December 10, 2017
WISHING YOU A KIND AND QUIET DECEMBER…
…She closed her letter with this wish for us. The words jumped off the screen and lodged themselves in my heart which for days had been stressed, angry, afraid, and lost. Really lost.
I have only written two or three blogs this year. A handful of journal entries. Maybe a writing exercise here and there. What writing I did was mostly focused on writing curriculum, powerpoints and handouts for the classes and workshops I led, working with educators examining Restorative Justice in Education.
The nature of my work calls me to invite, encourage and sometimes challenge educators to engage in self-reflection and to embrace some deep changes of heart and mind. I cannot do this if I am not regularly looking at the issues in my own life that obstruct or waylay my ability to remain in a heart and mind-state of kindness, compassion and peace. I have to live very present, releasing resistance and fear, and embrace the Courage to live honestly, and to engage in the change that our world so desperately needs.
As the months of 2017 rolled along, everything seemed to get harder. By August, I was dissolving into tears at the slightest provocation. It became more and more difficult to even read the headlines in the news, none the less the articles. Never-the-less I was scheduled to lead three significant workshops in August. One of them was for 40+ school administrators looking at the attitudes and practices of Restorative Justice in Education — why they make sense and have the ability to transform school climate.
But in September I had no contracts. No longer distracted, no longer having to put one foot in front of the other no matter what I felt like, I rapidly unraveled.
I was lost. Angry. So very, very angry. Some days I didn’t even know what I was angry about. I wanted to climb out of my own skin. I found myself envying my dear mother who just turned 90 and probably won’t have to endure this world too much longer. The darkness was so heavy, I could physically feel it squeezing my chest and churning in my stomach.
I said to my husband, “Imagine if someone was incessantly running their nails down a chalkboard and no matter what, the noise won’t stop…that is how I feel inside my skin.”
Some days were better than others.
One day I was driving my mother to her eye doctor appointment. All day I had felt like a hurricane was battering my insides. It was violent, unrelenting, loud and screaming. But on the outside, as always, I was trying to smile and be cordial and do all the right things. It was exhausting.
On my way to pick her up I’d thrown an SOS out to the Universe…and now, as we drove down the road, a Bald Eagle flew over, briefly following my car… then moving on. In the Indian world of Animal Medicine, this is significant. It indicates that our prayers are being carried to the Creator.
And nearly every day since, some help has come including the quiet kindnesses of my husband and a homeopathic remedy called Rescue Remedy for fear and anxiety! (btw, it works!)
But most of all, this lovely closing wish in a brief note: Wishing you a kind and quiet December. In the moment that I read it, peace flowed over me, head to toes, and then began to fill me up on the inside.
It is the darkest month of the year. And given the state of the world, and the headlines in the news each day, it feels like the darkness is so deep that whatever light exists is obscured by deep fog. Even so, everywhere I go there are bells jangling and lights and sales and crowds… And I repeat to myself my new mantra: a KIND and QUIET (i.e. PEACE-FILLED) December).
Slowly, I feel this heaviness lifting. I offer gratitude for the Light and goodness that is shining in the Darkness. I stood by the stream that tumbles down the bluff behind my neighborhood the other day, marveling at how during this monochrome time of year the water gets to do art. The ice forming along the edges and over the rocks; amazing, beautiful art that will be different tomorrow and the day after. I released my heavy heart and all my worry and fear and rage into the stream and let it be carried away. And the water reminded me that “resistance is indeed, futile”. That the key is allowing the flow of my life, honoring my life.
I didn’t blog this year in part because I didn’t know what to say. I wanted to be able to write what would bring joy, and courage, and strength to my readers. I wanted to write something funny.
I had so little of any of that to offer.
But now, in the darkest month of the year, during the deepest darkness we have known in this country in a very long time, I offer you this little sip of hope; this little sprinkle of joy; this small peace: please create a kind and quiet December. Do what you need to do to make it so. Maybe if we all would be kinder to ourselves, we could be kinder to our partners and to our neighbors and to the tired clerk at the store. Maybe if we took the time we need to just stand quietly under the trees, or next to the frozen stream, or looking out over the city from the hill — the screaming inside the cells of our skin would stop.
No matter what those who currently hold power do to this world, there are people to love. No one can prevent us from practicing kindness, or choosing gratitude and joy. No one except for ourselves. Myself.
Wishing you a kind and quiet December. Wishing you a year filled with kindness. And may Peace fill up the space inside your bones.