• An uplifting message which aligns with my previous words fom Dr Lissa Rankin

    A meme floating around said, “Kinda feeling like the Earth just sent us all to our rooms to think about what we’ve done.” Sounds just about right. We know that pandemics are part of Earth’s immune system. If we are not behaving as healthy, cooperate cells in the planetary body, we can get wiped out lickety-split.

    I know times like this are scary, unsettling, unnerving, and uncertain. The illusions of certainty and order (they are, of course, only illusions) fall apart, and we are faced with the fragility of certainty. How quickly everything that seemed so solid and robust—job security, our economic system, our health care system, our political system, our educational system—can come crashing down in a week. It leaves us feeling vulnerable and unsteady, and we cannot bypass feelings of fear, anger, disappointment, sadness, grief. We must feel them fully and let them wash through us, bringing with them the gifts such emotions bring—intuition, boundary setting, letting go, rediscovering our core values, finding our priorities, thinking about the kinds of people we want to be in times of crisis.

    There is much to feel right now, not just for the high risk—the elderly and chronically ill or disabled—who might actually be facing the end of their mortal life. All of us are facing tiny deaths on one level or another. The death of an Olympic dream. The death of graduations and coming of age celebrations. The death of a retirement account. The death of a job, career, or business. The death of a wedding or honeymoon or long-anticipated holiday.

    Yes, some of these deaths are first world problems, and I have heard people shaming those who feel sad, disappointed, let down, angry, and frustrated. But we are allowed to feel our feelings! To repress them can put us at risk of disease. So let us feel our feelings without letting them influence us to make the wrong choices, choices that might put the most vulnerable at risk. Let us be willing to sacrifice such things because it is the right thing to do, because we care, because we love, because every human cell in the planetary body matters to us, because it’s time to grow up now.

    It’s time for all of us to grow up right now—as a maturing species. While we’re here in time out, we have the opportunity to heal the inner children that might be having a tantrum. It can be unsettling when we feel entitled to certain personal freedoms that are being stripped from us. How do we behave when we aren’t getting our way? What happens inside when you want to go to a party or a restaurant or a crowded beach or a bar—but you’re being told you can’t? What happens if you feel entitled to breaking a rule, only this time, if you do, you might inadvertently kill someone? How do you respond to feeing controlled by a government you may not trust?

    How do you respond if your go-to distractions are taken away? What if you’re unable to indulge an addiction like workaholism or sex addiction—because your addiction requires you to leave the home? What if you’re in recovery, but the stress of all this is making you want to fall off the wagon? What if you’ve been practicing spiritual bypassing, just meditating your pain away and practicing positive thinking, only the events of the world are now seeping through your defenses and you’re unprepared for all these emotions? What if you’re an extrovert who lives alone and relies on touching other people to bolster your mood? How will you cope? What are your go-to strategies for getting by, and how else can you get through this and stay healthy?

    We Are Being Initiated

    Initiations are supposed to be scary and painful. Traditional tribal initiations bring you to the brink of death. You may or may not survive. Nothing is certain. If you knew it was safe, it might not initiate you. To be initiated is to stare death in the face—to come up close and personal with your own mortality- without backing away from it. If you make it to the other side- which is never guaranteed—you are welcomed into the tribe as an initiated adult, and then much is expected of you. You are then expected not just to extract resources from the tribe, the way a child might, but to give back, to offer your gifts, to protect the tribe and serve the vulnerable.

    Ours is not a culture of initiated adults, and it’s not our fault. We are a culture of uninitiated, developmentally arrested toddlers and teenagers who were traumatized and never healed. This has caused us to feel entitled to things we are not entitled to—like hoarding resources, unrestrained extraction from nature, dehumanization, and exploitation of other humans we consider “lesser” than us, shameless use of plastics and fossil fuels, and unlimited car and air travel. We are not actually entitled to such things, and our grace period is over. What is sad is that those who have been hoarding and exploiting have been doing so at the expense of the most vulnerable, the most impoverished, who suffer the consequences the most, while consequences are often hidden from those with power and privilege.

    No longer. Now, we all face the consequences of our way of life. We will not only face pandemics. We face massive fires, earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, rising oceans, melting glaciers, lost habitats, and large swaths of the planet that will not be inhabitable soon, causing mass migrations, refugee crises, and global overwhelm. This will happen-unless we mobilize STAT and use this opportunity to make cooperative choices for the collective good as our training wheels. This is a defining time in the history of humanity and in your personal spiritual journey as a soul. Now is the time when you get to choose to shore up your morality, your integrity, your ethics, and your values.

