The Wisdom of Covid-19

The Great Sphinx against a backdrop of stars and rising sun

While watching a map of the coronavirus spreading worldwide, words that kept popping into my head were the Silent Spring. Do you recall that early 1960’s science book by Rachel Carson? Six decades later as humanity is self-destructing with mass disinformation and the manifestation of Hollywood’s sci-fi biowarfare films, is it surprising to see our planet nearing a screeching halt, a silent spring if you will?

Does the air appear cleaner to space scientists during this international shelter in place? I’ve noticed starrier skies without light pollution and fresher air with less traffic. Have you? Covid-19 is a formidable teacher. But, will humanity listen? Will humans get beyond their discomfort with silence to be quiet enough to really hear the message?

I disconnected from sensationalized reporting years ago, but, as coronavirus numbers climbed, some well-meaning friends unintentionally bombarded me with media doom. After declaring that every negative message had to be balanced with a positive one, I now receive more messages of humor and hope. Taking control of what I allow in my thoughts helps control my outlook. See what you think of this message that I’m offering for your pondering too:

An Imagined Letter from Covid-19 to Humans

Stop. Just stop.
It is no longer a request. It is a mandate.
We will help you.

Circle of tall evergreens with airplane in the middle
Photo by Sam Willis from Pexels

We will bring the supersonic, high speed merry-go-round to a halt
We will stop
the planes
the trains
the schools
the malls
the meetings
the frenetic, furied rush of illusions and “obligations” that keep you from hearing our
single and shared beating heart,
the way we breathe together, in unison.
Our obligation is to each other,
As it has always been, even if, even though, you have forgotten.

We will interrupt this broadcast, the endless cacophonous broadcast of divisions and distractions,
to bring you this long-breaking news:
We are not well.
None of us; all of us are suffering.
Last year, the firestorms that scorched the lungs of the earth
did not give you pause.
Nor the typhoons in Africa, China, Japan.
Nor the fevered climates in Japan and India.
You have not been listening.
It is hard to listen when you are so busy all the time, hustling to uphold the comforts and conveniences that scaffold your lives.
But the foundation is giving way,
buckling under the weight of your needs and desires.

Reaching for the stars
Photo by luizclas from Pexels

We will help you.
We will bring the firestorms to your body
We will bring the fever to your body
We will bring the burning, searing, and flooding to your lungs
that you might hear:
We are not well.

Despite what you might think or feel, we are not the enemy.
We are the Messenger. We are the Ally. We are a balancing force.
We are asking you:
To stop, to be still, to listen;

To move beyond your individual concerns and consider the concerns of all;
To be with your ignorance, to find your humility, to relinquish your thinking minds and travel deep into the mind of the heart;

Person meditating on earth's end facing open sky
Photo by Josh Hild on Unsplash

To look up into the sky, streaked with fewer planes, and see it, to notice its condition: clear, smoky, smoggy, rainy? How much do you need it to be healthy so that you may also be healthy?
To look at a tree, and see it, to notice its condition: how does its health contribute to the health of the sky, to the air you need to be healthy?
To visit a river, and see it, to notice its condition: clear, clean, murky, polluted? How much do you need it to be healthy so that you may also be healthy? How does its health contribute to the health of the tree, who contributes to the health of the sky, so that you may also be healthy?

Many are afraid now.
Do not demonize your fear, and also, do not let it rule you. Instead, let it speak to you—in your stillness,
listen for its wisdom.
What might it be telling you about what is at work, at issue, at risk, beyond the threats of personal inconvenience and illness?
As the health of a tree, a river, the sky tells you about the quality of your own health, what might the quality of your health tell you about the health of the rivers, the trees, the sky, and all of us who share this planet with you?

Stop.
Notice if you are resisting.
Notice what you are resisting.
Ask why.

Photo of man leaning against heart shaped tree amidst starry sky
Photo by Rakicevic Nenad from Pexels

 

Stop. Just stop.
Be still.
Listen.
Ask us what we might teach you about illness and healing, about what might be required so that all may be well.
We will help you, if you listen.

