Lately, I’ve been waking up with the fire of Kali-ma in my belly. Hell-bent on rage and destruction. Rattling her necklace of skulls. Howling across the face of the earth. The sacred feminine response to being rent to pieces in the wake of unfathomable choices. Choices that obfuscate love. Choices that value division and disconnection and suffering. I will not repent my anger. Not apologize for the way I want to tear the world in two right now. This too, is part of the healing. A step I cannot skip. I cannot afford to spiritually bypass my way to love or peace. To think that the fear, anger, pain, grief is not healing. Because they are, and I would deny their medicine no more. There is love in the aching, too. The truth is, there is love in everything. It’s what we DO with our feelings that matters most!
Love is not solely found in the kindness. In the open hearts. In the smiles. Love lives at the root of all things. There is as much love in the hot blade that cuts out the detritus as there is love in the warm heart offering a hug. This is what is so oft forgotten. Human as we are, we can end up favoring one set of feelings over another. Prefer gentility. Deem compassion the better emotion. And yet, in doing so, we deny parts of ourselves. We set up camps and force our inner world into opposition. Splintering who we are from who we think we should be.
A spiritual teacher was asked, “If the Divine is love, how is it that evil exists in the world?”
He responded, “Why should there not be evil in the world?”
He was pointing to a lopsided concept – a faulty premise that surmises we should be one thing and not the other. That we should only be light-bearers, but tell me:
If there is no darkness, why is there a need to be bringers of the light?
We are not half of the thing, but the whole. Bear both illumination and shadows in our bodies. When we deny the truth of this, all hell breaks loose. Because all things attempt to find balance over the course of time. And in the world we’ve co-constructed, that means things reside in duality. It is how we know ourselves, for the time being. Strength relative to our ability to withstand heartbreaking vulnerability. Grief in stark contrast to states of joy. We were never meant to live at only one end of the spectrum. In choosing to be embodied, we chose to feel it all, Beloveds. Pleasure. Pain. Every notch on the spectrum in between.
I can feel that so profoundly now. In the wake of the election, inauguration, haphazard thoughtless signing of executive orders hellbent on divisiveness. Sense the ways in which I want to step away from my feelings. The anger, rage, heartbreak, confusion. Wave after wave of relentless, Godforsaken, constant shock and disappointment and disgust. I tell you, I do not want to feel these things. And yet, if I do not, I feed the beast. My refusal to look in the sacred mirror offered up by this administration – to see the shadows in myself. Grapple with the ways I want to divide. Against my own feelings. Against people who think differently from me. If I do not allow these things to rise, well, I am no better than the man who currently occupies the White House. No better than those who surround him and croon songs of segregation and separation into his malleable ears.
So yes, at the moment, the world feels out of balance. Tipping haphazardly on her axis. And I would argue that we, as a populace, as the bodies that form this imperfect union are teetering at the edge of what it means to be human and how we should live into the spaces and differences between us. So, we howl and struggle and beat our chests. And that is good and reasonable in response to what stands before usâ€¦a shadow of such immensity it steals breath form our bodies. A shadow suppressed overlong. Now, it comes in undeniable form. Raw. Red-handed. Impossible to ignore. What lay hidden from some is now apparent to most. This is what comes of refusing to look at the darkness in ourselves, in our history, in the collective consciousness of a nation. No more can we afford to tuck our shadows into dark corners.
Van Jones has been forming a love army and I adore him for it. Because love is what we need. Yet, if we would choose love, then I assert we must love our dark hearts, too. Love the envy, greed, fury. Love all that we believe to be unlovable in ourselves. So we can begin to love what we perceive to be unlovable in others. We cannot afford to be divided inside. We cannot afford to be divided between ourselves. The stakes are far too high now. Herein lies the heart of what I believe we are called to do – to not hide behind the skirts of an idealized form of love; a pretty, sterile, clean love. Because that, in fact, may not be love but something else entirely.
Love is messy. Ask any couple who’s been married for any length of time. Sometimes love looks and feels and smells like loathing. Because we are human. Love is capable of burning. Standing in the fire and letting it all slough off. Love can look at who we really are without hooded eyes. Love possesses a willingness to see and know all of it – not just the parts that are tolerable or the parts that feel good. Love accepts that whatever is found is the truth, for now. Even if that truth is unpalatable. Love understands that we do not have to act from our pain or rage because there is that within us which is large enough to be with it â€“ to sit beside what aches and screams and pitches tantrums inside. Big enough to weather the emotional storm and not become it.
Love comes wearing many guises. Not all of them are pretty. In fact, many of them are not. Because love is forever calling out to us, “Can you see me? Are you willing to know me when I am disheveled and unkempt? Can you hold my ugly as closely as you cherish my fairness?”
previously published on The Urban Howl, March 2017