Unexpected Gifts


There is so much on my heart and mind, not having written here for many months now. I’ve been “down the rabbit hole” with a parade of physical ailments that flattened me, caused me to cancel a number of events I had looked forward to greatly, and to admit that I felt utterly helpless and empty of explanations or solutions. Not only that, but the state of the world had me flattened as well. Longing to be a source of love and inspiration for myself and others, I didn’t know how to be. So I put an empty bowl on my altar, hunkered down and waited.

After months of this rather humbling state of affairs, spring has sprung and I’m finally feeling human. As I cautiously venture back out into the world, I’m watching nature’s version of rebirth, listening to Mother Earth’s instructions.

As I wrote that last sentence, the first of four deer crossed through our yard after a visit to our neighbor’s watering hole. It’s a special event in the desert to enjoy such a sighting—an Easter gift.

As the high desert emerges from an unusually cool, wet winter, mesquites that looked black and dead sprouted impossibly, outrageous lime greenery. The super-bloom created carpets of wonder. Streams poured down arroyos that normally stay dry. Spring has made it impossible to stay pessimistic, either about my own health or the prognosis for the planet.

The name “Easter” originated from the goddess Ostara, responsible for fertility and rebirth, long before the life and death of Jesus. And in whatever way Jesus appeared to followers—to women first—that miracle that believers still experience as resurrection is a tribute to the persistence of the life force.

And what is the life force? Well, certainly it is not primarily masculine, nor is it something we make happen. It is a mysterious force that we receive, apart from any effort on our part or any deserving.

The life force—in nature and in us—is the result of masculine natural potency and feminine natural fertility joining. Nature shows us this every year. And if you believe that the creation is fractal, that means that just as broccoli looks like a flower made of tiny flowers, we humans are little copies of what nature has done on all levels from the cosmic to the microscopic.

Being ill meant that I had to stop. I mean really stop. Stop doing what? Stop doing, period. Stop planning. Stop pretending I know. Stop trying to make things happen. Stop trying to fix things, relationships, people, myself. It didn’t mean I stopped trying to be well or to find proper help. It was a change of attitude or energy from doing to allowing.

I think as a woman in her mid-70’s, I’ve been in the habit of figuring the only way to have power was to imitate the masculine. Having to stop plugged me more deeply into the feminine way. What if I simply asked the life force to re-enter me? What if I cultivated the receptive, quiet, trusting part of me? What if I quit trying to survive or overcome life and began to trust, accept and ride the flow of Life?

For me, this has meant a surprising project of undoing old habits. Unlearning old ideas. Letting go of false beliefs and more aspects of my false self. It’s very liberating!

This does not mean I’m advocating giving up on the culture or the world, for this is where we chose to be embodied—at this time, and for some good reasons we may not fully understand. But my shamanic training taught me long ago there’s a difference between being present and engaging. When you’re witnessing evil, you can be present and act accordingly without engaging with the energy. Like martial arts, this takes practice. I thought maybe I’d learned the art, but recent events say no. I’m a student, once again.

“Going with the flow” may be a trite ‘60’s phrase, but we’re in an era that has certain 60’s qualities. Today what it means to me is that in meditation, I try to tune into the flow of Life and to remember that behind or beneath the level of story and physicality, I am made of nothing but Life. That is what I am, so I am the same as you, the same as the tree, the deer and the stars. That makes my resistance to Life into a tragicomedy. Going with it could mean I trust being what I am already, supported and carried by the force that made me.

The Force has been with us all along. Sages have been telling us that for millennia. There’s the real Easter gift for ‘ya!

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