In the midst of this COVID crisis, I woke up in a funk. I felt edgy, frustrated, impatient, closed down. I think all would have been well if I could have just held those feelings and stayed with them, but I immediately started judging myself for having them. After a few days my body started screaming at me, ”Do something. We can’t hold all this negativity much longer.”
I used to have a much greater tolerance for negativity. Now it makes me literally feel sick if I don’t deal with it. Given the current state of the world, the isolation and confinement, how do I come to a deeper sense of my own wholeness?
As I have worked to answer this question, several pieces of a puzzle have fit together to make a clearer picture of me.
My first puzzle piece arrived as I immediately started doing several things that I knew might help me release and realign. I deepened my spiritual practice by spending more time: meditating; sitting outside, bare feet on the earth, feeling the power of the Mother fill my body; dancing by myself to my favorite old rock and roll music, (that truly is a spiritual practice, BTW); and taking long walks in the woods.
Another piece came when I realized that my struggle with insomnia wasn’t personal. It didn’t need to define me in any way. I was not a defective person just because I couldn’t sleep through the night. My previous mindset had somehow morphed into, “I’m not ok if I have this sleep issue.” Letting go of that unhelpful thought did help my sleep and my mood improve.
Also, I sat with a pile of cards that I have collected over the years. In the past when I would read or hear something inspirational, I would write it down on an index card. The pile has become quite a collection. Just reading through this stack of cards helped me remember truths that I had forgotten.
I found this jewel of a quote. It was labeled, A Morning Intention, and here’s what it said:
“May I this day keep my heart open.
May I remain curious, no matter how difficult things may get.
May I generate a warm heart toward myself.
May I see what I do, without turning it against myself.”
I began repeating that third line, over and over to myself, during the day. I was shocked to realize how seldom I had sent myself any kind of loving energy. It felt like wrapping a warm blanket over myself.
I recollected a line from an old hymn I learned in childhood. “Thank you, Lord, for making me whole.” This hymn had been rattling around in my brain for months, but several weeks ago I felt it enter my body. I was born in wholeness, not defective, not in “sin”, not in need of salvation. Of course, I had known this intellectually for many years, since abandoning my fundamentalist upbringing, but this felt like embodying a fundamental truth.
One provocative piece of the puzzle came from a brief conversation I had with an old friend. She was sharing that in her women’s group, all of them in their 80’s, they had been discussing the question,
“When will it be enough?”
I pondered this over many days. When will I have done enough? When will I have learned enough, grown enough, become spiritual enough? I began realizing that for several weeks I had automatically deleted all workshops, podcasts, seminars, online courses that came to my email.
I began thinking, “…Maybe I am enough. Maybe I’m done striving to be better, somehow. Striving to always improve, always ‘pushing the river’ as one friend describes me.” I really started taking that in. I didn’t need to DO anything more to be ok. I am wholeness, after all.
Along with that came an acknowledgment that I trust my Soul to bring to me any issues that might need healing. I don’t need to go looking for my lessons. They will come to me, and when they do I will deal with them, but basically, the searching is over. Maybe it’s my age, 78 for a few more months. Maybe it’s the whole COVID thing. Whatever the reason I am feeling a deep sense of ok-ness.
The final piece, at least for the time being, came in the form of a poem, shared with me by my friend Heidi Robbins. It’s by one of my favorite poets, Jan Richardson and it’s called, “Blessing the Body.”
Blessing the Body
“This blessing takes
one look at you
and all it can say is
Holy even in pain.
Holy even when weary.
In brokenness, holy.
In shame, holy still.
Holy in delight.
Holy in distress.
Holy when being born.
Holy when we lay it down
at the hour of our death.
open your eyes
For one moment
see what this blessing sees,
this blessing that knows
how you have been formed
and knit together
in wonder and
Welcome this blessing
that folds its hands
when it meets you;
receive this blessing
that wants to kneel
you who are
home for God
in this world.”
I know that this deep feeling of holy-ness may come and go, as the truth cycles in and out of my consciousness, but my hope is that when the next funk appears, I will remember.
Even in the funk……holy still.
(First published at Lorian.org)