Monday, April 27, 2020

So far to go through





Today's offering is a poem. I am honoured that Rémy Deck, a brilliant musician and composer, offered to score my recording of it. That is to be listened to first, if you please, and then you can find the transcript and an explanation below.




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I am judging myself every day. Whatever I am, whoever she is, not enough, not right.

Compared to those who are scared to feed their families, am I a fool because I fear for all?

We are in a new hollow. Deep, yet, with not knowing.

I can barely type, my fingers heavy on the keys. And I cry with anger over the impossibilities that are being shouted in my country as certainties, regardless of the additional lives that could be lost.

Of course, it does not matter, now, who is doing the "better job" in this crisis for it is up to us, globally, to do the best job, as a community, whole.

So, me, and you, let us think to put our ego thinking aside...that continual train that says, "No."

It would seem as though while we cannot help but to listen blindly to our world leaders (some of whom are doing whole heartedly well while others are shouting out through the dark) we most certainly can listen to ourselves. Instinctively, we know.

What needs to be done. What is not being done nor taken under hand?

As this goes on, I cannot imagine that anyone but us will actually make the change for things to be better.

Can we do it?

In the midst of our every day, every night grief, can we pay respect to all whom we have lost in saying "Ca suffit." That's enough.

That's enough, now. That's enough.

(and yet we are so far from done)


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A few weeks ago, Ruth Ribeaucourt sent me an article entitled, "That discomfort you are feeling is grief" . It was an incredibly helpful tool at a time when we were not yet speaking of universal grieving but it has come back to me today in acknowledgement that one of the primary steps in processing it is...anger.

I wrote this poem last night because I was so angry that I couldn't sleep. It is anger that has such amplitude that at times, I turn it in on myself. So without, so within. Anger that somehow, despite all conceiving, my home country has a dangerous president who did nothing, is doing nothing when his country is deep in crisis with nearly 50,000 deaths already reported with more to come. Who casually suggests disinfectant injections - which are most-likely lethal - as a possible cure for COVID 19. That a financial bailout is readily available for large corporations while people like my Sister struggle around the clock to keep her small business afloat. And what about the family featured in This New York Times article , who do not know how they are going to eat and whose daughter is vomiting because they can no longer afford her much needed medication? That there are people getting in line at 4am for food donations and will have to wait six hours to receive them?

How is this possible? How? In the so-called world's richest nation? We have to speak up. This has to stop. That's enough. We can do so much better than this.


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I know that perhaps this might strike you as a rather dramatic post but this situation is dramatic. 
Do I stick to my belief that at the essence of all is our need to connect through love?
I do. But I still believe that our voices of disbelief and regret need to heard.

The other posts in this series can be found herehere and here.

With deep Gratitude from Provence,
Be well and stay safe,

Heather



Wednesday, April 22, 2020

The cage of vulnerability






So here we are. Right in the middle of it. Maybe. Because, honestly, none of us has a clue as to what is really going on or how long this pandemic will last. I am not a news bandit, never have been, but I listen to the wires of the world to try and hear what my fellow human beings are thinking...let alone, what decisions their governments are taking (sometimes on their own) for us.

One of the tiny but yet important things, belonging to the hum and thrum are these discussions. Amongst you, amongst me and all over the world.

It's both odd and not - everything is to me, actually, in this moment - but I mean specifically what we are saying to one another during this time.

Do you see it? Or am I alone? But I am having conversations that are achingly direct. Usually, we would warm up to this sort of opening, at best, over months.

And yet here we are.

Virtual friends that I have never seen in person, nor have heard their voices, have suddenly offered a shared agreement to be open, a sort of grace.

And that feels scary in itself beyond belief.

So here we are.

What is amazing, is that we are all so rock bottom dollar, that we have given up the game of (fortune and fame) to just admit, "No, I don't know what is next. And I am scared."

What a difference this is, you know?

Our collective, western society has been droning on for so long, "I got this." "I got this." It is the engine behind what we were taught to be.

And yet, of course, we have been thrown to the seas; monsters are knocking at the door...caving it in. Choose your metaphor.

