Five summers ago I journeyed to the ocean on my birthday and found balm but little direction. Later that summer I travelled to the northwest (first and only trip in that direction) and the great owl cried as I found my truth, taking a sharp fork in the road that had once seemed certain.
One thing I have learned about me, I am a tenacious clinger. (Which should be little surprise given that my lesbian self stayed in a hetero marriage for nearly 20 years!) As I’ve thrashed and spun in these intervening years, so too did the world at large. We moved from one of the greatest presidents perhaps of all time to one that is likely the most corrupt and certainly inept; as my personal life finds grounding, I am keenly aware that our nation state is unraveling. I feel the pain of the world in my inner most being, but at the same time bask in the coolness of this sunny morning breeze holding the pieces and cherishing the beauty. Today I am 55 years old and, five years in transition I am yearning to begin a new kind of reflection.
No doubt broad strokes of systemic change are needed and desperately. Pulled to the puzzle my gut aches and my blood pressure races. In the sweetness of this morning I hear a different call, a call to the bird song, a call to remembering who and whose I am, a call to build and share the compassion that is in such short supply in our world. What I know about me, learned over and over and over again (why is once never enough with life’s most painful lessons?) is that righteous anger (though certainly worthy) leaves me in knots and aching for a drink. (Ok, a bottle. Or two. But that’s another story.) What I believe about that which I call sacred is that our small acts of compassion are cumulatively powerful. While anger is sometimes all that I can feel in the face of the evil made manifest in this cruel world, the only significant tool at my disposal (and then only if I choose to use it) is compassion. Not passive acquiescence but a commitment to truth telling born of love, a letting to of windmill tilting and snide sarcasm. (Well, a commitment to *attempting*.) As I consider my inclinations de jour, I confess that a commitment to practicing compassion will require moving beyond emotions and acting as if.
Revealing in the beauty of this morning, gifted with a slow rise and greeted with profound love, the path so often foggy is in this moment clear. Love is the way, the only way, one seemingly inadequate encounter at a time.
So today I begin. Again.
Day 1 and counting.