    How Will History Judge Us?

    Humankind has survived many transitions together when we have been called to do the right thing, the noble thing. Abolishing slavery. Giving women the right to vote. The Civil Rights movement. Gay marriage. People once thought they were entitled to resist such change. But those people were mistaken. They were acting out of self-interest without compassionately taking on the point of view of those who were fighting for their rights. These are moral issues, and people tend to polarize and get triggered when they are asked to give up the status quo in order to do what is noble and ethical. People who survived those intense transitions had the chance to look back and ask themselves, “Was I on the side of what was fair and just, or did I dig my heels in to try to prevent change?”

    We are in yet another crucible like that, and how we navigate this will tell us a great deal about our maturity, both personally and culturally. We have indeed been sent to time out and asked to reflect about how we’re living. Many powerful, privileged people—myself included—have been guilty of behaving as if we’re entitled to privileges that are not fair and just. Right now, we are not entitled to defy a shelter in place order. We don’t have to like it. We can have lots of feelings and have a tantrum if we like. But we do not have the right to just rebel. If we do, we might hurt people who need us to protect them. We might hurt ourselves.

    Children are not often expected to make sacrifices for the greater good, but my 14-year-old child gets this more than many adults I know. She is willing to put aside her personal preferences in order to protect those who need our care. She has grown up in a Waldorf school. Her school principal has been initiating these kids through their transition into adolescence, and this is supposed to be her glorious graduation year from the school she’s been in since preschool. She is so disappointed, and their school trip—their vision quest, the real initiation—probably won’t happen. But this is an even greater initiation, one that ties her into her community, one we are all going through together, one that can make us or break us, depending on whether we rise to the occasion with our hearts open and our creativity flowing.

    A Sacred Opportunity

    Will we use this time out as a sacred opportunity, or will we try to push through it, forget it, and go back to business as usual? I hope we use this as a wake-up call. It concerns me a bit that we’re approaching this as yet another war. There’s always a war on something—the war on cancer, the war on drugs, the war on terrorism, the war on crime, the war on the self, now the war on the virus. The only winner in war is war. The mindset of “find the bad guy and go exterminate it” rallies us together and gets people motivated, but it’s an addiction. There is always the next war—and the next war—and we never really win. We only polarize.

    Let’s not think of this as a war. Let’s think of it as an initiation, one that asks us not to polarize but to unify in service of a beautiful vision of a healthy global body. Business as usual has come to a crashing halt, but this is good and needed. Business as usual is killing the biosphere. We can argue about what caused the pandemic or who is to blame for the spread of it. We can point fingers at dismissive politicians or blame the reckless among us who are rebelling like defiant teenagers against the shelter in place orders. But shaming a rebel as a way to try to force someone to do the right thing works 0% of the time. Instead, we need a mass uprising of personal responsibility, of choosing—by our free will—to be on the noble side of history—to prove once and for all that we’re ready for this initiation, ready to stop behaving like spoiled children who think we can exploit resources, defy scientists, deny reality, and get away with it without consequences.

    We have been warned for fifty years that we are facing a future that will be uninhabitable for human in a very short while. Now is not the time to disperse our energy by polarizing and in-fighting. We need just the opposite—one singular vision for one unified race to come together with cooperate action and clear goals—not because some police state is forcing us to, but because love is fueling us because our every action matters, because people are suffering and we need each other, because we are all in this together.

    The Future We Choose

    I am reading a very hopeful and inspiring book right now, authored by the two people responsible for the Paris Agreement. The Future We Choose by Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac, is a short, simple read—and well worth your time during your shelter in place order. It lays out exactly the kind of global cooperation and personal sacrifice we’re going to need to be willing to make in order to create a world that is livable for our children and grandchildren. This pandemic is giving us the first steps, forcing us to do some of the right things, even if for the wrong reasons.

    In the book, the authors present a vision for what our world could be like by 2050—depending on our choices right now, especially within the next 10 years. The course we’re on now will make this planet very unpleasant as a host for our vulnerable species by 2050. A change, of course, should we choose to make one, could create a very beautiful, sustainable future that we can feel proud to hand over to our children, knowing that we were part of that transition, and we rallied together to make it happen as a global body.

    In order to do this, we have to get excited about this, even though it means many lifestyle changes and some personal sacrifice of things we think we’re entitled to but are not. Rallying around a collective goal can be very unifying, as with the New Deal after World War II or the race to get the first man on the moon in 1969. We have proven in the past that we can do great things when we come together as a country. What if we came together as a whole borderless planetary body? What might be possible then?