                                                                                        ˜ Kristin Flyntz

Looking to Ancients, Artists and Antecedents for Answers

Red mushroom growing out of dirt and darkness
Black foamy sea churning
Photo by Matt Hardy on Pexels

Contrary news reports on the coronavirus got you feeling confused? Everything changing too rapidly to absorb? Feeling like you’re churning in a sea of uncertainty? No worries (unless that’s what you choose to do.)

Mountain of sand shadowed over, half dark, half light like a Taijitu
Photo by Fabio Rose on Unsplash

Look at the bright side. Yes, there is always a bright side, as the Tijitu depicts and notables observed:

  “Confusion is the welcome mat at the door of creativity.” ∼ Paul Cezanne

“Every act of creation is first of all an act of destruction.” ∼ Pablo Picasso

“Confusion is a word we have invented for an order which is not yet understood.”                                                            ∼  Henry Miller

There is an alternative to the negative energy of panic and hysteria that the media, skeptics, and worriers incessantly project with paintbrushes of gloom and doom. Change the lens of annihilation to burgeoning creativity and watch positive changes explode. Think mushrooms.

“Creativity involves breaking out of expected patterns in order to look at things in a different way.”Edward de Bono

“Order and creativity are complementary.”Lewis Mumford

“Creativity is intelligence having fun.” ∼ Albert Einstein

Note:  in seeking creativity, I’m not suggesting you become as reckless as the youth on Spring Break. While we are advised to remain home, limit and distance contact (sounds like most who are usually glued to devices at home anyway), there is another suggestion I like. A fellow blogger passed along the simple and safe greeting of Namaskar.

Anjali Mudra hand positioning
Photo by Veit Zahlaus on wikimedia.org (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Buddha_anjali_mudra.JPG)

Namaskar. Hmm. That intrigued me. Years ago I learned in Yoga that namaste meant “the beauty in me sees the beauty in you.” Lovely sentiment, but it felt odd greeting others in my western culture with Añjali Mudrā (hands placed together prayer-like and close to the chest while bowing the head toward the other person). After all, I grew up giving hearty hugs to friends and family then firm handshakes in business.

But now, now that close contact can be downright dangerous, fist bumps are considered risky, and elbow bumping feels like the chicken dance, there IS a better way.  And one that’s survived the test of time and viruses too.

Greeting others with Añjali Mudrā and saying Namaste or Namaskar perfectly solves the coronavirus admonition to physically disconnect. But, it’s the beauty beyond the surface — a profound connecting while disconnecting — that attracts me.

While various explanations exist for the differences between namaste and namaskar, I like the ones best on detechter.com. Either greeting is said to develop a spiritual connection with the person being greeted. More poignant than a casual “Hello,” “Hi,” “Cheers,” or “Ciao,” I love this greeting of respect and honoring the other person. May its use continue to outlast any virus. 

The coronavirus is tragic, I agree. But, here we’ve learned something joyful amidst the corona confusion. Flourishing in the creativity of chaos can lift humanity to another level. The choice, as always, is ours. Let it begin with me.

Namaste Khush Raho (Be happy)

Namaste Jeete Raho (God bless you)

Woman lighting a succession of candles
Photo by Héctor Martínez on Unsplash

 

Locomotive Holidays and the Christmas Train

Santa Claus boarding a holiday decorated train

Loco Emotions

Have you noticed how emotions buildup steam around the holidays, emulating a runaway train? Far reaching stressors often halt the holiday joy ride — be it time with difficult personalities, over-spending, trying to mirror picture-perfect celebrations, too little rest, dashed hopes on a “Dear Santa List,” and of course alcohol consumption (usually in excess at this time of year). But those unscheduled stops don’t have to become your final holiday destination.  

Switching point of train tracks
Original photo by Frans Van Heerden from Pexels

Board the Observation Car

This may be a time of traditions but it can also be a time of breaking them. Are you the caboose chugging along well-worn tracks, or the engine choosing more fulfilling activities? Only you know how you feel around the family contrarian, when you over-indulge in special holiday treats, or struggle to pay bills. No matter when or how holiday difficulties appear, step back to see how to handle them differently, rather than traditionally.

