This past month I had body work done. I didn’t think about this ahead of time, but when my friend Catalyst (check her out here) asked me where I needed work done, I listed a number of things and then was surprised to hear myself say: “and maybe…my psoas,” rubbing my belly.
When she eventually came to my abdomen, just sliding the blankets so she could access my belly caused me to flinch. I thought: “here it comes.”
As she started pressing gently into my soft unguarded flesh, tears came. I let them come, along with images, colors, sounds that flowed through my imagination. My Littles, all the younger parts of me that dance in my inner world and keep me sensitive to the outer world, got vocal and irritated, like flesh rubbed raw. A flash of an un-placed memory (was it mine, even?) of being physically gutted and abandoned in agony. A trailing river of grief and loss swelled in its wake, flowing up and out and down.
Healing touch on my tender under belly is evocative, an invitation to release where I am coiled in self-protected tension. The right side resisted, stubbornly convinced of an unseen danger. Finally, softening, I felt as though many hands were upon me, and my body worker’s hands became the hands of my grandmother. Other hands held me on all sides, and I saw myself floating on my back in ocean water. Let go, they said. We’ve got you.
Other things came as she worked up my abdomen, shoulders, head and neck—a full life cycle, the elements at play. I let myself be guided by the sensation in my body and the energy releasing, listening for the messages and without working too hard, grounding and clearing the way I have learned to do.
I did not enter the space thinking I had big emotions to process, but then again, the world is on fire. Each of our bodies is feeling it somewhere. Each of us has the capacity to heal it somewhere. Some of us will be overt in our healing work, taking to the streets or the public offices. Some of us are working at the level of our own physiology, barely an eyelash above the water of anxiety, depression, or panic in which one can easily drown.
At times like these it is easy for me to look around and wonder: am I doing enough? Under which, of course, is the lie of white hypermasculine imperialist capitalism—that to be enough, one has to be doing, producing, in perpetual motion with tangible visible results. (For more about how the belly in particular holds the ancestral trauma of whiteness and colonialism, check out this excellent blog by one of my mentors Tada Hozumi.)
Though the world is on fire and my instinct is to rush to put it out to sooth my grief, guilt, and anxiety; or climb atop the tower of my own privilege and ignore it, I am being challenged in working with my mentors to slow down and remember that the times we are in call for the training of the marathon runner, not the sprinter. We are each part of much bigger ecosystem that is undergoing massive, cataclysmic change. And the problems we are facing are going nowhere fast.
So what will it take to endure, to stay engaged and resourced over the long-term? What will it take to stay attuned to the ecosystem in which every quiet decolonizing act, every subtle reconnection of spirit to body to earth to other bodies has exponential affect? I have realized over the years of my own activism, spiritual practice, and bodywork that such attunement isn’t just a matter of “self-care”, or “putting on your own air mask first” so you can be there to help others out. It’s so much deeper than that. When one shift towards one’s body as a microcosm of the wholeness of creation itself, it reweaves the paradigmatic fabric of our entire culture. Such a shift, I believe, is anti-oppressive, anti-colonial, anti-patriarchal, anti-white supremacist, and PRO-thriving for the entire ecosystem of the cosmos.
People who are connected to the pain their own bodies carry and connected to the earth and connected to their own soul do not drive across the state for the sole purpose to shoot people because of their race and immigration status. Cultures that are connected to the pain in its collective body and connected to the earth and connected to its own soul do not produce such people. People and cultures who are connected to their own bodies and the earth cannot help but be sensitive and respond to the signs of the devastating changes our earth is undergoing.
This weekend marks several days of significance: the global climate strike happens on the 20th, led by youth in 150 different countries (join where you are! Check out the events in Tacoma and Seattle). Saturday the 21st is the International Day of Peace, a UN-sponsored day which this year is focusing on Climate Justice as well. I listened to an interview with a doctor this on the increasingly “diagnosable” occurance of environmental anxiety in patients she sees. She said it’s not medication she prescribes—but action. I would add to the prescription—action that emerges out of a willingness to truly feel the grief and the nourishing supportive presence of the Earth, underneath the hum of (appropriate!) anxiety for the ecological crisis we face.
And then the Equinox happens on Monday the 23rd, which to me is a beautiful finale to the previous days. Equinox is a moment of poise and balance between the upsurge of summer and the settling of winter. In that poised place there lies the invitation to consider all that is present in paradoxical unity: crisis and calm; despair and determination; the depth of grief and the breadth of joy; the constant pulsation of death and life in creation.
I offer some simple resources of the season to support you in whatever your life’s work is at this time:
FREE Equinox Psychic Reading: In case you missed last month’s offering, I’m inviting each of you to share in a FREE remote psychic group reading for the Equinox. This is a small way I can express my profound gratitude to you, members of my ecosystem of support that has shown up amazingly for me these past several years. The reading will happen sometime around September 23rd (giving myself a little wiggle room as I adjust to my fall school schedule!) To be included, RSVP via email by Sept. 21st (Saturday), and the recording will be sent to you by Sept. 24th (Tuesday). If you’ve never received a reading from me before this is a great opportunity to try!
FREE Stillness and Sound Practice: Sunday November 17th, 6:30-8pm at Saravida on the Hill (1011 S. L St). This offering is an invitation to sync up with the rhythms of the natural world and the quiet stirrings of one's inner world through communal practices of song, silence, prayer, and grounding. See complete details here, and please RSVP via e-mail no later than November 15th.
FREE song and meditation resources: Did you know I have a small collection of original songs and meditations? If you are experiencing environmental anxiety (or any other kind!), I recommend Trusting in the Goddess: A Chant for Hard Times.
Balance and blessing to you, dear ones~