It has been quite the fiery day here in Gresham. When we awoke, it appeared to be snowing, but it turned out to be ash. A light coating was on everything by the end of the day, including spiderwebs, cars and grapes. We didn’t need sunglasses to look at the sun today. The moon is currently emerging from, and being swallowed once more by, the smoky haze and clouds. The sights, as you can see below, are rather captivating, and yet…
To pray for rain or not to? Perhaps we are being wrapped in this presence of fire to awaken and help us reconnect. Life experience has shown me that the prayers for a quick fix might lead later to even more devastating events. Prayers for healing, harmony, protection — they may indeed be answered in the affirmative — and yet, the troubles at hand might be just what we need to bring us deeper awareness, deeper connection, deeper healing than we ever thought possible.
So, how do we hold such happenings? How do we interact with pain, with turmoil, with destruction, with death? The answer to this question is one of the defining factors of our lives.
We are taught in our culture that such things are “bad” and to be avoided at all cost. Yet, what is the cost of avoidance?
As a former minister, I can speak to the issue of dualistic religious perspectives. Blessings, so the theory goes, flow forth from heaven while curses flow forth from – the other place. Creator is poised against the adversary (devil, loki, coyote, etc) and nothing beneficial can come from the other side. But what if the Serpent is the Savior, Loki is the Awakener and Coyote is the Helpmate to Grandmother Growth? What if counsel and wisdom can be gained from shadows as well as from light?
As a massage therapist, I can speak to the issue of pain. What happens with we don’t feel pain? The body does not know its limits. Without pain as a signal that things need to change or slow down, our continued lifestyle wears tissues down. Muscles, bones and sinews rip, break and atrophy. More damage is caused by the avoidance of pain than in the recognition that pain is given to us as a teacher and can become our friend.
Finally, as a hospice caregiver and gardener, I can speak to the issue of death, dying and rebirth. The garden, the forest, the natural world — all are imbued with wisdom and teachings far beyond what we can individually attain in a lifetime. One life yields so another may grow — such is the way of the garden, the forest, the natural world.
In the garden, choosing not to prune may lead to decreased fruit or flowers the following year. It may cause the whole tree to be uprooted in the next violent storm because it spent too much time growing upward and didn’t have enough resources to send deep roots into the earth. Attempting to prevent a small amount of pain might lead to the death of an entire garden or forest later on.
For us, preservation of life in the moment may lead to side-effects from therapeutic treatments that were far worse than the original diagnosis. Death will come to us all; it is only a matter of where and how and when. The garden, the forest, the entire natural world show us again and again that death is not the end — it is only a transition that leads, eventually, to the birth of something new.
There is more to be discovered about these fires. We have more to learn — as individuals, and as a society. There are many ways we may be called to grow during the time that they are burning.
Like many of you, I grieve over the loss of life. I am troubled by the swiftness of destruction and the obliteration of our beautiful plant and animal friends along the river. I sigh, and my heart does hope that the rains will come swiftly. *And* I have the perspective that this may be a part of a bigger plan. I trust the teaching and wisdom of the natural world.
As is often the case, compassion care is my offering in this time.
If you or your loved ones are affected in body, mind or spirit by these fires or smoke or ash, you may need someone to process with. You are welcome, if you wish, to call on me. I will listen with an open heart, or grieve with sincerity of spirit or offer massage and reiki to help bring your body and emotions into a state of balance. Together, perhaps, we will once again come to hear the Song of the Dancing Heart.