Fear rises up. I won't hold it. I breathe it out. Take in the good, clean air these life-giving trees are making for me.
I know these threads all too well: a tendency toward isolationism. Judgment. Competition. Separation. -isms. Control. A tendency to cut off what I perceive as having "hurt me", to avoid what's challenging. A tendency to build walls and box in to an unexamined life. These things I've seen, I've healed, am healing, in me.
So when the things happen, like Alabama - as they are happening more and more, almost every day, it seems, these past few years - my initial want is to flee. To leave the country, find a new bubble - or at least, find a quiet spot on a tropical beach... and what, hide? Numb myself with alcohol? I don't drink, so that's out. And the shining clarity of sobriety won't let me rest. Running away would mean living with denied truth lodged in my heart like a festering splinter that can't be found. The truth comes instantly, every time: Staying is unavoidable.
After that momentary desire to flee is this: Being in love and continuing to heal is all there is.
Heal it in me. Help others heal. Heal it in me. Serve.
These past few days I've watched the old play of wounding in me. In my personal life, parts that were healed were tested. I don't even listen to the news anymore; I know our connection, so I just watch what's happening in me, and I breathe, and I love and I forgive. I come home.
The process isn't always comfortable. Sometimes it stuns me, knocks me to the ground. But this good ground has her roots in me; she receives my hurts and holds me up. I am devoted. I learn. I return to love.
It's why I'm here. It's why I stay. It's why I return: to love.
Memory of the fires and of not being burned. Held captive by a man who knew me - felt the truth, longed to live there - but wrestled with his internalized fears that belonged to the men around him. Knowing the truth, but pulled by the lies they told about me, about the tribe of Woman. I was held captive. Hidden. Not burned. Protected. Grudgingly, painfully, vitally trusted. He understood my connection, had felt it himself, felt the deep divine love administered to his hurts and his heart through the portal of my earth-womb-heart-hands; but the fear taught him to control what was free and good, wild and alive; so I was punished, all the while holding space for his struggle. Rooting to the earth; disconnect impossible. Rooted and receiving - fortified, blessed - watching him long to rest in his heart's knowing, watching him trying not to fall in line with the fear and the lies, watching him hating himself for not being able to just be. He beat me to punish his own weakness, his confusion. But while others burned, he did not give me up. I tended my wounds and I tended him, holding space for his process, giving him the medicine of lifetimes. Seeing clearly in him the truth he longed to remember, beneath his anger and suffering. Loving him toward his return to freedom, to peace.
So I stay.
Flee, stay, and next comes the relief that I don't have children who will inherit this mess. And then the sharp ache for the little ones in my life and the lives of my friends. And then these children's children, and on and on. Grateful for their courage, their emotional intelligence, their independence. Praying they are taught above all else to listen, listen, listen to their hearts. To love and honor themselves and all beings.
And then the knowing: I inherit this. The current embodiment has never been and will not be my end.
I've been here before. I'll be here again. Healing, healing, healing. Rooted and receiving. Fortified and blessed, in service.
Love lives. Love lifts. Love is. I am here.
"I am resilient.
I trust the movement.
I negate the chaos,
Uplift the negative.
I'll show up at the table again and again and again.
I'll close my mouth and learn to listen."
-Resilient, Rising Appalachia