Today, May 1st, Beltaine or Beltane, is a cross-quarter day that marks the approximate halfway point between Spring Equinox and Summer Solstice. It is a time of celebrating the growing light. Tradition has it that great bonfires were lit on hills to bring the sun’s light down to earth so that the earth could be fertile and support our living.
We are in the time of growing light, and at the same time,
in quarantine, feeling, perhaps, endarkened,
not as available to the light.
I know I have been stressed during this time of staying home during the pandemic.
While I am very grateful to have work that I do from home, my work got busier, which has been hard! I have felt a bit out of sync from the rest of the world, with so much talk of extra time to go within, to rest, to dream and transform. I’m working extra hours and it’s been hard to find a sense of balancing in my already full life… And this is nothing compared to what healthworkers on the frontline are facing!
No matter what our situation–no work or too much–
this time of pandemic highlights how we manage our stress,
how we get caught up in our personality patterns…
- I bought into an old “work hard and fast because it’s all up to you” pattern.
- Then I found myself bringing this too-fast pace of thinking and moving into my home life–rushing through daily tasks, not taking time to really listen, interrupting my husband more (already a difficult pattern between us)…
- And I found that I didn’t really know how I felt because there wasn’t time to feel deeply–there was too much to get done, competently, quickly… Not feeling much does not make for nourishing connections as you can imagine.
Maybe your personality stress patterns are different and you are distracting yourself with more screentime or losing yourself in books or talking with friends. Or postponing getting stuff done or spinning your wheels worrying as if you could just get a sense of control if you think about everything…
But that’s just it.
We can’t get control. There is no control to get.
We humans have lived under this illusion that we are in control of Eairth for a good 5,000-10,000 years, and this pandemic is showing us how false that is.
We can try certain things to mitigate the spread, to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe, but we can’t control the pandemic.
Perhaps we are waking up to see that we can’t control Eairth as climate change has been indicating for many years.
That we can’t control life. Even though we try in our different stressed-out ways. Our ego personality thinks that if we just do/be in a certain way, everything will work out.
But it’s not true.
No matter how hard I work to do a good job or you try to be peaceful or someone else worries about finding a solution, we aren’t, ultimately, in control.
The good news is, though, that there is
something greater than us that is.
Some call this God or Goddess. Others call it True Nature, the Great Mystery, Higher Power, Love, or the Universe. It doesn’t matter how you call this. Or if you do.
We humans, who have been flailing our way, using our big brains to invent and discover amazing things (and destroying our Eairth home along the way), are part of this bigger power. We are its big-brained, self-aware human expression.
So, we can rest back into this, trust this, let this unfold life,
and stop all our personality attempts to control the situation.
Or, at least, we can try!
Miranda MacPherson, in her book The Way of Grace, suggests asking the question: “What’s holding me right now?” to help us become aware of all the support everywhere–the chair, the floor, the building we are in, the air we breathe, the ground, the interconnections we have with people and animals and plants… We can allow ourselves to rest in this.
I sing every Tuesday evening on a zoom call with Songlines, the community choir here in Port Townsend. This past Tuesday, we sang one of Laurence Cole’s songs about gratitude. Every time we express thanks, we have a chance to be aware of this greater holding that we are not in control of.
As Laurence says, “Be the one in whom nothing is lost and you will gain the whole world and a soul besides.” We can open ourselves to look for all the little and big things around us to be grateful for–the sun rising in the morning, food on the table, a home to live in, Spring, a chance to live another day… Nothing is too small to give thanks for.
So, let’s light our Beltaine fires to call down the sun’s light!
We can’t control the light, but we can be the ones who call for it, yearn for it, align with it with our practice. And if we practice together, our beseeching is all the greater!
Let’s practice connecting with this primordial holding instead of trying to control life. For only in touch with this deeper holding will we, ultimately, be safe no matter what happens.
How do you practice, what fires will you light?