Sunday, October 4, 2015

The Meaning




     Meanings are elusive. They change depending on what dictionary is used, who is interpreting the information and because an outcome of an action is not witnessed or known. In the previous blog, Humans without Borders, I asked locals to gather to welcome a transplant from Seattle. Fourteen humans circled with the intention of making a new friend. When the woman no-showed we sat together anyway. What we didn't entirely know is what this meant individually or globally.

     Every action ripples out on the pond of life. 

Every single one. Even meeting or not meeting someone in a spontaneous gesture of friendship. Take myself for instance. The last few months have been challenging. Not challenging like swearing during fifty push ups. That's just ugly. I've been choosing the kind of ordeal that strips a person down to the bone. 
     In April I got triggered into a PTSD response. I've had them before, but never for longer than a day or two. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder occurs in individuals who have experienced something beyond their ability to handle. My childhood was well beyond my ability to handle. In my forties I learned why I had uncontrollable emotional reactions to stressful situations. With that understanding I carved my life around keeping stress to a minimum, going on to become a massage therapist and practicing meditation. My April triggering happened in an MRI tube. I completely lost my shit. You can read about it in the post, Trusting IS. After a month I realized it would take more than chanting OM's to get me out of the anxiety cyclone. I reluctantly decided to undertake EMDR, a therapy designed to desensitize PTSD. Part of the process involves recovering memories of trauma. Some of these can be known, but not fully processed. While other happenings may not be known, having scurried into a closet before hitting the amygdala portion of the brain. 
     For me, EMDR has been grueling and life altering. All summer I have been in the trenches of treatment. There are many days in a row that I wonder how I can continue. Last week's sessions dropped me into a pit of despair. Breathing felt overwhelming. I wasn't really up for being with people, but I was the only one who knew the woman from Seattle. Hitching up the big girl panties I went. Mingling with friends who want the world to be more welcoming became a surprising balm to my experience. It made me see that possibility always exists for healing, for change, for humanity. Each person seated in the circle gave me a miracle and they didn't even know it. 

   Meanings are elusive because an outcome of an action is not witnessed or known.

When I got back to the office a co-worker had thoughtfully folded the towels I'd left piled in a basket and an hour later an email arrived to let me know a writing deadline had been extended. I breathed. There is grace in actions that are not always witnessed. These gifts fly on a universal current to a life they are needed, lighting up darkness and opening the door of possibility.
     I reconnected with the Seattle lady. When I told her how many people showed up to welcome her, she smiled all the way through the phone line. We're meeting in a few weeks to fill the coffee shop again, with no idea how our actions will ripple across life.

Gratitude to the moon and back to those who send gifts of humanity without requiring a return address.




Saturday, October 3, 2015

A Tribal Circle




     Over the last several generations we have corrupted what is an innately human aspect. That we are tribal. Ever since more than one of us has existed we have collected as a pack, coming together for shelter, safety and companionship. Human gatherings eventually evolved into an "us" and "them" mentality when tribes began moving from place to place. Territories created a belief in "mine". The ownership of land has devolved to the point where humans stop other humans from leaving turmoil, war and death. This idea of "mine" means that the ground beneath our feet, the earth is fractured into pieces. 
     
     No one owns this planet or parts of it.

Staking a claim on a piece of a living, breathing organism, is like taking someone's heart or leg and expecting them to function well. Our gorgeous planet cannot continue in this manner without pain for the orb and it's inhabitants.
     When Big Business decided there should be no borders for trade, they birthed an idea. Humans run with ideas, occasionally making them something extraordinary. There should be no borders between humans. We each are a single aspect of a whole. We are one tribe. Earth, the other living organisms, as well as humans, are all aspects of ONE. To honor this would be to solve what is considered our biggest problems. 
     Last week I met a woman who is a new transplant to Illinois. She was having a tough go coming here from Seattle. I invited her to meet a few people from the area. At the time I had no idea who or if anyone would make themselves available. Trying to get friends together for lunch is a grueling process of scheduling. I tossed off an email and posted an invitation to meet at a local coffee shop to Facebook. 14 people turned out to welcome a lonely newcomer. The woman from Seattle never came. The tribe circled anyway. All ages, backgrounds, opinions and beauty sat together under the auspices of helping someone integrate. It turned into a meeting of people who ordinarily would not have sat together. Busy lives have limited the gatherings of anyone other than close friends, relatives, book groups, church goers and the ilk. It's great that there is still time to meet with people we already accept. But what about those not in our standard circle? What about the people who don't like the same books, believe the same religion, have the same blood, the same gender, children of the same age or have husbands who get along with ours? What about the people on the other side of our individual borders? The ones we aren't friends with on Facebook, the family in line at the grocery store or the thousands running for their lives in the Middle East. What about them?
     At the coffee shop each person displayed something of who they are, projecting who we all are as humans. That we are caring, concerned for our neighbors and unmistakably desiring contact with more than what we have already accepted. It is a hunger to learn more, gather more, accept more and open ourselves to the idea that we are more than the walls between us. I see this as the possibility for a change in our thinking and not just for small town Illinois. Activate what is true. That each person at their core is connected to our single tribe. Activate the tribal circle. Post the invitation, invite people and see what happens. Humanity shows up. It's who we are.