Secret Police


Last week, as I was coming out of the Co-op, I saw something remarkable, telling, and quite possibly a serious harbinger of things to come if we are not careful. Something at once to be inspired by, and fearful of. Something that was encapsulated in one brief moment in time through the simplest of gestures. Human contact.

Two employees were passing one another; one coming into the store, the other going out. They did not see me watching them. As they passed one another, they connected hands with a soft, down-low high five in the most subtle of ways. An interaction that if you had not been paying attention to, you would have missed.

I watched them, mesmerized by the strength of the human spirit finding its way into flesh. Into expression. Into contact. This, despite the sterilizing restrictions mandating against such a thing. I smiled. But the employee coming into the store never saw that. Instead, when he saw me watching them, he startled back.

So much there in such a “small” instant. Do you see it? For to see this is to see what it is that is happening, along with what it is that we would never want to happen. Do you see that too?

For beyond all that we believe we need to do, or have been told we need to do, there must always be some things we would never want to lose. Or agree to. Or forget. Or become. Or do to one another.

Looking back, I wish I had done something to indicate how I felt about the hopefulness of that gesture. About the fact that I am clear I am no public shamer nor self-appointed secret police.

Given what we are up against here, all of the confusion, the fear, the uncertainty and more, could we at least agree to not turn against one another? Could we at least agree to never lose track of what it is that brings health and hope to a human being?


The Virtuous


I have been doing an online course that studies Celtic virtues as a way to navigate life. Especially useful during times of challenge. It has been a profound and meaningful experience in a boots-on-the-ground kind of way. We have worked with, and explored, the virtues of wisdom, generosity, humility and more; finding ways to incorporate these states of excellence into the way we live.

It all promises to support a lifelong journey of becoming ever more masterful of an inner balance that brings an outer balance.

In other words, the development of strengths from the inside out and a kind of honing that has nothing to do with looking virtuous. Instead, having everything to do with developing a an inner moral compass that is yours and yours alone. One that transcends the times, other people’s opinions, and even, ultimately, your own shortcomings.

In light of this, and in light of the times we are living in, I have questions. A lot of them. Here are a few:

When did it become virtuous to follow an outer authority without question?

When did it become virtuous to do things not because you believed in them but because you did not want to upset another?

When did it become virtuous to vilify others who believed differently than you?

When did it become virtuous to agree to choices driven by profit and corporate agenda?

When did it become virtuous to abdicate free will?

And when did it become virtuous to be afraid with others as a way to show you care?

I recognize that we are all up against something big, unknown and scary. And yet, isn’t that exactly the time to lean into virtues like wisdom, humility and generosity? I know this is hard. But all things virtuous and worth doing, worth living for, fighting for and dying for, are. That’s the point. The virtues are not when it is easy and anyone could do it. The virtues are for when you don’t know what to do. Or for when you might forget what to do.

Or, for when you might be pressured, shamed or guilted to do what you would never want to do.

When I was growing up, my father’s side of the family was very, very Catholic. There were nuns and priests in the family. It was a time when someone like my grandfather would go to mass every day. I went to. That’s what we did. Not every day, but on Sundays.

At some point it began to dawn on me that there were people in church often seen as the most pious, the most virtuous of all, who actually were nothing of the kind. “Good people” who were never shy to remind you of just that. How good they were. Along with how unassailable their goodness was, such that to speak against it was a blasphemous act of the highest order. Punishable by death. Or at least one of its equivalents.

We have to be very, very careful right now about what we choose to believe it is that makes us good and virtuous people. And when it is that we are using that “goodness” as a cover for something that should never, ever, be allowed to take hold between us or within us.

The Simple Things


Years ago, in a book I was reading by Anne Lamott, she told a story of a friend who had only two prayers: Help and Thank You. Over time, I have come back to this off and on again. I am back on.

I find that when our worlds, inner and/or outer, begin to spin with greater and greater intensity and complexity, uttering these two simple words reduces everything back down to something manageable. Real. And ultimately, profoundly healing in the most easeful of ways.

