*Artwork of pregnant Gaia by Pia Imbar

I Have No F*cking Clue What’s Happening

By Lissa Rankin, MD

We are coming undone
The way people unravel when they find a lump.
You feel the lump, and it frightens you.
But oh, maybe it’s nothing.
You go to the doctor and get it checked out.
The doctor looks alarmed, so now you’re scared again.
She orders a test.
You wait through sleepless nights until the day of the test.
Then you wait more days, wondering, wondering.
When you go back to the doctor to get your test results,
She looks at you with kind eyes.
You know before she speaks.
Something is wrong.
Next, the biopsy.
More waiting.
More waiting.
Stomach churning.
Heart flip-flopping.
Catastrophizing. What-if-ing.
It could be nothing.
You’re overreacting.
But gah! What if?
Then finally, the news.
You have cancer.
The prognosis is not good.
We will do what we can.
You can tell the doctor has pity on you.
She is confident about some things.
But not this.
The ways she knows won’t help much here.
Still, she tries to comfort you.
You are grateful.

Such are solutions in the times of corona.
The old ways of fixing have lost their potency.
Unemployment checks.
Stimulus packages.
Livestream Andrea Bocelli to replace Easter church.
More ventilators.
Quick fix drugs.
A rush to vaccines.
Zoom yoga while we come undone.

The bad news emerges slowly
A gentling that helps.
Hope comes in spurts.
Maybe this drug.
Maybe a vaccine sooner than we thought.
Put them prone on pregnancy massage tables.
Fewer deaths than expected.
The curve is flat.
Hallelujah! It’s working!
We are all in this together.

Disappointment comes in bursts too.
The stimulus packages are out of money.
Your small business didn’t get chosen.
The bank passes the buck. Not their fault.
The politicians pass the buck too.
Only there’s no buck.
Your employees are family but might get fired.
The money is running out.
The ventilators are causing more damage than good.
The million dollar tests were an epic fail.
The masks never made it.
Grandfather didn’t make it.
People are dying alone.
The scientists made a mistake.
The politicians lied.
The epidemiologists got the numbers wrong.
The doctors said “Oops. Sorry.”
The economists roll their eyes.
China’s numbers were off.
California got it right.
No, Sweden got it right.
No…what’s right?
We have no f*cking clue what’s happening.

But one day, it hits you.
Like cancer, when the news finally strikes.
Business as usual is over.
Life will never be the same,
And you might die soon.
You might not.
You will die some day.
We enter the Not Knowing,
The place that has always been true
Beneath the illusions of certainty.

Willingly or not, we enter the space between stories,
The liminal space
When one story of life as we know it has ended
And another has not yet begun.
It is here, the Not Knowing.
Speculation abounds,
But at some point, you can’t take it anymore.
You crave Knowing, even if what we know
Is Not Knowing.
You hope someone will say The Emperor Has No Clothes,
Someone who will admit
We have no f*cking clue what’s happening.
You crave the end of the pretending,
The smashing of hubris,
The grand pretense.
The desperate attempt to know
Like the death throes of a patient on a ventilator
Taking his last mechanical breath- alone
As his heart stops.
No more codes.
Stop.
Just stop.
Enough.
Surrender.

You can resist.
You can find the next grasp for certainty.
You can laugh at how adorable we are,
How much we crave the addiction of control,
How much we’re willing to try anything,
As long as it’s not “Let go.”

You can wait for the next talking head with the “answers,”
The next sense-maker speaking nonsense.
Or you can consent to what is.
Dissolving.
Bug soup in the cocoon.
Let yourself get shattered.
You grieve.
The shock wears off.

We’re going down now, down inward,
Down in the heartbreak,
Down into our shared heart, our collective grief.
You descend into the territory of soul
Down to holy ground.
You find refuge here.
You grieve some more.
You try to walk outside in nature.
The wildflowers are bursting on fire-swept mountains.
The sheriff stops you.
Go home.
Shelter in place.
There is nobody around.
Why can’t you walk?
He is inflated and on a power trip.
You feel it in your bones.
He is afraid too.
But he has to dominate someone.
His wife is not safe at home.
She shivers when he walks in.
She knows the code word “Mask-19”
In case she ever gets up the courage to ask the pharmacist to call the cops.
Only he’s the cops.
Maybe she’s safer if he makes me go home.
No good reason. I’m local, just out for a walk.
Go home anyway, bitch.
The fear kicks in.
The police state is here.
You also know he is in pain.
You feel a wave of compassion.

