Last night I saw a request for clothing for a friend who lost her home in the Redding fire that rages on. Then, this morning, I spoke with Michael Gornik whose home, temple, retreat, and entire community was destroyed by a river of hot lava three days ago. By mid-morning, I heard from another friend who has decided to make radical changes in his life. Marriages are crumbling, people are shifting jobs, Divine Mother is shaking things up every where you turn. This is just the most recent 12 hours of news. It’s been like a roll call of chaotic, unexpected, and totally shocking twists for months…say, “he-ya!” if you feel me!
There are fascinating astrological explanations for the current state of devastation and if you’re interested, here’s a great article all about it by an astrologer friend.
What has been so inspiring, in the midst of all this destruction, has been to observe the yogis all around me. How they can move with grace through it all. Michael and Abram, pictured here, are two such yogis worth watching. When we spoke today at the opening of the Temple of Light service week, Michael was centered firmly in his heart. He held space for grief, for wisdom, for hope, for all of it. I was blessed to witness a moment in this transformational time of his life.
Here are a few observations of how to move through devastation with grace, inspired by Michael and my many friends like him:
- Breathe. Bring breath into a moment of anxiety or excitement, and you create the space needed for a mindful, conscious response. From a scientific perspective, breath releases us from the “fight or flight” lizard brain and moves us with ease into our “executive function.”
- Grieve. Give room in your life to process change. Find the places in your body that hurt and feel them, sit with them, lean into them. When you’re ready, bring light into those places. Have compassion with yourself that change can feel overwhelming and painful. Support others in their process of change and know that an emotional response is simply your body/mind/soul communicating that this is hard. Do not cut that off simply because you believe you should not feel it; that you should be above it because of the misconception that a yogi shouldn’t feel sad. Here is a beautiful visualization on releasing pain.
- Ritualize. Use ritual to invite Divine Mother into the process of letting go. That’s why ritual exists, so use it for its strength. Chant, meditate, offer flowers at your altar, invite friends to a ceremony of your own creation, just do something to honor the release of the past.
- Serve. The most soothing balm to personal grief is service. Serve someone else. Serve something else. Through self-forgetful service, we can move the energy of our lives forward. We begin a new story; a story filled with hope.
May you walk through this time of trial knowing that you are not alone. May you feel love, even when things fall apart.