Over the summer, I received a three-page handwritten letter from a dear friend I have known for almost 50 years. It was written out of her deep concern regarding my spiritual beliefs.
Our paths have diverged widely, and my friend and I disagree on many particulars about how to live in the vibration of love. In fact, I’m sure she wouldn’t use the term vibration of love. Yet, she is one of the most loving people I know.
My childhood friend and I are living in the space of “yes, and.” Yes, we don’t see eye to eye. Yes, she is worried about my future in the afterlife. (I am not.) Yes, we don’t talk politics because I’m certain we would disagree completely. And…we hold deep respect and love for each other.
A month or two ago, my spirit guides offered me the words, bones and roses. I’ve been trying to feel into what it means, and I believe this “yes, and” place is at least a part of it.
This is bubbling up for me as world events once again horrify and terrify us. We see more evidence of how we, as a human race, have completely bought the lie of separation. So much so that all our systems are built around it and it feels like there is little choice other than to fight.
I, like many of you, don’t want to fight. I don’t want to try to convince my friend that my way of living is the best way. I don’t want to “other” people. I also don’t want to look away from what saddens and scares me. And I certainly don’t want to condone it.
Yesterday, I was talking to a different friend, who is Jewish, about the situation in Israel. She said she believes there is good in every person, even those who do the most abhorrent things. I agree. According to my belief system, she is referencing the truth of Oneness. That we are all part of Collective Soul; no individual soul is better or worse than the other.
So, what do we do with the bones and roses? My friend and I had our conversation about Israel and the goodness in people as we were driving home from a poetry reading. The poets are a married couple, one of them Ukrainian -born, who have each written breathtaking books about horrific subjects—war and cancer. They point us toward the terrible and the beautiful that coexist. The “yes, and,” the bones and the roses.
It is natural to feel helpless in times like these. The problems are enormous, the atrocities just keep happening. Getting stuck in currents of fear is understandable. So the is temptation to look away.
But I believe we are better served by being in the “yes, and” which can be a very uncomfortable place to reside. To exist here, it is essential to remember to cultivate our vibration of love. While individually, we may be too small to stop wars, we are powerful enough to create a zone of peace in our daily lives if we are willing to. And because I believe in Oneness, I know the vibration we individually create does influence the collective.
How does it work? For me, it starts with true self-care. The kind that includes a daily practice of going inward to connect with Spirit, disconnecting from endless media loops, communing with nature, moving my body, and enjoying and creating beauty. When I feel balanced, I am much better equipped to bring love to my outside world.
Once outside, I am committed to treating everyone I meet with respect and kindness. Am I perfect at this? Of course not. But it is my practice. When I get triggered, it is time to go back inward, to notice why, and then offer the Buddhist metta meditation: “may you be happy, may you be healthy, may you be safe, may you live with ease.”
Aung San Suu Kyi, a Burmese politician, diplomat, author and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, once said: “If you’re feeling helpless, help someone.” This is a guiding light for me. Help can be offered in so many ways. And the humblest ways often have more impact than we know.
I believe the “yes, and” is where I’ll be living for the rest of this lifetime, so a supportive circle of beloveds is imperative. We must hold each other tightly in our zone of peace, and if you are reading this, please understand how grateful I am that you are in my circle.
And we must not forget to laugh!
My childhood friend makes me laugh more easily and heartily than any human I’ve ever met. I hold the energy of this laughter in my heart. When I think of her, this is the first thing that comes to mind. Not the way she practices her spirituality or her concern for mine, but the way she shines her radiant spirit into this world. I choose to see the roses of our relationship and not so much the bones.
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