Breath and Flow

None of us, not even hermits like me, exists apart from each other and the world. Whether we are aware of it or not, we are all feeling the ripple effects of the pain and terror people are enduring in a time of fire, plague, earthquake, flood, and war. As Denise Levertov wrote:

"Yes, this is the knowledge that jostles for space
in our bodies along with all we
go on knowing of joy, of love;

"our nerve filaments twitch with its presence
day and night,
nothing we say has the not the husky phlegm of it in the saying,
nothing we do has the quickness, the sureness,
the deep intelligence living at peace would have."

No, those of us who are not living through these horrors directly are not suffering in the same way as those who are. But, still, whether we acknowledge it or not, the grief, fear, pain, rage, and despair of it all live in our bodies. And when we do not acknowledge them, they come out in unexpected and unintentional ways: anxiety, insomnia, depression, grouchiness, angry outbursts. And until we deal with them, we are less able to tend in a real way to the challenges that face us all.

So what can we do? What I am doing and what I am counseling my kin who ask is:

  • Spend time by rivers, streams, lakes, and oceans, letting your senses become aware of flow and movement
  • Spend time breathing in the scents of wild plants
  • Listen to songs and read poems and stories that helped your ancestors navigate times of trouble
  • Move your body in ways that feel good to you
  • Be gentle with yourself and with others
  • Find solitude (or space with deeply trusted people) where you can allow tears and anger to flow

It is from these places that the next steps will become clear.

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