Then a burst of anger spikes.
You understand the protestors.
Righteous rage floods your system.
You also understand the ones we’re corona shaming,
The ones throwing three person wine parties
6 feet apart on the beach.
You want your old life back too.
Waves of nostalgia flood you.
You miss so much.
You feel yourself descend again, down, down, down
You are falling, crashing, tumbling.

But then a rush of love meets you
Where you thought you’d hit bottom.
The bad news is you’re falling apart.
The good news is you’ve been praying for this moment your whole life
In dreams, in visions, in meditation
In vague memories of how you chose to come here now- for THIS.
You were called here.
You said yes.
We all did.
Everyone who’s here came to be part of this,
Falling together, rising together.
There is no concrete to splat on,
Only a cushion of love,
This descent into holy ground.

Something settles.
Everything other than “This is” strips away.
Even “I am” makes you laugh.
“We are” feels more honest.
We are all in this together,
And this is a Mystery.
You remember to trust.
Something is happening.
Something had to happen.
You have been waiting for this moment.
Now it is here.

You remember the dying, the crying, the underlying
Fabric of society unraveling.
You feel guilty for feeling a rush of excitement.
The Great Change Is Upon Us.
Business as usual is over.
You are surprised to feel relief.
Gratitude riding shotgun with despair.
Curiosity next to contradiction.
Polarization becomes paradox.

Let us pause.
The world is in rehab,
Taking a breather from business as usual,
Examining our addictions, distractions, numbness, and habits of destruction.
Rehab doesn’t last forever.
It’s a reset, a chance to dive down, to go deep,
To interrupt business as usual,
To question everything.
Recovery is a journey.
We could fall off the wagon again.
We probably will.
But first, this.

Stillness.
Silence.
And in the emptiness bubbles up the fizz of remembering.
Remember our children, Gaia, our sisters and brothers,
The ones we have forgotten in our rush to “progress,”
The ones we enslaved, dehumanized, exploited, marginalized, overlooked, neglected.
Grief. Shame.

Feeling so sorry I am so white, powerful, entitled, and privileged.
It is not my fault. I was born this way.
It is not my fault, but it is my responsibility.
How do we make apologies and make amends,
Make sacrifices and make gifts?
I don’t know.
How do we use the hellfire of righteous rage
To say a fierce HELL NO
To those trying to rebuild business as usual,
The business that is killing the world,
Killing Mother Earth, Lover Earth, Gaia?
I don’t know.

How do we choose HELL NO
To feeling entitled to that which is not ours to take.
To hoarding and greed
To violating nature, each other, and our other precious Earthling creatures
To the war machine
To destroying what is not ours to devastate
To endless growth
To constant “upgrades”
To globalization
To the “ascent” of humanity at a cost we cannot afford.
Where is our HELL YEAH?
I’m not sure.

“If you knew She could feel, you would not do this,”
Say the Kogi mamas,
As business as usual rips open our Earth body to extract more resources.
This must stop.
This has stopped!
Gaia herself has stopped us.
Maybe a Chinese lab.
Maybe a pangolin.
Maybe it’s not even a virus, but an exosome.
Maybe it’s not a respiratory disease but a hematologic one.
I don’t know.
I don’t know.
The words we doctors hate to say.

A pandemic of immodesty,
Everyone pretending to know the unknowable.
The scientists doubling down on measures that don’t acknowledge
The soil of a corrupt culture ripe for pandemics.
The doctors doubling down on disease care
When we so desperately need health care that prevents and heals.
The politicians doubling down on myopic bailouts and blaming the corrupt others.
The bliss hunters doubling down on spiritual bypassing.
The New Agers doubling down on grandiose notions
Of chosen aliens and the Pleiadian star gates.
The light workers doubling down on denying the call for holy darkness.
The religious doubling down on karma and Armeggedon.
It’s all trauma, I say, doubling down.