What is beautiful...and yes, it is hard and unfair to talk about beauty within this ongoing breath of death...but. But...there are, and have been a lot of exchanges that are...beautiful. Tears shed and words broken like bread.

As we struggle on, day by day...we speak.

Some yell, but most speak. And often, in so doing, they rattle the cages of their vulnerability, whispering what they would never dare to otherwise.

These moments seem to be the building blocks of our future.

Or could be.

"I can't do this anymore." "I feel alone and I am tired of it." "I don't want my life to be some form of bullshit just because society says so." "I am not going back. I am not."

What I am hearing.

To say, listen. Listen. Listen, can you listen?

(We can be all of the things we did not think we were capable of.)









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To ribbon up my two previous posts, a Leonard Cohen quote - one that I have cited here before but seems especially appropriate now: "There is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in."






 







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It's interesting. I wrote this nearly a week ago. And yet, the waves of emotion and thought are rolling through our cultures so quickly now that it almost seems out-dated. Not in terms of pertinence, but what it feels like our current state might be.

Remember, it serves no one and nothing to push your feelings down. You will only have to deal with them later. So please...you take care of you.  Keep the door on the cage open, if you can.

Perhaps because it is Earth Day, I feel grounded in something that is both hopeful and yet has an angry fire behind it burning. One of urgency. For I am convinced that this pandemic is an outward mirroring of our destroying the planet. Somehow. 

And that it is not too late to change. 

Slowly, I want to take a deep breath and lift my eyes...up.




I am sending my deepest condolences to all that have lost loved ones and friends to COVID 19. 

With love from Provence,
Heather



Thursday, April 9, 2020

Faith and falling free






Those midnight days. As if there is a hole in the roof of our collective church, and the rain is falling down, down through the beams, drops falling free.

And yet, there is Beauty ever-present. Unrepentant. Partout. 

She can be garish in comparison, this thing called Spring. And yet how we need her.

We breathe, we "can't breathe", we check our breathing. Upon rising, or at every twinge or cough. Knowing that there are others who are asking elsewhere in great fear escalating. Silently, we say thank you.

It is like a litany, this gratitude. Beads on a rosary, for those of us who are relatively ok. Who do not have to call every hour to check on a loved one's status, who do not have to contend with a lost job, less food, bitter feuds or finances.

Or loss. That felted word, death. Not for me yet, not yet, so thank you.

I beg the tears to fall for release. It is part of the terrain of a too feeling heart and
yet they do not come. I am such in shock. A grieving for all and those who will never be again.

Joan Sutherland, a teacher of the Zen koan tradition recently wrote: "Grief is a form of love, how we go on loving in the absence of the beloved. It is the transformation of love through loss, and how we are initiated into a new world."

If this grief is like a chapel onto itself, stone upon stone and block by block, there must be a light somewhere in our beings, even when whispered as quietly as a prayer. Or so I believe. One gives birth to the other.

We are here, we remain, what will we be?

During the late afternoon's sweet golden hour, or the early morning (it is now 5:30 am), these are the questions that I ask myself. Blinking in the dark, or heart racing.

The response doesn't feel like Hope. Hope is calling something into being and it feels too soon for that yet.

No, but perhaps...I can have a spark of Faith. One not born from any religion. It feels like to refuse that feeling would be disrespectful to all who are fighting so hard in order to move through and beyond a reality that is brutal. Incomprehensible. We must stand by the side of those on the front lines. In a hospital or a home.

So I will hold that light gently. For myself, for my family and our broken but not fallen church of the world. Faith just is, it exists and that feels like freedom.

Despite my falling down (or sitting numbly still), that is an active choice that I can make so that it may grow and go where needed. It will.














I am grateful beyond words for all of the many, many messages, emails and comments on Instagram after my previous post. You are all such incredible people. This community is so strong. 

I believe in us. 

Sending Love,
Heather



PS. I am updating this post to include an article from the NY Times about our universal - and personal grieving during this time of the Corona virus. It is absolutely worth the read, most certainly if you catch yourself in a state of blame...wondering "Why do I feel this way? So much?"...This can help.

https://nyti.ms/3aWoraY