Thursday, July 30, 2009
Planting My Feet - part l
photo: collaberation of mark-shark & el poquito
Earth, it ain’t for sissies. Showing up takes strength, stamina and courage. The road traveled can be riddled with fear, worry and doubt, in fact guaranteed – you will walk the earth with those three companions at one time or another.
Everyone wants a long and happy life. Lacking that, most will be satisfied with simply a long life. Longevity appears as a gift on the horizon; something to achieve, thankfully. What remains hidden is the price of longevity: the longer you live, the more experiences you gather; more milestones and equally, more losses.
This is a world filled with loss. We keep our focus on the gains, the achievements of a lifetime, but along with gains come the losses; there’s no escaping it. Occasionally life throws us a big one: the loss of a loved ones life; the loss of health; loss of work, home or marriage. The big losses sweep through our lives like a storm knocking us down.
I was swept away in such a storm. The details of the storm I’ll spare the repeating. The back-story is in the archives of the blog; see the three-parter from September ’08 called “Autumn Equinox Triptych”. It’s all there.
In a nutshell – when the rug is pulled out from underfoot quicker than a heartbeat, first we spin out. Shock can shoot us out of our bodies, leaving us feeling ‘not quite here’; and when ‘here’ is excruciatingly painful then shock mercifully escorts us off the premises. But ‘here’ is where the problem is. ‘Here’ is where the problem-solving must take place. ‘Here’ is where the work is to be done. Abandoning the premises of the suddenly crappy building that is burning down looks mighty tempting - understandable too, until you realize there are no do-overs; this is NOT a dress rehearsal. This is the real thing and it’s going up in flames!
Do you stand by passively immobilized and watch? Or do you call the Fire Department and get out the hose?
When I was swept off the planet and out of my comfortable life a few years ago, I was incredibly fortunate to know people who attempted to tether my feet as I floated away from the trauma, shock, cancer and morphine. We all knew I was sick enough to easily die – to simply float off. It really would not have been difficult to die; remaining here was the challenging part. Equally important as the cancer-fighting medications were the loving individuals who tethered me to this earth as my body attempted to slip out from under me.
Grounding was necessary.
Whenever shock is involved, grounding is the remedy. I’ve been taught that when I'm in need of grounding to do exactly that – walk barefoot on the earth; sit down on the ground, or best of all, lay the whole body out, prostrated to the earth, letting her carry me, hold me, ground me. We do call her Mother after all. Commit to the relationship with her! She has supported us all these years.
Within the first few days of flying off the planet, I was surrounded in an intentional healing circle of my wife, children and four elders, led by my spiritual elder and advisor, a humble man of power who knows a thing or two about healing, living and dying. I lay in the center of the circle as they ‘planted my feet’. I felt myself called back into my hurting, crappy body that I wished only to escape.
The first step: stop escaping. Plant my feet on the ground I truly stand on now – the frightening ground it would take courage for me to continue to stand upon.
I will be forever grateful for their loving call to return into my body. I lay there, my body drenched in sweat as I tried to slide back into it, while my elder-teacher taught my youngest son where to place his hands on me – how to continue ‘planting my feet’ after my elder had returned to Mexico. I am incredibly fortunate and grateful to this kind circle of folks who helped me remain here on earth a little longer. They called me. They planted my feet.
When life becomes circumstances of spinning chaos and we are smacked in the face with our own powerlessness, often, all we can do is try to be as grounded as we possibly can. If we become the eye of the storm we are more effective in the storm for ourselves and for others.
Sometimes this is about all we can actually do for another in the storm - we can call out, motivated by our love not fear, and help to plant another’s feet. We don’t need a special someone – an elder, a healer, a medicine man, a doctor; we all have this power to call out to one another, especially when it’s fueled by love and care.
We have been conditioned to look for an answer outside of ourselves, while all along, WE ARE the medicine.
We are the medicine
We become the chorus
Calling the lost one to return
Planting their feet
On the earth
The first step to 'Planting the Feet': Stop attempting to escape!
Muchas gracias Tlakaelel, Celia, Bert, Dora, and my wife and sons for calling me back.