(8" x 10" Collage)
July 12, 2018
An Open Love Letter at 60
I felt strangely serene reclining on the emergency room bed at Swedish Medical, while very nice strangers fluttered around me, trying to find a vein for the IV that would keep my throat from closing after a juicy puncture wound from our cat who really, really did not want to go to the vet.
It wasn’t surprising. After all, my mantra for months had been,
“I don’t want to live in Trump’s world. I don’t want to live in Trump’s world.”
I really, really did not want to live in a polarizing sea of racism, sexism, under the increasingly fascist rule of narcissists and fundamentalists, regardless of their race, gender, political affiliation, or hairstyle.
Did we learn nothing during the love, peace and understanding sixties? Did we learn nothing from the ecological disasters, the protests, riots, and PTSD of our returning vets??
I’m getting too old for this shit.
The prick of the nurse’s needle says, Be careful what you wish for.
My existential musings weren’t all Trump’s fault, of course. I was already floundering in the midlife morass of menopause, a major cross country move, a recurrent back injury, and my first winter in the Pacific Northwest--and, yes, my southern friends, Seasonal Affective Disorder is fucking REAL.
Separated from familiar routes, roles, friends and physical function, battered as we all were by wave after wave of political outrage and violation of human rights, I was drowning in grief, pain, depression, and fear that my body and the world would never be right again. Wrap that up with a cosmic bow and call it Second Saturn Return. Old structures dismantled, identity dissolved. Word of the day, every day; WTF?!
Even though my body had arrived at the place that had been calling my soul for decades, ethereal drag made me a ghost of myself waiting for my habitual calm and competence, my accustomed strength, energy and regenerative powers to catch up.
It was kinda like being stuck in the transporter room of the Starship Enterprise. I could hear the shimmery music, see the sparkles begin to swirl in the columns of light where I hoped my trust, faith, and identity would be reconstituted, but I was caught in an unresolved liminal loop that went on and on. I didn’t know if Scotty’s ingenuity would get that sucker working in time to save me, the captain, and crew, or if I would suffer one or more of the popular apocalyptic visions lighting up the zeitgeist.
IF, the root of all fear, if, if, if... What IF everything IS broken? What IF it never gets any better than chronic fear and pain? What IF I never feel whole again? What IF this game isn’t “ as Alan Watts would say, “worth the cost of the candle? The suspense was (literally) killing me.
In myth-speak, this was the part of the Hero’s Journey where I felt least heroic. My superpowers had evaporated. The underworld loomed large in every direction. But, as Joseph Campbell assures us, the hero/heroine inevitably meets helpers along the way. That’s where all of you come into my story.
I was a mess, but I was not abandoned. Miraculously, Sam was at the gate to drive me to the emergency room after I lost the fight with my cat. My family and tribe still professed love for me despite my glaring imperfections and insecurities. And dear David and Aloria placed the key to a new community in my hands by introducing me to Sidney Ji, musician, lighting designer and Networker Supreme.
I found an alternative health practitioner who became the first link in a chain of helpers reviving my hope that I might one day occupy my body in comfort, and operate with ease again. Spirit prompted me to go to this hair salon, that festival, and a New Year’s brunch where kindred spirits, music, love, and laughter could be found.
Every open mind and heart, every kind word and warm embrace, every soulful offering of music and art, of food and drink, have brought me to the realization that I do NOT in fact live in the world fear and hate-mongers seek to design for me, but in one co-created with a conscious, collective desire to respect, protect, educate and heal, to make the world a better place for all living things.
Time and again I meet living, breathing proof that mindfulness, goodness, beauty and truth are alive and well, that many worlds co-exist, and that I have successfully re-materialized in a reality where love and reason engage in games of compassion rather than power. Where walls of fear and separation are coming down rather than going up. Where I see my values reflected in public services and plentiful green spaces, and I can live the truth that a single life, a single gesture can make a difference, even though the face in my mirror and world outside has changed.
May we co-create the changes that allow us ALL to THRIVE.