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In Case of Emergency... Find Ground


Image Description: large, glass Mason jar partially filled with amethyst beads and cloves sits open in reflective sunlight, atop purple paper pages with gold and white writing, on wooden floor. Photo by stefanie cohen


In Case of Emergency... Find Ground

Part 1: Neither Rationing Nor Rationalizing Our Care

A confession to you:

Back in the “before times", a few months before the pandemic began, I prepared a magical, ritual message in a bottle for myself. A trusted teacher, Chani Nicholas, reading the signs, (in her case, astrological), had guided us to write out reminders to ourselves of the resources of faith and resilience on which we may need to fall back when gratification may be delayed.

When we become confused or fearful.

When we are asked to dig deeply, work diligently, and with commitment — even when the rewards feel distant or faint.

When faith itself feels out of reach.

Heeding an embodied sense that this indeed would be a good exercise for me, I proceeded to find gorgeous purple paper, and smooth, gold and white gel pens that deeply pleased me. I wrote out my responses. Including:

“ I have FAITH: …in my body’s felt senses to help to guide me.

…that I am not alone or separate even though I may forget this from time to time.

…that love may not always be enough, but that it is required in all things”

and

“I can LOSE ACCESS to my faith

…as a lost trust in myself — for choices I’ve made that feel lacking in ‘sense’. That I 'should have known better.'

I get easily flustered; second-guessing my own priorities, particularly how I spend my time…

and so on, including:

[In cases such as these] “I will remember to give myself ample amounts of grace, solitude, connection, ritual, movement, writing, reality checks with trusted friends…..”

All good, inspiring stuff. All messages I would benefit from at any time. Truly.

I rolled up my pages. I placed them in a quart-sized mason jar, with pretty stones, fragrant cloves, and other objects, screwed on the lid, and placed it within eyesight, month in and out. I knew that it was there for when I really needed it.

For when I REALLY needed it. Certainly, I would know when that was....

Surely this would be a dire circumstance; one of true desperation. Not just any old time I’m feeling a little unsure….

Not just any time I needed to feel held, connected, whole, supported.…loved....

And then, little by little, what I’m imagining are my peoples’ (Eastern European Jewish migrants’) ancestral messages, encoded deep within my bones, began to emerge:

“things”, I heard them say in me, "can and will always get worse”.

And then, somehow, this lovely object -- this trove of support -- became something to reach for only in an emergency.

In case of emergency, break glass.

So, there I find myself, months into the pandemic, experiencing the dwindling of my familiar resources of connection, touch, gathering in community... and I've become unwilling to offer myself even a glimpse of the hope-filled messages I've quite literally left in a bottle for myself. Unwilling to reach for a resource right there within arm’s-length.

With all humility, and with all the grace that I can muster for myself and for you --- I ask you: does anything sound familiar? Are there ways in which you also may have found yourself rationing or rationalizing your access to what supports you? Have you found yourself, as I surely have, holding on with your fingernails or holding your breath for things to either “get better or worse” in deeply unsettling and challenging times?

An offering for you:

Let's begin again together, then, to access a foundation of belonging, faith, connectedness, and care. To fortify or regain our connections to our communities and to a planet that want and need us to show up resourced for all of the good and challenging works we're here to do and be.

To show up with authenticity, agency, purpose, and interdependence.

Let’s reach together for GROUND.

RESOURCES IN FINDING GROUND, 1:

Establishing the container

Settle down into lying or sitting on the surface of a chair or the floor.

Allow the parts of your body that make contact with these surfaces to feel their true weight; to accept the support from the Earth

The soles of your feet, perhaps, or your buttocks

the wide swath of your back

spread out as you inhale

yield downward as you exhale

A creature of the land -- you are part of it

You recognize one another

The very minerals that make your bones

greet the minerals of the Earth.

Sinking, ever so slightly,

accept this offer to be held;

this promise of belonging.

It is from this place of containment that the space can emerge

in which you may listen more closely

to whatever comes next

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