 


Challenging opportunities can be unexpected sources of strength when initiating change to rise above them.


Photo by Joan You on Unsplash

Using the Communication Cord

When approaching a disquieting juncture, try the unfamiliar. Respond instead of react. Shorten the visit at difficult family get togethers. Politely walk away from an argumentative platform to an affable track. Prioritize time-sensitive tasks on the schedule, and include self-care on the timetable. Ask yourself if overloading on those tempting holiday sweets is worth risking diabetes. Good old fashioned discipline still works. Set a budget for gift giving and stick to it. Better yet, offer a gift from the heart. Most of all, be kind. To yourself and others.

love trainProven Tracks

A few sayings I find helpful, and particularly at this time of year:

  • Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.
  • Nothing changes if nothing changes.
  • Let it begin with me.

May your holidays fill your heart with joy, peace and love.

Olive branch
Olive branch photo by Janine Joles on Unsplash

Nature Teacher: Challenges

Shovel caked with clay on top of pile of stones next to work boots, work gloves and a large tree

Digging through clay caked soil to plant something somewhere in my yard I usually hear that familiar clang. It’s my shovel hitting rock. I work it loose, sometimes easily freeing it, sometimes needing other tools or adjusting my approach. Soon after I often hear another clang or scrape and then another, and usually more — depending on the size of hole needed. Some rocks are larger, some smaller, some pebble size like the tiny annoyances in a day.

I work around colossal rocks, accepting that the tree I wanted in that particular spot is not going to thrive in that particular spot. I move on. Shift my focus to another area, a solution.

Usually, about half-way through clearing rocks, I’m chuckling at Nature’s metaphor for life’s challenges.

 

 

Original feature photo by 15299 on Pixabay

The Ups and Downs of Life

raindrops on pink rose buds
Image by silviarita from Pixabay

 

Rain clouds

help flowers grow.

Why should life experiences be any different?

 

Learning through Grief
I began this post before the untimely loss of my best friend — Bess my beloved 14 1/3 year old border collie.  Acceptance soothes my broken heart when acknowledging this will happen to each and everyone of us and everyone we love, that this behest of time is a transformation of life. I continue learning through my loss of Bess…such as doing what I can then letting go, and the power of thought and perspective. I anticipate sharing more from time to time on insights gained through this experience…


“All of life’s experiences are to be either enjoyed or learned from.”

— Alan Cohen

Bess gave me both.


I am curious to know how you process grief. A sage shared this short (18 minute) video with me. Hopefully, you will benefit as well — not just in a time of need.


In Loving Memory of Bess-1

Cardinal Inspiration

The color red symbolizes steadfast faith.  Some Christians believe it represents Christ’s blood.  But the cardinal inspiration I’m talking about isn’t from the Catholic church — it’s  from those eye-catching red birds that perk up winter’s indeterminate grey, like a spark of hope in darkness.

When faced with challenges like enduring the winter cold, the cardinal bird chooses to sing a lovely song.  It stays strong and positive, exhibiting persistence and grace.

I am increasingly convinced that Mother Nature guides us by offering her own Divine space to us as a spiritual well.  We simply need to open our eyes to see, accept, and contemplate her generosity. 

Such is the case with the red cardinal.

  • Some believe the cardinal encourages us to “find our life song,” to create new ways to love our life and show our gratitude for it.” 
  • Others say the cardinal warns us to be mindful of our thoughts and what we are creating.  Are we continually replaying past hurts, thereby deepening the groove of misery (and setting the stage for more to come), or are we choosing to be at peace in the present moment?  It may be helpful to visualize that red stop sign when these negative thoughts occur.
  • Many cultures believe cardinals are messengers from someone who has passed. 

Five years ago on the morning of New Year’s Eve, my dear friend Mary died from breast cancer.  A lover of nature and all animals, Mary encircled her home in the woods with numerous bird feeders.  On the day of her memorial a red cardinal held vigil at the window to the room where Mary passed in her home.  We believed it was telling us that Mary’s spirit lives on. 

