Transitions: New Revision Series

Everything is in motion, even if Fall’s movement is towards the great sleep of winter. The transitions of nature as well as politics are particularly large at this juncture in time. So, too, are the transitions in our personal lives as we struggle to incorporate the gargantuan shift brought about by the Covid virus which, itself, keeps transitioning. (Five shots and counting….) I’ve referred to this as landing in an alternate universe many times in these last nearly-three years. There are huge examples of potential and current transitioning from the coming possibility of the permanent and deliberate destruction of the American Republic to the killing and displacement of peoples and geographies by the actions of Putin. If “nuclear” anything becomes a reality then this reality shift goes to a place that truly is unimaginable.

There are zillions of tiny losses/ shifts/ transitions in our daily lives as well, constantly updating reminders of how this is not back then—pre-Covid—when store shelves stayed stocked, when we could resupply our stash of favorite crackers, or shampoo, or even cream cheese. Now what we seek is often unavailable or simply beyond our budget. You may assign political party blame for the upwardly stratospheric cost of food and supplies. I blame the “we’ve suffered too long and will now correct our balance sheets” unrealistic greed or philosophy of capitalist business heads. The core of what will tear our government and communities apart can be described with one blanket word: inequality. I see this as global and inevitable. You cannot have such vast gaps in income disparity (which allows a median salary between worker and CEOs to be 670-to-1) without major riffs in societal structure.

For all the seriousness of this, my daily reality is brimming with transitions dictated by age and health. Despite this I’ve been looking from my car window seeing glorious Fall color the likes of which I’ve not seen in years. What a lovely visual of transition; losing oneself in beauty is balm for troubled thoughts. We each age differently and many of us who used genetics to forecast our futures are getting big surprises—in both directions. The reasons are too vast to name so we live with, or die with, our own unknowns. The bow shot of Covid has been “you just never know”.

My pressing question these days is “How do we transition gracefully?”. I’ve entered a new stage of shedding stuff. The excesses of my physical life gave way for a desire to hone things down to basics. Throughout this process one difference that age is bringing to this process is to stay aware that memory is often related to and triggered by objects of meaning. It will be easier if I can limit this to the small stones and shells I gathered in my travels, each with a memory of the circumstances of their gathering along with the trace memory of joy in the structure of small things of nature. I asked permission of the rocks before they ended up in my pocket (nearly always). Now they are my treasures along with two other categories of sacred things: writings (such as letters or journals) and photographs. Each of these are unique to each person and both further this discussion of transitions by offering direct proof. I struggle with the accoutrements of living. How do I know if I will need pots and glassware and linens if I have no idea of what comes next in terms of geography or circumstance. These are Whew-Transitions looming large and often unfathomable. One step at a time knowing the truth of what a long ago roommate said “All decisions are made with too little information.”

Not one of us is free of continual transition; Covid or not, politics or not, this awareness was always with us even when we were not brave enough to see it. How do we navigate when it engulfs us?

Musings: New Revision Series

Perhaps we humans, as a species, realized we came to this extraordinarily beautiful jewel of a planet in a universe so vast that when we nightly looked at the stars we were reminded we were nothing more than dust specks. Instead of feeling joy in our being here amongst the other glorious creatures—the animals, plants, the skies, rainbows and sunsets—we aligned with our fears and our insecurities and fought with one another for tiny vestiges of superiority. 

We, as a species, have done such harm. Rather than coming together to celebrate being, we divided and divided and divided again, factions against factions, making up “races”, insisting on gender hierarchy, and using killing as a way to shore up our puny, scared selves. Using superiority as a shield we attempted to separate ourselves from other living beings all around us, a monumental error of insecurity.

All that was necessary was trust. Prophets came to open our hearts and minds yet our flaws turned these teachings as weapons against one another. 

We did not—have not—learned that trust, love, compassion, cooperation, respect and sharing are all we ever needed. All dividers were false flags. It was a test. We failed.

There are acts of kindness amongst us, fleeting moments of awareness of deeper purpose and caring, each and everyone a reminder of what really matters, yet the mass of awfulness is an obsessive force spread by media, our shiny objects of bad behaviors drawing us away from our inner selves that long for love which we know must be present. Somewhere.

I am only beginning to understand that our individual experiences of sorrow, loss, pain, disease are actually pathways that open us to others. Those who have not (yet) gone through this process are easily identifiable in their confidence and belief they are not like others particularly like those in obvious distress as evidenced by a lack of material resources, by evidence of non-health, and by so many more tiny markers of judgment. Separators. Us versus them. How thin that line of perceived safety really is. Once crossed and fully experienced the reward of “troubles” can be understanding; compassion; “There but for the grace of god, go I.” Such knowledge / awareness is hard earned but for those willing to go deeper the gift of such experience would not be surrendered or exchanged. The false tinkling of laughter, of condescension, the bubble wrap insulation or whatever form that seems easiest route, is a ruse.

Take your sorrow, your pain, your rough and uneasy road and bless it for the vision and knowledge which it allows. All around you are travelers on the path. Sharing the sorrow is a heart opening, a true healing, a blessed opportunity.