I received a message from Spirit the other day in a shamanic journey:
“Love is doing whatever’s necessary in the moment to nudge someone into their own light.”
I tried to edit this and have the sentence read, “Love is whatever’s necessary…” but it lost its guts the minute I took out the word “doing.” Love is doing. That means love is a choice, a considered choice, from an array of possibilities. It may also be a not-doing.
Whatever is necessary in the moment. If it’s necessary, it may not be that feel-good caress. It may be something more pointed, more difficult, but more powerful.
We may see what’s necessary and feel or know we can’t deliver it. So we pull back to what we can do, and we allow that to be enough, because we keep our focus in the moment.
The moment may not solve the whole problem, but it certainly is a small enough container for us to manage to ask a question, receive a direction, a hunch, a knowing or an impulse, and then choose an action.
That action may be a prayer, a sincere smile, a gesture of connection, something humanizing. It may be writing a check, buying a coffee, making a joke, giving something away. It may be accepting a gift and saying thank you. It may be picking up the phone, writing a letter, getting back to work, taking a walk for fresh air and movement, committing to something, joining something, or doing the dishes. It may letting something blow by, go over and around and ignoring it until it’s passed.
The loving action may be to redirect our focus onto ourselves and allow something else to take care of itself.
What about getting caught, tangled and beaten down in the world of doing as happens to my partner and me every Spring and happens to all of mortals, down here on Earth?
We own and operate ancestral seasonal camps on a lake in Maine. Inevitably, there’s a large project that’s tackled at the start of the season that spirals out of control, creating a down-to-the-wire scenario involving the camp that’s going to be occupied in two days. The camp is in a shambles and my partner is at the end of a 4-week run of 12-, 14-, and 16-hour work days. She’s stumbling around the kitchen at 7 a.m. helplessly scooping coffee into a coffee maker, and I’m babying a backache and making a list that includes the minutest things, because I can’t seem to hold anything in my head.
As we triage, we jettison tasks that aren’t absolute, A-1 essentials. Still the list grows, and the run into town (always in the opposite direction of Camp) is solidified into one long list that gets added to as my partner texts me new items while I try to plan the route efficiently.
But always, I am just fighting my way out of the Home Depot parking lot, where I have just finished a several-mile marathon just to find my items (at least one of which is something I’ve never heard of, don’t know what it looks like and can’t therefore tell if the clerk has suggested the right thing, which has necessitated a series of texted photos and cryptic answers back and forth, while standing under one of the many speakers, all of which are blaring at top volume music, which, while not my first choice, feels all the more horrible because I know I’ll have the Margaritaville earworm for the rest of the day and possibly into Memorial Day weekend) and check out, when a text comes in from my thorough and methodical partner. In the form of a question, the substance of the message means a) I have to go back and walk another few miles in Margaritaville, or worse, the Hotel California, b) my timing is screwed up, and c) I’ve prioritized everything just a little wrong because I’d forgotten some obvious and key thing.
And thank the Goddess she thought of it for the renters, because that would have been embarrassing, but – I’m not in a loving place. So what’s necessary to nudge me/my partner into my own/her own light?
Best answer so far: We’re already in our light. We’re just tired and mired. Physicality is hard.
Which leads to the best second answer: Don’t say or do anything to screw it up. In days past I might have thrown a shit fit, had a beer, or a shot, or a shot and a beer, combed my car for a roach, or scored some dope and while I was there slept with somebody, who all of a sudden was the most relevant and compelling object in the Universe (which had just shrunk to the tiny orbit of me and my hormones.)
I don’t do that. I also don’t “reward” myself with a candy bar, a muffin, a coffee drink, or any other junk food that costs money. Instead, I turn around, I park the car, and I put the seat back, and I breathe. Eventually a few tears might fall. Or maybe a lot of tears. I text my sponsor and say something like, “Thinking of you,” and she responds and says “How are you?” and I give an honest answer: “Completely overwhelmed but still clean.” Boom. In my light.
Meanwhile, my partner is having a redemptive experience. I can feel it from here. I’ve given her space, I’ve handled my own shit without involving her, she’s got someone in town working on those time-consuming and hard-to-navigate errands, and in the clearness of her mental space (where she excels), she’s figuring out a better way, or is just industriously completing things.
In the space that’s created in me by taking care of my own emotions and owning my experience, I see her process and appreciate it anew: She’s the caretaker of a hundred-plus-year-old heirloom, and it’s important to her to get it right. Slapdash won’t cut it. Improvements take time. At least 50% of carpentry is mental. When the project’s complete, the camp has to look the same, but be better structurally.
Hence, the Spring she taught herself how to rewire a camp and then did so, from photos she took just after the tree fell on it and before it was rebuilt and the old wiring taken down. Hence, building from scratch 4-foot by 4-foot screen windows to replace the ones on the porch of the oldest camp, and losing sleep over how to preserve the look while improving the screen windows’ design so that the same rotting that made the project necessary won’t happen for another hundred years. Clearly, she’s in her light.
And when I arrive back to the work site with LED bulbs that fit our clip-on lamp shades, and lake-friendly cleaning products and fabric tape and paint and hinges and a million other what-not items and haven’t flipped out or gotten loaded, a little bit of tension unwinds itself from her shoulders that was unconsciously anticipating, based on partners past who were hellbent on self-destruction, my flipping out and in effect asking her to do one more impossible thing: fix me.
And I, too, am redeemed, because my choices kept me present. The present that remembers the past and chooses something different. The present which is, in the end, where the most light can be found.
I always come back to this: I am blessed to have gotten to such a clear place and to actually be able to choose my own actions. And now that I have, I realize that while I try to understand and do the actions that are loving at work and at home, Something Else has been lovingly, persistently nudging me into my own light.