    In order to make this possible, we must heal. We all have parts that will resist such global planetary efforts, and as long as those parts that interfere with global healing live in our shadows, we cannot heal them. This initiation is a potent time for self-reflection. We can receive healing, if only we’re willing to let this initiation catalyze our shadow work and motivate us to clear our traumas—personally and collectively.

    The Trauma of Hoarding

    Let’s start with healing our tendency to hoard resources. I keep thinking of the local Native American chief who called out this prayer, long before the coronavirus. “Great Spirit, please heal the white people from their disease of hoarding.”

    Those who hoard money are already getting a reset as stock markets crash globally. But we are hoarding others things that we are not entitled to hoard right now. In San Francisco, my doctor friends are very scared because they are on the front lines, trying to save lives, and they are out of personal protective equipment—masks, gloves, etc. Why? Because scared people made a mad run on supply stores and bought up the world’s supply of such things at inflated prices. Such hoarding is a sign of our times. People think “More for me is good for me,” but more for you means our doctors might get sick and die, or they might go on strike because they aren’t willing to die for people who aren’t willing to even give up their masks to help protect them. If we really are all cells in one global body, as this pandemic is making obvious, then we must heal this mindset. Maximizing self-interest will kill us right now.

    This doesn’t mean anyone should be expected to martyr themselves. Martyrdom is just the other spectrum of a polarity, with martyrdom at one unhealthy extreme and ruthless self-interest at the other. To survive this with maximal grace, we must find our healthy place on the spectrum—protect ourselves and our loved ones but not at the expense of the collective. To feel our hearts and our care, to help our neighbors and the people who are taking grave risks to help us on our front lines, we must heal our tendency to hoard.

    In that vein, if you have been hoarding medical supplies, please—we beg you—take them to your local hospital and give them to the people who need them. And call your politicians to demand that they send supplies to the front lines so we can protect our health care workers, first responders, law enforcement, firefighters, National Guard, and others who are on the front lines while the rest of us shelter in place.

    We Are All In This Together

    We have a sacred opportunity right now to use this pandemic as training wheels to learn to cooperate together. We are already learning a lot about ourselves, and change is happening rapidly. Since the pandemic began, carbon emissions have plummeted. We are doing the right thing for the wrong reason—staying local, abolishing flying, driving less, hunkering down, leaning in, and discovering what happens to our inner world when we are cut off from most of our outer distractions.

    We must stay calm but vigilant right now. This is not a time to blindly comply with authoritarian control measures. If we give away our power to a police state, we are at risk of succumbing to a fascist regime. Nor is it a time to rebel. If we prioritize personal freedom over collective wellbeing, we will carry unnecessary deaths on our own shoulders and suffer from this burden. To comply without question and to rebel against authority are both the responses of traumatized children. When people are scared, we become vulnerable to dictatorial leaders and fascist regimes—because they promise to protect us. We must not let this happen. We also must resist our tendency to rebel like teenagers. Now is the time to grow up, to take responsibility for ourselves and each other, to heal our traumas so we can stay attuned, present, and awake in the face of what is coming. This is the time to learn to attune to all of our intelligences—not just mental intelligence, but somatic intelligence, intuitive intelligence, emotional intelligence. Only from this integrated, attuned place will we know how to respond as mature, initiated adults—without reflexive, conditioned responses.

    How do we do this? We don’t know. We are in the space between stories. This is a time of not knowing, a time of “now-walking”—staying open, present, curious, and attuned as we ask, “And now what? And now what? And now what?” What feels most right now? And now? What doesn’t feel right? Is my heart open or am I contracting? Can I breathe through the contraction until it opens again? Can I be a benevolent presence on this planet right now without spiraling into a conditioned pattern of martyrdom? Can I practice self-care while also practicing other care? Am I capable of making sacrifices for the good of others, the way any good parent will do for their vulnerable children? Am I capable of receiving other people’s sacrifices on my behalf, because I matter too?

    From that open, spacious, kind place, can we tend to ourselves and each other as best we can right now? Rest in stillness. Sleep more. Meditate and pray. Make art. Make music. Write that book you’ve been thinking of writing. Have long, deep intimate conversations with loved ones. Practice yoga in your living room. Make a pandemic playlist and create your own dance party. Take an online class you’ve been reluctant to take. Read lots of books. Face your own potential mortality and ask yourself, “Am I at peace with the choices I’ve been making as a global citizen?” If not, forgive yourself and make new ones. Heal your wounded parts. Find a good therapist who works remotely and prioritize your trauma work. (Or join the IFS Inner Circle to do this with others—in community.)

