Precendented times.


Although the pandemic was rolling in already, I remember Friday, March 13th, 2020 as the day it really set in that we were entering into a new time. I had a strong sense that Covid-19 was not going to go away in a few months but rather that it would stay awhile and potentially usher us into a collective dark night. And that if we allowed it, it could transform us in such a way as to move forward from a new place collectively. Even still, I had no idea all the ways we would be stripped and left to face ourselves more deeply. Without minimizing the pain and loss of this past year, I am grateful for the ways it has rocked us out of our business as usual and made way for re-evaluation and re-considering.

Here we are, a year out. Many, including myself, have used the term ‘unprecedented times’ to describe what we are experiencing. Although that may be true for the majority of us who are alive right now, it is not true for humans in general. Humans have been through devastation, disease, plague, awakening, etc. since the beginning. All of which reveal that we have an innate resiliency we can live from both in our own selves and in our connection to our familial and spiritual ancestors.

We are held and supported as we navigate these current challenges and can allow them to be both ‘alchemical’ and ‘initiatory.’ These two words have been in my being quite awhile and I have been hearing others use them as well. They are in our midst and are appropriate as we continue our Lenten journey.

It has also been almost a year since we have been gathering daily for the collective contemplative pauses. . . a space for embodiment, chanting, reflecting, and silence. . . a space that allows us to access our resilience and join in with all who have done so in the past and will do so in the future. We connect in with the practices that humans have come back to when navigating these perhaps ‘precedented’ times. Silence being an essential one.

I recently came across an article by Azriel Re’Shel, called “Science Says Silence is Vital for Our Brains,”reinforcing what I think we all have experienced during our time together in the pauses. Azriel talks about the value of silence not only as comfort and coziness for our exhausted brains and bodies but as a time of regenerating and nurturing mind, body, and soul.

She says “While noise creates stress, silence relieves stress and tension in the brain and body. Silence is replenishing and nourishes our cognitive resources. Noise makes us lose our concentration, cognitive powers and causes decreased motivation and brain functioning (as backed up by research into the effects of noise), but studies show that spending some time in silence can amazingly restore what was lost through exposure to excessive noise. The ancient spiritual masters have known this all along; silence heals, silence takes us deeply into ourselves, and silence balances the body and mind. Now science is saying the same thing.

The healing benefits of nature and stillness are well documented, but now we can add to this quest for health and wellbeing, the nourishment of our brains. The simple yet ancient experience of silence could be just the healing balm we need to quell our crazy modern lifestyle.”

I see these pauses as time together not only for our own individual mind, body, and soul benefit but really working together as part of an immune system in the collective mind, body, and soul. As we engage our practices we offer nourishment and protection to the Whole, just as the immune system does for our individual selves.

I am incredibly grateful for all of you who have joined me in these pauses at whatever level you have been able to even if that means you have not entered the zoom space. They have been steadying and cohering and a way of offering something to the Whole Web of Inter-Being in which we are a crucial and insignificant part of.


We are anchoring and tethering.

We are surrendering and trusting.

We are connecting and inter-abiding.

We are freeing and widening.

We are sensing the invincibility of our hearts.

With love,

Heather

Here are most of the readings from the ‘collective contemplative pauses’ this week. Again you will now be able to find them on Facebook and Instagram as well.