We have been led to believe that our solutions must be big, technological, hard won and often, even beyond us. We have come to believe within ourselves that we must do it all, figure it all out, worry our way into or out of something. So it takes enormous courage and a kind of bold letting go to opt for something which seems so unsophisticated and to the untrained eye, naive and childish even.

And yet, look around. Better yet, look within. How’s that working out for us?

Ten To The Thirty One


I have been on a bit of a whirlwind of learning over the past several months. Something in me is feeling very, very hungry for as broad and as deep of a perspective as I can open to and integrate into, in understanding the world, the circumstances we find ourselves in, along with my place in all of this.

For as things crumble and churn, if I can open to a wider understanding of Life itself, I am then offered a seemingly infinite number of opportunities to create anew. To get it “right.” Right being choosing for a life based on what it is that a human being needs to live and to live well; what it is to exist in the world in a life-affirming way. But I can only entertain new possibilities if I am willing to be open and curious to what is before me and who it is that I actually am. As I see it, this kind of willingness offers me a chance to see what we “affectionately” call the pandemic as a harbinger of good will, change and possibility.

What the Bleep?

Stay with me. For if we could see the virus as a messenger and catalyst of change and adaptation, we would not only line up with biological truth, we would come together with a Greater Reality helping us to understand that everything that is here is here for a reason. Here for us, actually. Not against us, as many of us would believe.

Because this can be so very different from how many of us think about this, and because we are in a time when the rallying cry is “the science says,” let’s go there. Let’s look at the science. Actually, let’s go even further by looking at a cutting-edge understanding around viruses and their essential place in our world.

According to Dr. Zach Bush, a triple-board certified (this is rare) physician and educator who speaks on the microbiome, he would say that we need the virus. He would say that the life-giving ecosystem of viruses, bacteria and fungi that inhabit everything in our world, including us, are essential for health.

Dr. Bush would say that there are ten to the thirty one viruses inhabiting our world. Can you even begin to imagine what that number is? That is a 10 with 31 zeroes after it. To give you a sense of the magnitude of what we are talking about, there are 10 million times more viruses than stars in the universe! This is perhaps somehow unimaginable to the human mind that we could be surrounded by, covered by, and inhabited by something that vast, and that invisible to us. Yet it is true nonetheless. More to the point, it is worth our time to catch up to understanding what is noteworthy and beneficial about viruses.

For instance, Dr. Bush would say that if the viruses really wanted us gone, we would be. That’s how many there are, and that’s how virulent some can be. Far more than we could ever combat. Which begs the question, if there are that many, and if they could wipe us out, why bother trying to fight a select few when the reality is that there are no “bad” microbes when we are in balance.Therefore, why not find a way to live in balance with all of them?

Biologically speaking, we are part of, inseparable from, a microbial stew. Always. And in all ways. From this viewpoint, it would be counterproductive to focus on eradication of, and far more prudent to focus on how we can be in harmony with. But that’s not been our way. Historically, we would rather wipe something out rather than learn how to co-exist with.

That needs to change.

Here’s something else to consider. According to the new science, viruses are here to help update our genetics. In other words, we need them to continue to adapt in a healthy way to our environment. Now, this might be brand new to you, so don’t take my word for it. Go check out a progressive source around viruses, the microbiome and how it all comes together in the health of an individual and a planet. For if what I have just passed on to you is in fact biological truth, we’ve got a lot of catching up to do in our attitude, beliefs and fear-based “reasoning” regarding our current approaches.

Looked at in this way, we are called to come to grips with the stories and the behaviors that we have embraced and that leave us living out of balance and apart from our true inheritance. All of the ways that our separating ideas are in error biologically and spiritually. All of the ways that we go after and attempt to eradicate the offending entity as opposed to finding the balance, has got to stop. And we have got to open our eyes on a very common sense level, that something is not working here, and has not for a very long time.

Will we be willing to recognize that and chart a new course? Will we be willing to wonder what is possible here if we open to everything that is available to us as opposed to only one source of information around what to do?

We have got a big, collective chance here my friends. What are you going to do about it? Will it be business as usual? Will things have to get completely desperate before you entertain another perspective?

Or are you ready for Something else?