace. And I pray that this is a true season of Passover - where the Divine spares each of us hardship as we shelter.
With devotion, Valerie
Hi All, How are you? I’m moving through thoughts and feelings a mile a minute. One minute I’m ok, the next I am feeling all my fears and worries. Can you relate? I’m used to spending most of my days alone for the last several years, so this isn’t too much of an adjustment for me. However, my need to stay up to date and be a diligent researcher along with my own health concerns is activated my system left and right. I’m sitting here practicing, failing, and succeeding calming my nervous system. Yesterday a bath and yoga nidra did the trick, today it’s soothing self talk and self massage that is helping me ride the wave that has peaks of panic.Over the years, I have learned this calming isn’t always a solitary act. I used to have a lot of shame around being hyperaware, sensitive, a canary in a coal mine, but the more I have learned about trauma, resilience, and healing, the more I have learned that calm is a co-creative process. Until we are solid in our practice, quieting our systems takes guidance whether that is in recorded form, written material, video, or in person. Practicing feeling safe, secure, and centered requires us so often to “be seen” by someone that can witness us with compassion. As a minister, I consider my primary job to partner with those that are suffering and in crisis – “for though I walk through the valley, I am not alone.”
We are a household of two, and over the years we have tried not to freak out at the same time (maybe in the same hour but not at the same time;). We each have our own strengths and unique needs regarding safety, and it helps to know what those are. But what happens if you find yourself in a crisis and you haven’t really thought of what makes you feel safe and secure? It’s hard to hit the ground running, if you haven’t fostered a trust in your coping toolbox. Be gentle with yourself right now. Tell that screaming inner critic (panicked helper, etc) that you hear it and it’s not being helpful. Often – I raise a hand to it and say “not helpful.” And turn back to the task at hand.
You maybe in crisis right now - concerned about basic needs, your health and the health of your loved ones, and it maybe clear to you that you are triggered. OR you maybe in crisis right now and that is not the word you would use. But, figuring out the new normal, navigating work from a new space, different people in your energy for differing hours, hell – navigating the grocery story is not what it was two weeks ago. You maybe more tired, more wired, more on edge, angry, depressed, sad, irritable, etc. And these are all signs that a nervous system is on alert. Add on being sensitive, in tune, connected and you are feeling all the feels right now. Totally normal.
In crisis, meaning is difficult to find. Yeah I have seen the social media posts inviting me to see this pandemic and physical distancing as an opportunity for growth, meaning, everything happens for a reason, God/Goddess has a plan. BUT I invite you to be patient with your meaning making. Acknowledge that this moment, maybe you have seen a silver lining or maybe there isn’t one for you right now – and that is ok. Life just IS sometimes. Meaning may never come or it could be days, months, and years away. A quickly rushed meaning could cut you off from the deeper learning and curiosity that is required to slurp all the nectar out of less than ideal situation. Meaning often comes with distance – it unfurls as you walk away from the immediate experience. Don’t struggle for something just because so many others are using that to get through this moment. If you haven’t found calm or meaning yet – that is OK. This isn’t a rush to enlightenment. And if you found it and then it left you –say it with me…THAT is ok.
Since calm is a co-creative practice, my ministry at this moment is to practice with you. Want some specialized help with touching into calm? Need someone to share those thoughts and feelings that you think other will judge you for? Want long distance healing? Need prayer and connection? Want me to pull cards and doing a mini-reading? I am here. And before you say, “Valerie, I would love to but I don’t have the money. “ I say to you – this isn’t about money, building my business, or getting clients; this is about doing the work of the Divine, together. And that is more than enough. I will not send anyone an invoice, and I will not initiate a discussion of payment. You can talk with me if you want regarding payment, but it won’t come from me.
Community, I have no doubt we will get through this. It may not be pretty at times, it certainly isn’t easy, but you are not alone. Sincerely, Valerie