A few nights ago, a strong breeze blew through. It was pushing out a cool, soggy day and ushering in a warm, sunny evening. As I stood in the orchard watching the leaves wave and the branches bend, I couldn’t help myself from wondering what else it might be ushering in or out. It felt capable of the strong magic that could blow in Mary Poppins or transform the Kansas of our present times to the OZ of the near future. As I felt the wind on my face and in my hair, I daydreamed and wondered.
Is this the sudden shift of energy that will usher in harmony and balance?
Could the Earth help blow away the ills of our society and blow in its health?
Was there someone nearby experiencing a significant shift of perception or life circumstance?
Standing in that wind, I was reminded of the breeze that blew the day before my youngest son was born. There was no doubt in my mind that that wind was ushering in new life. The convergence of energy and air outside had something to do with the life-force that was in my body preparing to make an entrance into the world. As contractions were slowly growing, I walked aimlessly through the neighborhood. The cool air on my cheeks and swirling dandelion seeds were reassuring mirrors to the powerful energy that was building in me. The intensity of the wind and the alternating dark clouds and bright blue sky held both dark and light, ferocity and safety. As I observed the interplay of these external forces, I was acutely aware that they were also at play inside my body. Moreover, they had a life of their own.
As I walked, I remembered the words of comfort and encouragement that my friend, Su, had spoken to me when I was in early labor with my first child. I had called her in a panic, certain that I could not go through with this birth process. The intense emotions and intense contractions were too scary, too painful. “I can’t do it,” I told her. She listened patiently and then assured me that not only could I do it, but also “the only way out is to go through to the other side.” She was right, of course. I could do this: I was born for this. Emerging on the other side, I joined a long, proud lineage of startled first time mothers when my son entered the world.
Two years later, remembering her wise words and reveling in the wind energy around me, my sense of individual autonomy disappeared and was replaced by the sense of being held by this collective lineage. I surrendered myself to the labor and power of the birthing process, trusting in the ancient, inherited wisdom carried in my female body. In the face of this powerful, shifting life-force energy, acceptance and openness were my only possible responses. The next morning, as the wind subsided and the sun began to rise, my son was born, carrying the strength of that wind that blew him in. We welcomed him with love.
The wind blew strong yesterday as the city of Portland, Maine prepared to meet the needs of hundreds of asylum seekers being transferred here from the Texas border. Most of them have been traveling towards safety for many months. The new arrivals have overwhelmed the city’s established shelter system in the last few days so the city has established an emergency shelter in the expo center. They are preparing to offer safe temporary housing and food for up to 350 individuals in the next week. As a whole, the community has responded quickly and generously to welcome the new arrivals. When I first read reports, it made me proud to be a Mainer. Reading on, it surprised me to read disparaging comments about the generosity. Panicky voices of fear responded to requests for assistance — “I can’t”, “I won’t”, and “it’s not my responsibility”. People are grasping to the illusion of their control and separation even as cooperative action unfolds around them. I wish I could offer them the same assurance, comfort, and confidence that Su offered me many years ago. The only way out of this is to go through to the other side. That means that it isn’t possible to opt out. There is new life being born, not just for the asylum seekers but for all of us. Humans are social creatures. We are meant to step in close with one another. In fact, we were born for this.
In Sacred Instructions, Sherri Mitchell has described these evolutionary times as “the long, dark birth canal, and the Great Mother is in the throes of her laboring pain”.(p. 26) The analogy describes perfectly the squeeze, fear, and promise of these times. There is a strong wind of change blowing. We respond by alternating between contraction and expansion, generating ever greater energy. When we give ourselves to the possibility and promise inherent in this process, joining the light and energy within us to the shifting energy around us, we contribute to the emergence. On the other side of the long, dark birth canal is a new life, full of love, possibility and an energy of its own. On the other side of the dark, blustery night is a sunny, nurturing day. Shadow and light will always interplay, but we can choose to give our energy to the light. When we do, we may just find that the Mary Poppins magic has been here all along in the strong breezes, gentle wind, and still skies. It is here in our hearts.
May we greet each other with openness and acceptance.
May we welcome new life with love.
May the strong winds around us and within us usher in new life and possibility.
May we remember that we were born for this.