6.1 Editor's Pick
April 23, 2020

Training for Uncertainty: a Prayer-Poem for Pandemic Times.

Check out Elephant’s Continually-updating Coronavirus Diary. ~ Waylon
~

Inhabitant of Earth,
welcome to this moment.
Have a breath,
however you’d like one.
Consciously begin to inhabit
the body
through the breath.

These are times
without precedent,
my best friend says.

You are alive
during a time
that has already
reprogrammed reality.
You are alive
during a time
that is not going
to change,
but has.

Greatest fears,
realized.

Here we are.

In a shared space
of creation,
and in that I mean
every metaphor
you can imagine.

Darling, on the other side
of this vocalizing,

the
rug

is
out.

All of our
best hiding places
have been
discovered
and it turns out
there are some very
sharp mirrors
down the foxhole.

You might be feeling
sad
scared
bewildered
overwhelmed
joyful
abundant
void
excited
enlivened
relaxed
rested
devastated
grief-stricken
powerless
stuck
free

anything

and here’s the real magnificent bastard of it all:

you have no way of knowing
which one
will come next.

So in the face of a future that cannot be imagined
the only option we have
is to stop living in realities that haven’t formed yet
and learn how to soften into the inescapable arms
of uncertainty.

The relief
is in
the lack of padding,
honey.
I promise.

Have a breath.
Have another.
Take a moment to
discover
what your body feels like
right now.
Right,
right now.

Whatever that is
is okay.
Stay.
Uncertainty,
my beloved,
is the only promise
anything has ever made you
that you could be
absolutely f*cking sure
would be kept.

Life
will make good
on that promise
by the time your last exhale
is counted.

In a world where people perpetuate
the complete misunderstanding
that God is only with you
when you’re getting your wish,
you’ve never known
what will happen next,
you’ve just been groomed
toward a reality where
the facade of predictability
is too comfortable to shatter

But it is now.

And you’re still here.

The Earth
is showing you something,
you are being
invited.

What might it feel like to outstretch your hand?
Behind your closed eyes,
see it.

How does it feel
to squeeze one
another’s palm?

Anything from
totally set free to
completely f*cking terrified

is okay.

Have a breath.

Fill your lungs now.

Imagine that there’s
one
giant
balloon
inside your rib cage
pressing up against
each protective attachment,
notice the places
where your inhales
let you know
that your ribs are no
no longer bound
to your sternum.

Like your chest is
a box
and this balloon
can finally
feel itself
expanding against it
with all of your breath.

It’s okay.
It’s all okay.

You can stay.

I know it’s hard sometimes.
I know we get squeamish with ourselves
but you’ve probably got
a little more of
that silly thing
we call time, now,
so,
maybe you’ve got
nothing better to do
than to learn how to feel
a little squeamish
inside your own skin
and to find surrender
in the squirm.

Notice how it feels
to be free falling
without the promise
of a rug,
just
notice.

How
does
it
feel

to be

falling

free?

And maybe,
just
maybe,
there is the slightest
ever
ever
ever
so slightest
burst of relief.

Like the gentlest
squeeze
of a lemon wedge,
the tiny
citrus explosion
that
enlivens a cup
of cold water

Is it possible
that not having a rug
can feel
like that.

Have a breath.

Mary Oliver says,

“If God exists he isn’t just butter and good luck.
He’s also the tick that killed my wonderful dog Luke…

He’s the forest, He’s the desert.
He’s the ice caps, that are dying.”

Ahh, Mary.

Here we are again.

Still free falling,
just like we’ve
always
been.

Inside bodies
that respond to
uncertainty
equipped with
lies
that we’ve
never been.
The notion of
being grounded
always included
the absence
of a ground.

Have a breath.

That breath is
your home.
Your heart
is the foundation.
Being grounded means
inhabiting your body
with consciousness;
the Earth never promised us
a rug
would emerge
from her soil.

And she actually never promised us
soil,
she promised us
change.

Rest in this conviction now
that she has always done
what she said she’d do;
if faith is the belief
in something you cannot see
then do not put faith
in the Earth,
put absolute certainty
in the Earth
because she is very apparent
no matter how closed
your eyes are.

That’s not spirituality
that’s just integrity,
of which she
has the most.

Let us pray.

May we cultivate the courage to see and the fortitude to stay.

May we let a gentle smile slide defiantly across our lips as we continue the falling we’ve always been doing.

May our backs relax a little.

May our stories about our safety feel the sunshine of transformation.

May we know boundaries as perhaps the greatest and most expansive act of love between two points.

“May you know serenity when you are called to enter the house of suffering.” ~ John O’Donahue

May compassion live inside our capacity as the recognition of the shared experience of the human condition.

May we know strength as the willingness to look at ourselves with the soft gaze of truth when we are uncomfortable.

You can trust her.
So have a breath.

May we come back, over and over and over again
when fear orients our feet toward a future that we can’t actually walk toward,
because the only place
we’ve ever been
and are ever going to be
is here.

May we remain fully alive in uncertainty.

May, by this moment, we abide.

~

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