Wednesday, August 19, 2020


I am allowing this time of disruption to lead me to a greater destiny.

How about you?

I have lived through countless disruptions to the individual and collective status quo. They have varied in intensity and in duration. For most of my existence I have at best tolerated these disruptions, awaiting the time when I and we could just get back to normal.

Could we please just get back to normal?

Though I have lived through countless disruptions there has never been one quite like this. There has never been one with such sustained intensity. Never one that literally involved the entire human race. This has been and continues to be in many ways a great equalizer. We are globally being disrupted and disturbed. Death and illness surround us in a collective shroud. People are screaming out “could we please just back to normal?”

I am not one of those people.

For me, this disruption is purposeful. Not logically and certainly not punitively. We have collectively been participating in a fate that was unsustainable. Disturbances and dramas were playing out in unmistakable ways. Divisiveness has become a cancer. Greed and immorality have been eating away at the truest of what human beings are capable of. People have been demeaning and dehumanizing other people on full display in our social media culture. Name calling is visible and audible in a nanosecond. Caste systems have been reinvigorated by the so-called powerful and unbelievably tolerated by the masses.

It was beyond time to disrupt that toxic reality.

I have no desire to return to that state of what had become normal.

I in no way deny the devastating consequences of this pandemic. I see, hear, feel the collective pain. It was made very personal for me by the death of my best friend from this rampant virus. I compassion all those who have lost so much directly and indirectly as a result of this mass disruption. I have remained awake and available to anything and everything I may contribute to help alleviate this quantum level of suffering. I do not know when it may end or even ease. But rather than just riding out this disruption I am seeking to glean every bit of lesson I can as to how I may let this disturbance lead me to a greater and more serviceable destiny.

I cannot and will not go back to where we or I was before.

I firmly and wholeheartedly believe disruptions can lead us to a greater reality if we let them. I have seen it numerous times during my lifetime. When I have been stuck in patterns that had run their course and were no longer fruitful life has disrupted those patterns by stopping me in my tracks. Admittedly I was most often disturbed by the disruptions. I did not like being stopped. I frequently pushed hard against the disruption, which only dug me deeper into the hole of my own resistance. Though the patterns had led me to suffering the suffering was familiar and so oddly comfortable. It has only been in perhaps the most recent decades that I have come to feel a sense of possibility in the disruptions of my life. I have come to embrace disturbance as part of emergence. I have begun to release patterns and relationships that I amazingly did not leave claw marks on.

With the broadest of brush strokes, I would say that this pandemic is a tragic out picturing of our collective fate. We have contributed to it individually and collective, consciously, and unconsciously. And if this pandemic is fate, then it can become destiny. But any desire or push to go back to normal must be sacrificed.

Fate is what happens. Destiny is what we choose to do with it.

It is my fate to be alive at this time of disturbance, disruption, and distancing. I am very clear about that.

It is my destiny to relate to all of this in wakeful, faithful, and even grateful ways.

I truly and deeply believe that not only is it not prudent to try and return to the unsustainable past, it is impossible. That normal is gone. It needed to die. It needed to be disrupted. It needed to be stopped. And people of destiny will spend this time looking deeply at our own internal dramas. Our own self-imposed disturbances and divisiveness. How we treat ourselves and how we treat others. How we may dehumanize and denigrate. It has to stop.

It has to stop, and we have been stopped.

I am choosing to welcome and even celebrate this disruption. I have no need to return to anything. I have a profound desire to surrender to a deeper unfolding that is tangibly happening within me. I have no idea what my life will look like on the other side of this massive disturbance. And I feel no need to know.

I am certain of little in life anymore. Yet I am oddly certain that uncertainty is always a friend and never a foe. I am certain that in many ways my life will now be lived from a clear demarcation of before and after Covid-19. Before and after a global and horrific disturbance. Before and after the time when my fate clearly became my destiny.

I will either consciously use fate or fate will unconsciously use me.

I have lived through enough disturbances and disruptions to know that how I relate to this fate will lead me to a greater destiny. I do not deny being disturbed. I am not deadening nor am I identifying with it. So, the disturbance is available and usable. My former way of being has been disrupted, and a higher and more wakeful expression is emerging. And that higher and more wakeful expression is my destiny.

