Thursday, November 17, 2016
Brokenness and a Waterfall
Donald Trump has been elected President.
Chaos has erupted. Anger, hate, and fear have risen, from both sides, and every direction. People are divided; a country, communities, families, friendships...none safe from the chopping block. Millions of fingers pointing, blaming, shaming. Millions of hearts breaking.
My heart is broken. If you could shake it you would hear the pieces rattling in there, but you can't see what exactly has come apart inside. You can't fix it. People are angry. Some of them are angry with me. I wonder if I have lost them. The pain is deep, throbbing...sadness, grief, despair, rage, guilt, shame. Loss.
I am fractured.
My son broke his femur when he was two years old. He tried to kick a ball, but instead fell over the top and twisted his tiny leg. I wasn't looking. He screamed, a wailing siren scream, the kind that sends a mother running at super human speed. His father and I scooped him up, and rushed away to get help. We couldn't see what was broken, but we heard his cry of agony. We knew what to do. We knew where to go.
It seems that none of us know where to go or what to do now. We can hear the screams. But they are coming from everywhere. Some of them are coming from me. I feel the rattling of my heart. I reach out,wanting to save others, but I also cry out to be saved myself. I want to move, to run at that superhuman speed, but I feel stuck. I feel bound. I feel powerless.
The supermoon arrived just days after the election. A full moon that would be so close, so large, so bright. Powerful. Full moon has a spiritual significance of manifestation, creation, and completion, and is associated with the divine feminine and water. So, on the day of the supermoon I wanted to be out in nature and near that healing water. I hoped to find some clarity alone in the wilds, to pray for healing, for myself, and all my hurting brothers and sisters. I hiked a treacherous and slippery path down through the thick forest to a waterfall. I almost fell several times. I considered broken bones; femur, tibia, radius, ribs. I would be out there alone, no one would hear my screams.
At the hospital, they had to cut off his pants. His leg was so swollen.
They said the x ray had revealed a spiral fracture of the femur. They had to transfer him to the children's hospital. He would require special care that they couldn't provide there. At the children's hospital a nurse explained he would need to be in traction for a number of days, and then a cast. She said an orthopedic doctor would be in soon to explain the cast to us. I thought, a broken leg, sure, a cast from thigh to ankle, little crutches, nothing too extraordinary. No problem.
The doctor came in with a doll. The doll was encased in plaster from chest to ankle, both legs casted, spread wide, with a bar in between. A body cast. A two year old. I pleaded that there must be something else, something...he said no. This was the only option for healing. Complete immobilization from the chest down.
These days post election I have felt a great heaviness in my chest, it radiates out from there. It feels tight and drawing in on me. It's hard to breathe. I am usually a person of action, but in this I feel bound. I feel immobilized. There is no easy fix, not for me, our families, our communities, or our country. A little cast, a bandage, a bit of plaster won't do. The way to healing is going to be long and hard, and it's going to hurt, for quite awhile.
When I made it to the waterfall, I cried and heaved, I looked to the sky above and to the earth under my feet. As the water poured over the cliff, hot tears rolled down my cheeks. I reached down and scooped up cool water and mingled it with those tears. I prayed with all I had, in the ways I know how. I did moon salutation, from yoga, that honors the moon and the feminine. Praying with my body. I prayed with song, chanting. I uttered words of request, asking for help. Praying with my voice. I sat on a rock in stillness and opened to feeling, receiving, listening. Praying with my heart.
I listened to the natural world around me. Praying with my soul.
My son endured traction, painful, boring. He was medicated for the pain, only to have other pains from the medication. Weights pulled on his already broken leg. All I could do was sit at his side and do my best to comfort him, to bring him some measure of relief by holding his hand, kissing his face, reading him a book, watching his favorite shows with him.
He went in the cast for a week, an x ray check up then revealed improper healing...out of the cast, back in traction for two more weeks, back in the cast for two months. My poor guy, I call him bud, suffered in so many ways. When he came out of the cast, he couldn't walk. His muscles had weakened too much, he would have to crawl first.
I asked the waterfall what to do. I looked to the water for some inspired answer. Her response was to simply continue pouring down, letting the water flow. The pool below receiving it, the stream it feeds flowing along. The wind blowing gently, the birds singing, insects flying. Out here nothing was wrong. Out in the wild there is just being. There is no resistance, all things simply doing what they do with no judgment, doubt, or hesitation. The waterfall doesn't hold anything back, not a drop. She is wide open and letting go.
My son did crawl, and then he stood, he walked again. Healing did happen. It required patience, care, courage, support, willingness to go through the hard parts, and love.
I left the peaceful oasis of the waterfall after a long sit. I found a new challenge on the ascent. The muddy and steep mountain trail offered only jagged rock steps as footholds. There were stretches that I had to put my hands down on the rocks in front of me, dig into the dirty surface with my fingers, and crawl up. It took some effort, strength, will. I got there. And at the top I stepped onto the flat path and walked. I felt my heart more steady, less rattled, beating stronger.
I will think of the waterfall when the tightening comes, when I want to run away, or hold things in. I will try to make myself more like her, not holding back, wide open, letting go.
I know healing happens. It will happen now too, but the way ahead is clearly long and painful. The first thing is to fully acknowledge the injury, really look at it, inside and out and from every angle. We must look at all the ugliness, the blood and guts of it, with eyes wide open. We each must do our best to show up now, attend to ourselves, lend a hand to others, protect the people around us, especially those who are vulnerable and deeply afraid. The wounded world needs us. It needs us to be people brave of heart and bold of truth. It needs deeply grounded warriors, medicine people.
Healing will happen. It may take a very long time, we will have to crawl before we walk. It will be trying, it will challenge us on every level, but we must not lose hope, or harden into hate and resentment. In our fight against dark forces, we must not forget the light. This healing will require courage, fire, will, relentless and vigilant action, but also patience, steadfastness, support, compassion, and love. This great challenge is before us, and we will meet it, but may we keep our intentions centered in our hearts. Open, in flow, powerful, goodness will prevail.