a wake, with love

nessy-awake-pichello dear ones,

in the wake of this election (and for many it has felt like a wake), the moon rushed in closer than she’s been to earth in seventy years to shine some light, and asking us to stay awake through this darkness. (or at least that’s one of the stories that keeps me inspired and moving forward at this time).

we all sit with uncertainty of what these results say about the current state of our citizenry and what it may mean for our individual and collective future. many times this past week, i have felt like a first responder to a tragic scene where the rights and lives of so many people are directly threatened. trauma responses have been reactivated in a huge number of people and a massive amount of energy has been unleashed in our interconnected experience. there’s so much to say, so much to hear and so much to feel. with these newly improved hearing ears of mine, i’ve been doing my best this past week to actively listen. we don’t know (ever) know what’s coming, but i can do my best to be present with what is.

last sunday, i walked around lake merritt in oakland with 8000 other folks who circled the perimeter of the heart shaped body of water, gathered together to grieve and call for a better expression of collective life. underneath the tears, the songs, the drums and the beautifully painted signs declaring different variations of “love wins,” i heard a deep call within me for something beyond winning and losing.

love doesn’t win, because love is not in battle with anything or one.

people, sometimes deeply wounded people, win positions. certain ideas win out over other ideas for a time. unlikely baseball teams win world series once every 108 years or so. but love doesn’t win… and it doesn’t lose either. love does not exist in the polarity where our minds compartmentalize so much of life. love has no opposite. when the illusions of our mind that cause disconnect melt away, love just is.

plugging into a fearful and worried mind. covering up. isolating ourselves from all but those who agree with us. believing every thought we have or thing we read. being disconnected from the pure energy that flows naturally from our hearts – these are not in opposition to love anymore than thirst is competing with water. thirst is a cry for water and a sign that our natural state of hydration is off in the same way that hate, fear, worry, complacency, unworthiness, arrogance and so many other constricted aspects of the human condition are not our enemies but calls to reconnect with our natural state. love.

but there does seem to be an intense struggle between a worldview that is fueled by a desire to create a more diverse collective experience fueled by love (which will include lots of risk and uncertainty) and one that is isolated, disconnected and fueled by fear (but much of the time feels “safer” and more comfortable).  we are steeped in a longstanding state of collective consciousness that no longer serves us,  built on tribal polarities of: us vs. them, good vs. evil, right vs. left, “love” vs. hate.

i believe there is an evolution of our consciousness beyond this binary understanding, and humanity is continuing to hunger for it and be ushered into it. we’ve seen it in all the many strides forward we’ve made in understanding the “other” – including and protecting the rights and lives of people who share a set of different experiences. it’s been facilitated by the intimate knowing of one another in cities and online, where we can no longer so easily isolate from those who have different experiences. it’s been disrupting the power structures whose existence was fueled by keeping certain people or groups silent and out of their power. many of those who have ruled over and felt safe within this last level of consciousness are grasping on to their scraps and lashing out.

we must acknowledge that we are not yet anywhere close to fully embodying this new level of knowing and being. in the end the unity that comes from being fully connected to our natural state of love IS the tonic we each need and our world needs – but calling for an immediate jump to that place, without being present with all that has kept us disconnected, stunts our healing. i confess that many times in my life i have tried to jump right to holding hands and singing kumbaya primarily because it feels better than actually facing all the parts of myself and relationships that have been disconnected from or actively betrayed my own truth and nature. i’m working on metaphorically holding hands and singing with all those shadowy parts now.

in the body there is a concept called a “healing crisis.” it’s a time when a state of imbalance can no longer be repressed, numbed out or ignored. the innate intelligence of one’s body takes over and purges the toxicity in what are often painfully sympathetic ways. it’s the moment of vomiting, break out, pus releasing or the like when we can no longer look outside of ourselves for a fix. the only real choice is to move through the parts of ourselves that had been buried in the shadows. afterward we are restored to a new level of understanding and wellness, but in the thick of it it is typically quite terrible and hard to stay with.

i sense that the energetic system that we call “america” is in the midst of such a healing crisis right now. we are confronting the toxic residue of generations of oppressed parts of our community and ourselves. we are moving out of the belief that some external power or authority can make everything okay and seeing that we are at some level responsible for what is being expressed. many of us who have had the privilege to avoid the daily pain and symptoms of these realities are being confronted with them in a new way. this is the point we must be with the pain, naming it, stumbling through it, moving us through to the next level. right now, we must be with all the shadows that have been blocking our individual and collective light – with love, because that’s all there is.

love is the answer, but it’s not a platitude or an excuse for ignoring the painful realities. love is a verb that keeps us actively engaged and present with what is, continually holding space for what could be.

how does love show up in your life, when you really love someone or something what version of you arises? for me, when i’m fueled by love, i have space to really hear and be with the true need underneath someone’s words… i feel unafraid of speaking my own truth, or being vulnerable… when i am fueled by love i feel the pain of all the parts of me that have been denied loved and judged and can more easily be present with someone’s experience, even when it’s very different from my own or it makes me uncomfortable. when i’m in that space i am better able to stand up, refusing to give my power to anything external, including answering to an authority that i sense is being motivated from a wounded, disconnected place.  

as we move collectively and individually through this healing crisis, be kind to yourself and others.do your best to practice radical empathy, which is not putting yourself in someone elses shoes, but listening for and imagining what walking in their shoes, with their experience, might be like. this next phase of consciousness demands that we find a way to do what often feels impossible… to let all the polarities exist within and without… to recognize that we exist on both sides of the battle lines… to be both engaged and at rest… to listen to others while hear our own deepest knowing… to speak the truth of the disconnection while acknowledging how deeply connected we are to those parts.. to find the gratitude while simultaneously feeling the outrage… to move beyond the polarity, without growing complacent or agreeing to things that betray our souls.

to support this evolution we must care for our bodies and souls by getting the rest we need, exercising, eating well, consciously interacting with (and at times limiting) the media we take in, being with people that expand our heart and when we are more resourceful, being those who are harder for us to stay open-hearted around, making art, speaking our truth and feeling our feelings as they arise. self-care that leads to true presence is a revolutionary act in these times, may you find the discernment to hear what you need, supporting what we all need. 

with the love that is, whatever may be,


2 thoughts on “a wake, with love

  1. Dearest Vanessa. I read every word and am going to print this to keep in times of struggle . Thank you so much for sharing this viewpoint and expressing it so beautifully and based in reality yet hope and back to the reality. Thank you, my loving sister. May I share on Facebook! And in my circles? Xx

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