I’ve admittedly led a sheltered, privileged life, so I’m aware that my perspective is skewed, but it’s still true that never in my 47 years of life have I felt so strongly the impact of the level of collective fear on this planet. Fear seems to be making headline news every day right now. Terrorist attacks are becoming a daily occurrence on every continent. Climate change that can lead to mass ecocide is escalating right when we’re swearing in powerful politicians who don’t believe in climate change. The Dakota pipeline is threatening not just the sacred, life-giving water, but the very essence of the seeds of planetary healing that the indigenous people of all nations have been holding through the horrors of colonialism for many centuries. The U.S. election has polarized our people against each other, not just in the U.S., but all the way in Bali, where I just spent two months. At this pivotal time in the evolution (and questionable survival) of our species, we are more divided than ever, right when we need to unify, to acknowledge the Oneness that links us, not just as humans, but the Oneness that links us to the mountains, the oceans, the rivers, the trees, the endangered and extinct animals, the Oneness that acknowledges that everything is sacred and conscious, that we cannot perceive mountains as dead rocks or rivers as unconscious water, that everything is spirit and everything is connected and everything is God/Goddess, so we cannot harm the water or judge our neighbor or even demonize the terrorists without inflicting harm upon ourselves. Just as an aspen tree appears to be separate but is connected at its roots to a community of aspen trees, we are inextricably linked to All That Is. We have forgotten (bless our innocent hearts). We have attached to the story of the separate self, and this forgetting has allowed us to commit atrocities against nature and one another. But we are remembering. Let us forgive ourselves for the forgetting and gently and humbly come back to the remembering.
As the sun is rising on the small Indonesian reef island of Gili Meno, off the coast of Lombok, I wade over the shallow coral until it is deep enough to submerge myself. Once I do, I am transported into another world. Nemo-esque clown fish with wavy, floaty, fanlike fins, like the most elegant couture. Tiny electric blue schools of moon fusiliers, long nosed silvery needlefish, brain-shaped coral formations, sunfish that swim on their sides, eyeballs facing up! It’s like a candy shop down there, with all these brilliant colors and shapes. It’s also like a meditation—the only sound is the sound of my own breath—in and out, in and out.
But then OUCH! What is that? My arm is burning. Ouch! Again! What is it? I can’t see anything, but the stinging subsides quickly. I pause, still looking for the cause of the pain, but I see nothing. So I keep swimming.
I’m in Bali leading a writing retreat right now, so it’s been strange to navigate this polarizing election from another country, where I am surrounded by not only native Indonesians but by ex-pats from all over the world. Given that we are supposedly the most powerful country on the planet, this election is not just about the United States. It touches everyone, and the shock waves of this divisive election are rippling all the way over here to Bali.
As fellow lovers of truth, science, and consciousness, I need your help, my friends. One of the healers I interviewed and studied for my Sacred Medicine book has had her TEDx talk censored by TED, and we need your help broadcasting this "idea worth spreading." Brandy Gillmore, whom I met two years ago and who has since become one of my best friends, was once a person who suffered from such severe neurological pain after an accident that for six years, she was immobilized by the pain, bound to her bed and a wheelchair to get around. She failed all Western medical treatment—narcotics, epidural blocks, etc. Through the unfolding of realizations about how pain, the mind, and healing work, she was able to heal herself (with prayer and Divine support, as well as the power of her own mind) from years of agonizing, debilitating pain.
On the day after a heartbreaking debate, in the midst of many global crises, when many of us find ourselves feeling fury, helplessness, and grief, drowning in shadow, I wanted to share with you a love letter. This is not meant to bypass the very human emotions many of us feel or to squelch any impulse that might arise in you to serve love through your activism. (You can read about my own fury about last night’s debate on Facebook here). But sometimes, we do need to be reminded that all of this upheaval is part of the Lila, the Divine play. Let this reminder soothe your nervous system and awaken your soul.Dear Human,