    There is hope amidst the chaos, and as strange as this may sound, I’m actually excited to be here on this planet as one of the souls who volunteered to incarnate, to be part of this—right here, right now. This is a thrilling time to be in a human body, if we can move through our genuine feelings and rally to the task.

    Hope will get us through this. Rebecca Solnit said, “Hope is an axe you break down doors within an emergency…hope should shove you out the door, because it will take everything you have to steer the future away from endless war, from the annihilation of earth’s treasures and the grinding down of the poor and marginal…To hope is to give yourself to the future, and that commitment to the future makes the present inhabitable.”

    This is not a reckless hope, an irresponsible optimism, or a child’s naïve denial of reality. I’m talking about grounded hope, hope rooted in the power we have as a collective to make great changes with great love. We are beyond the point where we can indulge learned helplessness. You are not helpless. The future is ours to create together—starting with how we navigate this pandemic.

    How do we start? Start by caring. What can you do to help those who are suffering right now? How can you be personally generous to someone in need? What sacrifice might you make to help someone else? If you hoarded supplies, can you give some back? If your neighbors are elderly and shut-in, can you shop for them? If you have gifts and talents, can you share them generously on the internet or in your own home? Can you set aside your personal wishes and desires to think about those less fortunate than you right now and put your compassion into action in a way that chooses love? Can you find the joy in doing so—and heal the parts that don’t want to?

    The Rally Call

    Once you’ve done what you must to care for your own emotions, traumas, and unrest, we have a beautiful chance to be part of something exceptional—an uprising of activism, kindness, transformation, and care. We all need YOU to do your part. Determining what’s your part is something only YOU can do. But we cannot afford to indulge helplessness and powerlessness for long. This is why tuning into your Inner Pilot Light is so crucial at times like this. (Learn to Connect to Your Inner Pilot Light here and here.)

    Once you’re attuned to your inner guidance, you’ll know what part is yours to do. This doing will come not from a panicked wheel-spinning but from a grounded knowing, rooted in kindness. How do we start? Start by caring. What can you do to help those who are suffering right now? How can you be personally generous to someone in need? What sacrifice might you make to help someone else? Can you set aside your personal wishes and desires to think about those less fortunate than you right now and put your compassion into action in a way that chooses love? Can you find the joy in doing so—and heal the parts that don’t want to?

    -If you’re on the front lines in essential services like health care, law enforcement, postal services, grocery industries, etc.—THANK YOU for your service. Take good care of yourself and know how grateful those at home are for the risks you’re taking.

    —If your daily work is now considered non-essential, don’t let this discourage you. Your gifts are still essential. We just have to get creative, the way people at home when others are fighting a war always have. How?

    —Do something kind and generous for a doctor or law enforcement office or Senator who is taking risks on the public’s behalf and may be shunned by others because they are at high risk. Send them takeout or just a kind letter.

    —Sew masks to help with the mask shortage. Volunteer here.

    —Check on an elderly neighbor and do their grocery shopping.

    —If you have extra money when others are losing their shirts, donate to help someone in need.

    —If you stocked up on lots of supplies and your neighbors need some, share.

    —Ask people, “Is there anything you need?” Be willing to ask for what you need to. It’s time for people in need to pair up with those who want to give.

    —Times of crisis bring forth great beauty. Make art, poetry, or music inspired by these times and share it on the internet. Write the inspirational book you’ve always meant to write. Uplift us with your talents and gifts!

    —Get creative about how you can help. Maybe you have an idea for how to educate and entertain kids trapped at home. Maybe you have something to help stressed-out single moms who are working from home while the kids are around. Maybe you have tools to help men who are used to having purpose and providing who are now unemployed and feeling worthless. What is your offering? Have fun creating and delivering it.

    —Do what you already know how to do and be willing to do it unconventionally, while respecting our shelter in place orders. We may not be able to gather for social events or even protests, but a little rebellious rule-breaking can make brand new innovations happen.

    —Activate people online for a cause you care about (like climate change). Start a blog, open a public Facebook page; let your voice matter.

    —If you don’t like how this is getting handled, get politically active. Only those willing to be in the arena can really effect great change. Right now, nothing short of great change is going to give us a future we will feel proud to leave for our kids. Get excited about being part of the solution!