I am letting this profound disruption lead me to a greater destiny. I am moving forward from that. I do not wish to return to anything that was before. I do not know where this disruption will lead. I only know I am being led.

Thursday, August 13, 2020


Though this is my first experience of one, I am suspecting that pandemics radically change perspective. I know it has mine.

In November 1995, the at- the- time love of my life drew his last breath while embraced within my arms. Thus, began an odyssey into conscious grieving that actively continues to this day. As I type these words, I can still hear that final exhalation of breath that carried him back into immortality. I can feel the astounding array of feelings that moved through my body. I can see vividly the light level in the room. The numbers 3:59 displayed on the digital clock. The faint scent of fabric softener on the hospital gown that I had placed upon him just hours before, after what I did not yet know would be the final bathing of that precious body.

I knew deeply that I would never be the same.

I knew that I had been privileged to walk with another soul to the threshold of eternity. Though I wanted desperately to move through that portal with him, I also knew it was not my time. I knew that I was to remain, and that something had become available within me as those digital numbers moved from 3:59 to 4:00 that would be foundational to my purpose and my service.

After the workers removed his precious body from what had been ours shared home, I sat in stunned silence upon the terrace. I had slept little in days, nor had I consumed much food. I was in shock, yet I was strangely vibrantly clear. That clarity included letting me know that for the first time in many years I was really, truly alone.

I was alone.

I suddenly was brought to an external awareness that below my terrace two people were volleying a tennis ball back and forth rhythmically, methodically, and seemingly non-competitively. I became somewhat fixated on that ball going back and forth, back, and forth. I could sense the rhythm of motion in my beyond tired body. They were not speaking as they played. Just hitting the ball back and forth, neither one of them missing a shot. Time stood still as I become mesmerized by the constant back and forth.

It was then that I realized that these two people were engaged in a trivial game of not-quite tennis, while being observed by a person whose entire life had just been shattered. They had no inkling that a life had just ended only yards from where they were playing. They were innocently clueless that a large number of people would soon learn of this loss. That lakes of tears would be shed. That many hearts would be wrenched. That an occurrence of monumental import had just happened. They had no idea. None.

And the ball went back and forth. And I knew in a moment of stunning perspective that life goes on. Indeed, losses occur, and life goes on. People die, and for others life goes on. Pandemics happen, and life goes on. Beloveds, jobs, homes, seeming security is lost, and yet life goes on. Life experiences that will never return become distant and yet a different river continues to flow. On and on.

For many it is easier to remain mostly oblivious to the losses that do not directly affect them. The tennis ball continues to bounce, and the awareness that lives are being lost and shattered are consumed by the rhythm of the game. Bodies are being removed. Tears are being shed. Arrangements are being made under the most excruciating of circumstances. A grieving begins that will never really end. And life and the game continue to go on.

A life changing perspective occurred for me on that long-ago November day. I cannot and will not immune myself to the losses of others. I choose not to deaden myself to the death that is all around me. I will not look away or distract myself from the suffering of others. I know what it is like to experience the deepest of losses, and that has groomed me to stay by the side of those who are entering that tumultuous terrain of indescribable suffering.

By not turning my back on the suffering of others I learn experientially that there truly are no others. We are one at a fundamental and foundational level. Your tears are my tears. Your loss is my loss. Your life is my life and your death is my death. This is the level of spirituality that I want. This is the level of spirituality that I have. That is the level of spirituality that was gifted as a result of profound and sustained grief. My ability to be with the pain that I have endured opens me to be with the pain that is landing for you. It is not my pain or your pain. It is the pain. And there is pain, and there is suffering. And through it all life goes on.

I have obviously grown older in those twenty-five years since my Richard passed. There is far more sand in the bottom of the hourglass there is in the top. Sooner rather than later it will be my turn to walk across the threshold. I suppose someone will be there to make the calls and tidy up the details. There will be a few that will grieve. And after my body has been collected perhaps someone will be pondering my own departure. That pondering may be interrupted by the punctuating rhythm of a back and forth tennis ball. It will remind the observer of one very certain thing.

Life goes on.

Thursday, August 6, 2020


Though it is becoming more difficult I still remember when friends were friends.

