Silver Linings

4 05 2020

Well, here we are. Here we all are, right now, all of us in this very moment. Together.

Extra layers have been peeled away from us: like onions, we shed that papery protective skin so that our utmost and innate humanity can come through. As this pandemic grew in severity, we fumbled towards clarity and truth.

Moment to moment, emotions danced, they ebbed and flowed like tides within our souls. This dark fear and anxiety married sleepless nights with long afternoon naps. When awake, we move zombie-like through unknown territory, the what-ifs hovering on our tongues, questions we are too afraid to ask ourselves. For if we say them out loud it might make them too real to stomach.

It has shaken us to our core. And for many, all of a sudden all we have is time. At first some of us got busy, deep cleaning the bathroom grout and organizing sock drawers. Others created edible masterpieces with ingredients in their kitchens, filling their bellies with hope. Some of us found we couldn’t move at all, that each day dawned as a void to fill, haunting in its lonely queries of “what shall we do today?” Many of us mourned the loss of plans. Weddings, festivals, trips, birthdays, graduations. We feel angry. Ripped off. We ask ourselves “Why ME?” as thousands and millions of other me’s ask the same thing. Guilt assaults us as we remain unmotivated to work out or eat salads instead of grilled cheese and potato chips. We give in to tears. We allow laughter to take us away. Social media takes on a whole new level of connection, providing more opportunities to stay in touch, even though we struggle with feelings of disconnection and isolation.

Others have no time. They are busy working, but still riddled in fear and anxiety about risk. Hands raw from washing and hearts raw from worry, they continue their days as “essential services”, a mantle which didn’t truly get the gratitude it deserved until now. Others begin to see their importance and recognize how much we need them and our hearts grow. We are in debt to these people, we offer them words of recognition whenever we can.

Others ache to help. They create networks and spread their intent to be in service of those in need and all of a sudden a request for help is inundated with offers. Neighbours looking out for one another. Love and kindness are given freely, so much so, if we could could put a dollar value on this new exchange, we’d all be millionaires. Nothing is expected in return as we now see that connection and love and kindness repay our hearts and souls in immeasurable amounts. A promise of a hug in the future is enough. The simplicity of it all is astonishing. It is that easy.

Grief is tangible. The loss of life is beyond staggering. It humbles us and tosses aside any pretext of doubt as we apply the possibility to us, to our own loved ones. Seeking solace in safety, we mask up and stay away, even though our hearts cry out how foreign and wrong it feels. Our elders are kept from us, tucked safely away, when all we want is to hold their hands, share tea and stories with them before it’s too late.

Our hands want to hold, our arms need to embrace. We are starving for each other. We are paused. It seems as though we are still inhaling. Holding. Waiting for that exhale to begin. Waiting for glimmers of normalcy to flicker into view.

The silver linings are there for all of us to take in. Some might question what they consider important when life gets back to “normal” even if “normal” never comes back. What truly matters? Did our fast-paced consumer-driven lives fill us up as much as we thought it did? Will we seek more quiet and less busy even when busy calls our names? Will we measure want versus need with clearer vision? Will we hold our judgement of others if they choose to dive back into their old lives with joy? Can we remain connected to this re-birth of awareness in the new world?

We will come through this, shaken and scarred and changed in ways words can never describe. But we will come through. And we will celebrate and love each other and hug one another so damn much.


15 08 2017

I had a really good weekend. I was able to immerse myself in an sparkly, altered reality where dancing all night long and wearing tutus and nipple pasties are the norm. Where random people hug one another with a hearty “Happy Shams” said to each other with the biggest smiles on their faces.

Where lasers and lights and bass and beats marry in bliss, where walking by a little geo-dome offers rides to outer space. Where wishes are hung from trees, coffee is drank at 3 AM and walking isn’t walking. No, no. You become the beat, you dance to each place you want to go to. Where that drop of the music gets EVERYONE hyped.

Where the “wave” goes around via everyone yelling WOOOOOOO at the top of their lungs. You can hear it coming, swirling through the masses and finally it’s your turn to lend your voice to the joy and celebration that is Shambhala.

I unplugged. I turned off notifications and didn’t enter the Social Media world for days.

That was all sorts of refreshing.

When I resurfaced on Sunday, my lovey Shamb vibe deflated a little, learning of what happened in Virginia. My heart sunk when I heard and read comments of people DEFENDING the supremacists. You-Know-Who made a complete ass of himself, which is not surprising, but still so goddamn depressing. I cannot even imagine what my friends and family feel who actually live there.

I just can’t, you guys. I can’t engage with the emotions that this creates.

There’s just so much hate reinventing itself. And not just down in the States. It’s here, in Europe, all over the world.

If I really start to think about it, it becomes so overwhelming that I want to crawl into bed and bury myself in the covers and never ever leave.

But this world is ours. And all I can think of is how to go about my day without becoming too disheartened that it eats away at our very hearts and souls.

It becomes a choice.

And I choose kindness. (That is not without saying I won’t speak my mind if I am faced with hateful rhetoric. Oh, anyone who knows me knows my mouth and my No-Filter setting.)

But I choose kindness. To go through my day, as much as I possibly can, to lend a smile to someone, to offer supportive words, to bring love and sweetness in any little way possible. If we all do this, planting tiny seeds of love, a few of them are bound to take root and grow and blossom.

And the more love that is planted and grows, the more likely the noxious weeds will get choked out. They will wither and die, trying to eek out strength. Their mindless nattering will fade into silence. They will become nothing, because they are nothing.

And the love will grow, nurtured with kindness.

Blessings and love to you, to our world. Let’s fill it with love, let’s pile on the kindness.



24 05 2016

A simple standard “Hey, how are you doing?” I asked, when I saw her at the grocery store. I hadn’t seen her in months, maybe over a year?

A perfunctory greeting, a standard blah blah blah. We’re good at those, here in Canada. We ask, but do we really need or want to know the answer? The honest real answer?

She smiled but it just didn’t reach her eyes. Her body and face looked so lost and sad. I stopped myself from pushing my cart onwards and stretched out my arms to her and her eyes filled with tears.

We hugged, there near the dairy aisle, we hugged each other so hard. I felt her break, her shoulders collapse and the tears fall. She cried on my shoulder, there among moms pulling wayward toddlers and employees stocking the butter and cheese.

“I’m sorry,” she whispered. “I’m just so tired of telling people that I’m okay when I’m not.”

That hug felt cathartic, it felt like a gift, it felt sweet and loving and so so right.

I kissed her cheek as we drew away from one another, and gently wiped the tear from her cheek. “Never say sorry, don’t be sorry,” I said, “thank you for the privilege of letting me be here for you.”

I can never say I took her pain away that moment, her grief from her loss is too huge and deep. But the sweetness of caring and honest empathy is such a dear heartfelt thing to carry. It’s far too easy to brush away the needs of another in our busy lives. That moment, though, I will treasure forever, because her and I both paused, if only for two to three minutes. We paused, to give and to receive kindness and love and support. In her sadness of her loss she is carrying forever and me, with my coincidence (or fate?) of being there, how we came to share this one quiet moment.

This is what it is to be human.

So thank you for allowing me the privilege of being there for you, if only for a brief moment in time.