These were the words I thought I saw when I blindly pulled a book off the shelf and let it open to a random page. They were the first words my eyes gazed upon, an answer I needed during a flash of deep sadness. My attempt may sound cryptic but sometimes the Soul knows what it needs in order to lead us to the answers already within us. This was what led me to that darkly lit bookshelf in my attempt for a new perspective.
But the actual words on the page, when revealed under better light, were “GIFT SPELL”. The title to a poem from Joyee Sidman in a book titled, What the Heart Knows. A book my husband had given me for my birthday many years ago. Ironic, how this very book and those two words, many years later would rest in my hands on my 50th birthday. Even more ironic, was the title of the book itself as I currently sift my way through the emotional difficulties of the COVID19 crisis.
The reason I tried this experiment with the book was because I was feeling lost and having difficulty putting my finger on my inner conflict. By sitting down with these words, I began to see my current frustration for what it is, and for what it may be for my fellow citizens.
Nine years ago I started a guided nature tours business. It was a passion of mine to do what I loved - to do in life what the heart knows (pretty interesting that of all the books I blindly pulled off that shelf it was the one with this title!) My work is where I am most socially comfortable, always engaging with others positively in collective spirit. Otherwise, I am quite an introvert. I gain deep meaning and value through the communal dialog of my work. It defines the very essence of my Being and allows me to do what I love and to express myself authentically. But most importantly, getting out everyday, meeting new people, making a difference in how they experience our region, it gives meaning to my life. I never really thought about that until I had a moment to be still with those 2 words.
It dawned on me then that in just a matter of weeks into the fluid COVID19 crisis my business, the things that define me, give me value & purpose not to mention my ability to contribute to my household and family - were stopped dead in their tracks. Shuttered into deep silence. And it was the same for millions of others on this planet. WE ARE NOT ALONE IN THIS CRISIS.
COVID19 wasn’t just attacking us physically. COVID19 was threatening the obsolescence of all that brings meaning into my life, that brings meaning into all of our lives.
“BE STILL”, the words I thought I saw, and “GIFT SPELL”, the words I actually saw in the dim light of that night were speaking the same language to me. They were an opportunity to look deeper beyond the title of this crisis and more closely into the pages of its meaning. Momentarily, COVID19 has stripped us of the very things by which we define ourselves, leaving us vulnerable and fearful.
In fact, at that moment with those two words my mind began to run an emotional check list of my feelings from these past few weeks; rudderless, reactionary, bored, trapped, concerned, useless, worthless, lonely, scared, and needy to name just a few things banging around my mind.
But, like the title of the book I held in my hands, there was something deeper within me that my heart already knew. That in this space in time of forced isolation there is a diamond in the rough nestled within ourselves. A diamond of an opportunity to accept ourselves, stripped of what we attach to our perceived inner worth, and to liberate ourselves for ourselves. To reconnect to what we bring to this lifetime from the heart and soul. But clearly, this is not as easy as the words make it seem. Because to do this means we must DARE to try to accept ourselves and possibly fail at this task and if this were to happen while in our isolation, then how would we deal with that perceived failure without the support system to which we are accustomed?
I believe we are here to give meaning to life and our current confinement seems to threaten the very concept of how we are supposed to do this. Most importantly, to have meaning in life is to have love - love for one another, for our community and for ourselves. Those two words I thought saw "be still" were exactly the words I needed to translate to myself. I needed to be still and reflect on how to receive, to liberate and open a new door to Self Acceptance.
Love, to me, is an oscillating energy. We have to be open to receive and willing to give. This is its current, its flow. Others may validate us, the Universe may even show us how to try to go about it, such as randomly selecting words from a page of a book in a moment of deep sadness as I had done. But all of this, means nothing without our ability to open the door within ourselves and to receive it, accept it and, most importantly, rise to the occasion and courage to love ourselves implicitly to share it with others.
Perhaps while Mother Earth begins to once again find herself. As her lungs clear and she begins to breathe deeply as she once did, we, too, can rise to the courage of this occasion and breathe love within ourselves, collectively. I leave you with the full poem that opened randomly to me that night so we can be reminded that the message we need comes to us at exactly the right time:
Whatever is inside
that large, flat box:
Let it not be made of wool - snowflake
pattern - one arm slightly longer
than the other, knitted in my formerly
favorite shade of green.
Let it not be square and thick
with stiff covers,
full of wit and wisdom.
Let it not be the hope of a new hobby.
Let it not be anything
to keep me neat, or clean, or safe.
Whatever it is,
let it shrink down
small and hard and cold.
let it have metal teeth
and a whiff of speed.
let it slip with a sweet jingle
into my battered jeans
as I run
for the garage.
It looks like something else
But let it be freedom.
Madge Malone in her blogging zone!