I still remember when if something important was happening in a friend’s life they would directly and personally contact me to let me know.

Now I am left to find out about all sorts of life events on social media. What used to be personal sharing has become impersonal posting. Deeper truths are tweeted, and reality is revealed in a newsfeed. In a barrage of collective data, the interpersonal is becomes buried. Intimacy, I fear, is stopping scrolling long enough to actually read.

Let me be clear: I have done it. I have found myself overwhelmed by the task of sharing important information with a large number of people. It seemed convenient and expeditious to use social media as a way disseminating something that also felt way too sensitive to post to the masses. I did so in spite of feeling uncomfortable and out of sync with the deeper calling of my heart and soul. I did, though, contact a few people who I did not want to learn the news by catching it in a public platform.

I remember fondly when friends were really friends. Not mere acquaintances. Not scroll by notices. Not hit and run news bytes. Friends. The I have your phone number memorized kind of friends. The something really good/bad happened and I have to tell you kind of friends. The I know your secrets and I still love you and I will keep your secrets kind of friend.

They have become fewer, further between, and infinitely more precious to me.

One of the many distinctions that has become painfully clear to me during this pandemic is that if I am left to find out from Facebook what it is really occurring in your life than we are not what I think of as true friends. I do not perceive that as a problem. It is an awareness. And it is a two-way street. If something significant is occurring for me it is my friends that I will directly notify. Or at the very least, notify first. My friends will not learn of my diagnosis, losses, tragedies, and triumphs on social media. If I would choose to then share it publicly, it will not be new news to those closest to me. It will not be new and surprising information. It will be a confirmation.

Though it is becoming more difficult I still remember when friends were friends.

I confess to wanting to go back to that.

I want more.

I want friendship to be more than 140 characters and posted pictures and shared sharing’s and multiple likes. I will gladly trade 240 Happy Birthday posts from people I barely for just one or two sincere telephone calls.

I want more of what is personal and intimate. More of what often feels risky because it is so real and meaningful. I want the awkwardness of vulnerability, openness, and frequent messiness. I want to know I matter enough to you to warrant a call, a note, a touch. I would like to know that you notice when I may go missing. I want to summon from myself the courage to go personal when virtual feels easier, safer.

I am committed to navigating this current landscape differently. I will likely continue to use social media, though I will not allow it to use me. I will be more mindful of what and how I share information. I will honor other’s choices of what and how they share, and I will honor how those choices land for me. I decide what friendship means to me, and I will not demand that my parameters govern other people’s choices. And if I am left to learn of something profound that is happening for you along with all the masses, I will take my place among them. I will recognize, and I will accept my place in your life.

This time of pandemic is a profound resetting of priorities for me. Levels of friendship and relationship are high among those re-evaluations. Social distancing has taught me how distant our current culture has become. Media is convenient, yes. And it is also in many ways disconnecting. Media rapidly reaches many people. It does. Yet it is more vital to me to touch a few hearts. It will take longer. And I suspect it will mean more.

It is often said that when times are tough you find out who your real friends are. That has been supremely born out for me in the past couple of years. A huge weeding of this garden has occurred. Some of that was of my intentional action. Some of it felt as if it happened independent of my own choices. Either way, there is plenty of room for new and existing flowers to grow. New ways of relating to flourish. New depths to be plunged and new heights to be soared. I am open and I am ready for it. It is a risk I am willing to risk.

It is not enough for me to simply remember when friends were really friends. I want that now. It is a perspective and an experience that I am actively cultivating. Part of that for me involves less media and more immediacy. I will undoubtedly miss events, birthdays, and life occurrences. I am sorry for that. But I will not miss the things that are happening for people who truly see me as a friend that they directly include in the moments of their life experience. And then if I do miss something, I will be told I was missed.

I have a great number of social media acquaintances. I have very few social media friends. I get to choose how I see that distinction, and how I relate to it. I see it in perspective. And I am using the framing to awaken me to the rare and precious gift of intimate friendship. I am vowing to make more direct contact, and to share at a deeper and truer level. You, my friends, will not learn of what is important to me along with the masses. You will hear it directly from me. If for convenience and expediency I need to share in order to disseminate sensitive information you will have known it first.

I am remembering when friends were friends by being that kind of friend now.