Others have had similar experiencesHow ’bout you?  Do you have your own story of a symbolic message a cardinal carried into your life?

cardinal-3261011_1280

 


The cardinal is said to represent kindness and goodwill.

May it inspire us to carry its message into the world.


 

 

 

 

Mother Nature’s Autistic Summer

Summer 2018
Rainy.  Grey.  Humid.  Rainy.  Grey.  Humid.  Flooding.  Scorching heat.  Rainy.  Grey.  Humid.  Flooding.  Scorching heat. Bugs extraordinaire.  Make me run inside for shelter.  AC.  A spurt of sun appears.  Some tomatoes wear tough rain jackets, many others split on the vine while unlucky peppers turn soggy rather than red and basil’s aromatic gifts are non-existent this year.  The grill waited to be fired up but the fire and enthusiasm in me drowned out.

What to make of this autistic summer?  Although many people disagree on the “causes” of autism and of climate change, they both exhibit blatantly foreboding signs:

  • Climate change – an increase in the frequency and strength of extreme events (storms, floods, droughts) that threaten human health and safety.
  • Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) characteristics –  social-interaction difficulties, communication challenges, and a tendency to engage in repetitive behaviors.

Rainy.  Grey.  Humid.  Rainy.  Grey.  Humid.  Flooding.  Scorching heat.  Rainy.  Grey.  Humid.  Flooding. Scorching heat. Bugs extraordinaire.

Six full days at best I could work in the yard this summer, and grill on two.  Tall grass is as unkempt as the autistic’s personal hygiene.   Weeds are poised to take over.   They know I will not be tugging at them in the rain or with mosquitos biting my neck.  Arms.  Legs.  Scratching for relief.  Scratching.  Scratching.  Where is the relief?  Summer use to be a break from the long, cold, stressful winter but Mother Nature’s fighting, hitting, kicking, biting, throwing objects from her autistic corner.  Does she feel cornered?

Autistics struggle with severe anxiety, sensory dysfunction, and deficits in social  communication.  Half are considered aggressive toward others, and nearly one-third of autistic adults are unable to use spoken language to communicate.

I hear the thunderous banging and wailing.  Her words trail behind the clouds…the rain, and tears of desperation.  I see her utter frustration.

Fish in the Grass

Heavy rains make weeds grow freely

but

also easier to remove.

Rainstorms

flood the pond.

Fish are swimming in the yard.

Not so lucky for them

but the heron is happy for food

and the grass will be fertilized.

tyler-butler-691603-unsplash
Photo by Tyler Butler on Unsplash

This is my gardener’s perspective on a Chinese folk story called “An Old Man Lost His Horse – Sai Weng Shi Ma.”

From Taoism to Shakespeare’s, “Nothing is good or bad.  It’s thinking that makes it so,” the lens widens as the circle of learning continues.

images

Misfortune, that is where happiness depends;

happiness, that is where misfortune underlies.”

 

Have You Seen the Rose Bush?

The whole is some of everything

if we but open our eyes to see.

rose-1426275_1280

Growing pains

do not require suffering.

Pruning

encourages growth.

Endings

are beginnings. 

Instead of shooing away challenges

welcome the fortitude of character

as an expansive, cleansing belly breath.

Out. In. Up. Down.

We are the sum of everything —

life experiences,

thoughts, feelings, paths taken.

The Prickly Fine Print

I often viewed challenges as problems, headaches, when in reality my narrow perspective was the constricting chokehold. My limited vision obstructed a panorama of possibilities in what appeared a seemingly bleak situation.

benjamin-balazs-106653-unsplash-1
Photo by Benjamin Balázs on Unsplash

 

Hearing someone say they were so busy looking at the thorn that they missed the rose, wiped the spattered looking-glass for me.  Working in the garden and studying the Tao pryed open the door to a scopic reality.

 

 

rose-369014_1280

While I now see both the roses and the thorns, I am learning to not judge either as good or bad but as a unified connection, one simply needing the other in life.

 

 

 

Original feature photo by Jess Watters on Unsplash