The sun returned yesterday, following several days of heavy rain. Small towns nearby received their second 100 year flood in the past three years. There were feet of snow in some of the mountains, and the temperature struggled mightily to get out of the mid-forties even here in the valley. Looking ahead, we anticipate very warm temperatures by week’s end, with additional heavy rain likely.
Earth maintains her cycles, adapting weather and climate to the patterned flux of energy in her life system. Even the greatest disruptions to planetary homeostasis appear to come in somewhat rhythmic cycles. Climate norms, species, and cultures all come and go, all change. They arise and fall in great pulses.
We, too, arise, last a while, then pass. We do so in the blink of Pachamama’s eye. Yet our lives are significant; we profoundly touch and impact others, and we are remembered for how we move through the world in relationship to others. The road, to paraphrase Frost and Tolkien, stretches before us. Even after we die we may walk on, joining innumerable others in a stroll along the Milky Way, on our way Home.
The Old ones say we have two homes, this one here, on Pachamama, and another which is very much like this one. Yet this Earthly world, in all its heart-wrenching beauty, is said to be a pale reflection of The Other. I like to think we live in a third world, too, a place in the heart that is, perhaps, the meeting place of the two. It is in the heart that we know truly who we are and what matters in this life. Yet, all too often, our hearts remain distant, foreign, inaccessible places.
Hearts close for many reasons: disappointment, anger, fear, and trauma, to name a few. When harm occurs in our younger years, reconnecting with heart may become a lifelong quest, for life without Heart feels hollow indeed. Even those who are blessed with loving childhoods may become lost at times during life. Ceremony and ritual aid the journey back to heart, meditation quietens the mind so we may hear the heart’s hushed singing, tunes calling us home. The arts encourage us to notice traces of our heart songs in the world: in people and Nature. Psychotherapy can, at its best, provide a companionable space in which to draw close to Self and approach heart.
I believe, as did my teachers, we are each and all invited to be healers, and the best healers know that healing may come, even when a cure is not possible. Healing is a return to balance, and to the way of the heart. It embeds us in meaning and love, reminding us that we belong here in the great fabric of the living world. It draws us to the heart knowledge that while our journey here is brief, it is of incalculable value.
Pachamama’s pulse is echoed in our beating hearts; her breath lives in us, and in all beings in whom energy pulses and cycles. Pachamama is complex beyond our comprehension, yet she holds and honors every being. Suffering arises when we turn away from our hearts, and, thus, from the Earth and the Creator. In Western culture there is both a romantic worshiping of the objects of the heart, and a belief that the mind is closer to God. Yet might we be happier if we acknowledged our hearts to be aspects of Pachamama and the Creator, working with, and leading mind?
Climate change is upon us, the product of our collectively broken, hardened hearts. Yet, the door to each heart is always open, inviting us home. Many prophesies remind us that in these times of peril we may work together to heal our hearts and the planet.