All of us afraid to feel our human emotions all the way.
All of us too wounded to even know how
To ride the waves of emotion
The way the monkey mind rides thoughts.

We think we know what’s happening,
But even our experts can’t find consensus.
Where are the humble ones?
May we let them lead!
Where are the pure of heart?
May we grant them a long overdue stage.
Where are the ones unafraid of suffering?
May they show us how to be merciful.
Where are the elders to initiate us?
May they help midwife the descent of humanity.
Where are the ones who see best in the dark?
May they guide the way.
Where are the ones skilled in listening in time of not knowing?
Let the others be silent so we may listen to them.
Where are the ones who trust the Mystery?
May they help us learn to trust.

Let us not wait to wave the white flag until we’ve destroyed more.
Let us cave early, surrendering to not knowing,
Yielding to the organizing intelligence of the great Force of Love.
Resist the temptation to control,
Stop pretending we know.
Learn what we can but be willing to admit when we’re out of our league.
Give in to the mystery.
Relinquish our personal will to Divine Will.
Find solace in that kind of trust.
“Let us pray for that which is most right,” says my teacher,
Always remembering none of us really know that which is most right.
Perhaps the pure of heart get glimpses of it.
They feel intuitively guided.
Somatically guided.
Emotionally guided.
Spiritually guided from within their own heart.
But always with the humility of “Maybe, maybe not.”

Do what we can. And… do nothing.
Shelter in place. And… dive deep into not knowing what’s best.
Rise up and resist. And…let go and surrender.
Be with fear, vulnerability, shame, death, grief…
And know we are more than all that too.
Gather knowledge…
And admit how limited our small human minds are.
Feel our smallness…and become our true size
Immense without grandiosity
Empowered without dominating
Yielding yet not tolerating those who cross our HELL NO
Resisting business as usual and accepting what is.
Meeting the intimacy of right here, right now
Eyes wide open
Hearts daring to crack
Tears streaming as the ice around our hearts melts
Generosity streaming
Towards our suffering soul sisters and brothers.

We are all just walking each other home
To a home we don’t know yet,
A home Earth is helping us birth.
Let us pray for that which is most right.
I will see you there.
Until then, let us be kinder than is necessary.
Let us have mercy on our own folly.
Let us bless each other
Be willing to be blessed.
Let us heal–together–apart–together.

*Artwork of pregnant Gaia by Pia Imbar

 

 

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11 Comments

  1. John Maas

    Brilliant poem putting into words what many of us are feeling. Among others, the “New Yorker” should be publishing this. Thank you. John

    Reply
  2. Kia

    Absolutely beautiful. Somehow those are exactly all the feelings and thoughts right now. Thank you.

    Reply
  3. Jean Wrohan

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. Heartfelt and rich. And true.

    Reply
  4. Susan Schanerman

    Lissa – – Brilliant – Thank you !

    Reply
  5. mary oconnell

    Thank you for your beautiful, truthful writing! You are so right to mark this as a time of incongruences and paradoxes. It was a relief to have someone write out all that I have been feeling and thinking but were unable to express in any coherent fashion. I remind myself everyday that we are all doing the best we can and I offer up my own prayers for divine right timing and healing.

    Reply
  6. Nancy Krampf

    Dearest One

    I LOVE the LOVE you have for our planet
    and all her beings

    i Love that you Love me
    all of the me’s

    I Love your mind being

    i see you
    i hear you
    i bow to every ounce you give

    Namaste Beautiful One
    thank you ,
    nk

    Reply
  7. Rich Moser

    You’re a poet at heart.

    “Bug soup in the cocoon.” –> Chrysalis –> Butterfly in process.

    kArmageddon.
    And the original meaning of apocalypsis is “a revealing.”

    Here we go!

    Reply
  8. Patricia Mackenzie

    This. Yes. Thank you. Namaste.

    Reply
  9. Debra

    Thanks for making me feel absolutely sick to my stomach while doing rice chemo!

    Reply
  10. Natalie

    With love and gratitude, thank you.

    Reply
  11. Kendra

    beautiful, healing truths, Lissa
    let us all un-know together

    Reply

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