Equinox

“. . . teach us to number our days, That we may cultivate and bring to You a heart of wisdom . . .”  Psalm 90:12

 

Hello, friends,

Today is equinox, and today the sun’s hours begin to outnumber the night’s hours in the Northern Hemisphere.

It’s the beginning of spring, a day of half light and of half dark.

Which is how I’m feeling today, full of light and dark.

First the light. Maine’s weather will be exquisite the next four or five days. Not too hot, not too cold. Just right. I’ll be reveling in this gift by getting some miles in.

Which leads me to another gratitude: getting my strength back.  For those of you who subscribe, know me, or have known me through social media, you’ve heard a bit of my challenges. Severe IT band issues, a fall down the stairs three years ago, an ice slip that left me with severe nerve damage two years ago (severe enough for foot drop, which has since healed) — in short, I believe I was stopped, because I needed readjusting, not by my will, but a Wiser will.

Most of my life, I’ve been at war with my body. Either eating disorders, binging and purging, over training, pushing through papers on little to no sleep, extremes of all kinds, some better than others. The raw food discipline for two years left me with great skills and insights — but my approach was still that of a warrior: fix this thing called the body. Inherently violent in my execution, if, like most things, well-intentioned in motive. Fixing “the thing” and her health.

I would add, as an aside, folks, please eat unprocessed or minimally processed  as much as possible: our so-called ‘food’ system is broken, and much like the American Taliban, it’s perverse, deadly, and based on woeful ignorance. Good takeaway from the raw food extreme, a better awareness of unprocessed food power.

But experimenting, pushing inappropriately, undertaking extremes to fix oneself physically, intellectually, spiritually, isn’t self-awareness, it’s often the false self blindly barreling through life, instead of letting herself being lived, received, and nurtured.

My COVID curriculum — what I’ve started learning this past year by staying at home, slowing down,  and reassessing  — has led me to advanced coursework in extreme self-love, understanding that my mind and body are one, as Thich Nhat Hahn teaches.

The joy of movement enlarges, the battle against one’s self for an arbitrary standard of excellence matters less.

Perhaps it’s that I’ve had enough recovery time, or perhaps my state of mind has transformed everything in new ways, but I started my Camino de Santiago challenge fearing that I’d never get back the movement I once had, but I seem to be growing beyond my fear fast.

The mind is a big old trickster, which we can use to our benefit. So rather than believe that I’d permanently trashed both knees, I just started moving slow and easy and breathing through the pain.  Stories on  The Conquerer Facebook group are shaking-up my slipping into giving-up, reminding me, again, how powerful our bodies and spirits are, and how resilient this beautiful gift I live my life in and through is. Breathtaking beauty, this body and its awareness.

So I’m grateful that I’m stronger than I have in a long time, and I’ll be taking full advantage of our weather — moving, breathing, being among the Maine trees.

Strong enough that sitting and writing this entry is difficult, because open roads wait.

The brighter the light, however, the darker the shadow.  Circling a theme we often visit here is ‘joyful participation in the suffering of the world,’ and this past week saw the American Taliban having a really bad day.

So eight people are dead, six Asian women.

As someone summarized on a Facebook post:

“Also watching the deplorable news coverage unfold , the excuses, and more than anything the intersection with evangelicalism and how the majority of white people are saying “but he attends church!” as if that is a reason he WOULDN’T commit mass killing instead of grasping it’s one of the main reasons he DID – because those churches are a sex-shame-vortex along with snakepits of racism and misogyny.“ (Source.)

The American Taliban, picking up his sacred gun when he’s having a really bad day.

According to the New York Times, here are the names of the Asian Eves, and their serpents, the temptresses that could not be controlled:

Soon Chung Park

Hyun Jung Grant

Suncha Kim

Yong Ae Yue

Delaina Ashley Yaun

Paul Andre Michels

Xiaojie Tan

Daoyou Feng.

Read it and weep.

I have no words. There is no confirmation yet on whether the American Taliban’s female victims were sex workers, but he thought so.

And here we get stereotypes of all kinds: Asians, Asian women, massage parlors, sex workers.  I suppose the sex worker tag grants the guy with an evangelically based addiction a get out of jail free card, because of temptation, so we’ll make it an Asian hate crime based on addiction. The women just magically disappear in this narrative. They always do. You probably know the name of the shooter, but not his victims. But playing the blame game isn’t that easy, because it’s not one thing, it’s all of them, and the root problem is Patriarchal religion and its erasure of women as full human beings.

(As I do my fact checking, I read that the shooter’s church has disowned him. Of course they did, because this is a cruel and terrible God, and they are saving their Evangelical backsides .)

What is important, though,  is that marginalized women who worked and ‘did what they had to do’ to support their families (this has been confirmed) were brutally murdered because . . .  Sex shaming, misogyny, racism.

There are a few books in this story, from where I sit, which is a different perch than most. Not books for this writer, though there are books, here.

But it’s easy to draw a line between the fundamentalism that sent me off to war against my body for most of my life, and the warfare the American Taliban waged against his victims this week.

The cause is the theologically bankrupt fundamentalist Patriarchal religion, and Its systemic erasure of women in deference to the male Evangelical God, the similar type of orthodox institutional animal that Jesus railed against, though it’s wearing a new coat.

Self-loathing, body shaming, desire controlling, mind numbing theology which promises heavenly ever after, but damn this life. The pro-life death cult that destroys men and women with a Bible in hand — cross reference 45’s theater of the absurd performance.

So I collect my connect the dot epiphanies, fold them up, tuck them into my pocket, hang onto the hope that each new day brings, and look forward to some good, long, loving, happy distances this week. I meditate on the sorrow, embrace fleeting joy, and hold these dear souls in my heart:

Soon Chung Park

Hyun Jung Grant

Suncha Kim

Yong Ae Yue

Delaina Ashley Yaun

Paul Andre Michels

Xiaojie Tan

Daoyou Feng.

 

All is impermanent, to be is to be grateful, and to be grateful beyond measure is to Be one with the life that carries you, however long or short that span,

Today’s picture was sent to me by a new subscriber, a new friend, and a devoted practitioner.

With deep gratitude for you, my dear circle, and the grace you give by Being.

Until next time, I’m counting the number of equinoxes that I may or may not have left, and holding that fragile number lightly, as I count the days before  me.

Peace, love, happiness. — JH

 

 

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