    —Ask yourself, “If this is my last month to live, what matters to me? What would be my last lecture? What legacy do I want to leave behind? Get crystal clear. We will not all survive this pandemic. Some of us will perish, so the threat of mortality is very close. Write the TED talk you’d give in case you wind up being one of the ones who doesn’t survive. Give it to someone you love so they can share it after you’re gone, not as a morbid exercise, but as a way to crystallize your activism. When we create a new normal—whatever that will look like—those who have survived will carry forever this great pearl that comes with facing our mortality up close and personal and having a come to Jesus about what really matters.

    Uplift Yourself With Grounded Hope

    Hope will get us through this. Rebecca Solnit said, “Hope is an axe you break down doors with in an emergency…hope should shove you out the door, because it will take everything you have to steer the future away from endless war, from the annihilation of earth’s treasures and the grinding down of the poor and marginal…To hope is to give yourself to the future, and that commitment to the future makes the present inhabitable.”

    This is not a reckless hope, an irresponsible optimism, or a child’s naïve denial of reality. I’m talking about grounded hope, hope rooted in the power we have as a collective to make great changes with great love. We are beyond the point where we can indulge learned helplessness. You are not helpless. The future is ours to create together—starting with how we navigate this pandemic.

    The Sky isn’t Falling: This is Happening for Us, Not Just to Us.

    Janne Robinson writes this poem:

    The sky is not falling. The world is not ending.

    There is a rewriting. A rewiring. A reprogramming of our earth and ourselves.

    But—the sky is not falling.

    Perhaps it is falling with wisdom—stay inside, read more books, rest, take naps, learn to be alone, learn the difference between aloneness and loneliness, sit naked by fireplaces, talk to loved ones for long lengths of time, be fired, have space, drink up that delicious space, sleep in without an alarm clock.

    Drink coffee at 5 p.m. and stay up too late playing board games and card games you forgot adults played!

    Take your dog on a two-hour walk, not one.

    Distance from others to love them but come home to yourself.

    What do you need?

    Go get some water.

    Peel an orange.


    Stretch your body.


    Have more sex.

    Call your grandparents.

    This whole life thing was never in our control.

    Just like that—within days, the biggest curveball yet and we are walking around like little discombobulated shocked zombies—but we will see. We will understand.

    We throw garbage on our earth, we throw our pollution so high into the sky the gods cough as their lungs are filled with the relentless smoke of a species that refuses to listen.

    The dinosaurs sure as f*ck were more respectful as us—and they, too, went extinct.

    We are being humbled.

    We are being sent into the ground to find our roots.

    I keep repeating, “This is happening for us, not to us. This is happening for us, not to us.”

    Today, I buried my face and belly in the strength and width of an old pine tree.

    “Take it,” I asked.

    “Please take this energy and anxiety from me—I can’t hold it.”

    And Zeus sat by my feet and when I felt empty of the chaos I looked up her neck to her branches above and felt the ground beneath my feet.

    Whenever we lose the greatest love of our life, spirit is upstairs saying, “You thought he was good—but you had the iPhone 10 and just wait for the X!”

    We are getting a reboot. A system update.

    We are being challenged deeply in the ways we live and do.

    Wash your hands, and then breathe, and remember that the world is always okay, even when it’s not…”

    Just as you are always okay, even when you have felt you were being abandoned by everything you’ve ever cared for.

    It is never clear when we are in the fog.

    The fog’s gift is that it is the fog.

    You aren’t meant to see fog. Or understand it.

    The blue sky is coming—in fact, in moments, it’s here.

    Turn your TV off when you get overwhelmed.

    Be informed but do it once or twice a day.

    Share toilet paper and hug people with your eyes.

    Remember that grace escaping us is a choice.

    Be kind.

    Be afraid- love the fear. This is real and we don’t know. The known was never meant to feel like your favourite sweat pants—until it later became known and you were friends with it.

    Sex was awkward and sucked the first time and now, how great is it?

    Can you be in the unknown and commit to just today.

    What do you need today?

    Go hydrate more.

    Find that book you love.

    Bury your face into your pet’s stomach—they feel this too and they are here for you.

    Ask someone for help—people want to help.

    Buy a homeless person some food or water—don’t forget to care for the people around you.

    Try to walk slowly. In the grocery stores, when people around you are in panic—move slowly. Don’t get frenzied in the frenzy of the frenzy.

    Don’t touch that.

    It doesn’t belong to you.

    Don’t wear the weight of all of this.

    We are all apart and returning, and it’s a big death—collectively—and it’s going to be a birth.

    Don’t think about tomorrow or live in yesterday, that’s where anxiety lives.

    Today, just walk slowly and remember that the sky isn’t falling.

    This is and has been and will always be happening for us—but we’re in the fog, so remember to breathe.


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