Mother Earth is slapping us upside the head right now y'all--LISTEN UP!
A few years ago I faced a life-threatening illness that taught me how to read all these "signs."
I had spent far too many years working a job that had sapped my spirit and made me brittle and bitter and bereft of inner light. Prestigious position. Quite the achievement. Everyone thought so.
And though I had to force myself out of the car everyday when I arrived at work, and sobbed all the way home some evenings...I was living on the hope that my sacrifice would prevent my daughter from ever having to do the same.
Yep. That's what I told myself.
But at some point, it became a kind of abuse. It wasn't about my daughter, it was about something else--something to do with me, myself. Some debilitating imbalance I hadn't acknowledged. Didn't consciously even know about.
But I made it altruistic. Convinced myself it was for a good cause.
And I almost got away with it. In fact, I'd retired before my soul rose up and sent me to what could've been my death bed. Where I lay for over nine months, battling Stephens Johnson Syndrome, an allergic reaction to meds that burns your body from the internal organs out.
Some people have to be cared for in burn units, in fact--I am one of the Mayo Clinic's "miracle stories," though. Minimal scarring, torso, thighs. In fact, my skin, after sloughing off over and over and over again in thin, crackly layers, is now baby's bottom smooth.
Blessed? Oh, yes. And forever mindful and grateful.
But I always knew what was really happening to me. Yes, I remember being frightened initially, when the first doctor told me, point blank, that SJS was "usually fatal."
But I also remember there was another voice, a quieter voice, that told me this was God hitting a "reset" button for me. Since I hadn't had the strength to do it myself.
I was being literally fire baptized. That searing from the inside out--what a potent metaphor!
I listened, the whole time, for that calm, soothing voice. Did what it told me to do. Stopped doing things it told me to leave behind. Let go of things that might hurt me or lead me down the wrong path again. Clung to things that just felt good.
Created my own salves and "potions." Ate "clean," simple food--drank only water for a long time. Ice water was a treat to me. Plain ice water--nothing added, except perhaps a slice of lemon.
Even my clothing had to be whisper soft, light — a scratchy wash cloth could send waves of pain and an unbearable itch through my body for hours.
I was forced to strip everything down to the "essentials." To be grateful for the smallest of victories.
A good night's sleep was cause for celebration. A few moments without the itching and pain and fever, when the "fog" lifted enough for me to smile and enjoy the company of a loved one...OH, the joy.
And the love. Who knew?
People I hadn't heard from since elementary school reached out through Facebook and Twitter and other friends who were still in touch, as word of my illness spread.
My old Sun Times pal from a whole other long ago life, Roger Ebert--deathly ill himself, by then--became a constant email companion. James Young, Styx guitarist and long time "brother from another mother" offered medical assistance.
My Hopi family prayed as only they can. One of the most remarkable healings came from a sweat lodge ceremony my Hopi ex requested and suffered through for my sake.
All waves of love...putting out that fire. Quenching my soul's thirst. Bringing me back from a dying that had begun long before SJS took hold.
So...you've connected the dots already, right? From all this to that title up top?
Sure you have. I'm saying that what's happening to the whole world right now, from The Rona to murder hornets and Saharan sand landing in the Deep South...that's Mother Earth trying to talk to us all the way Spirit talked to me through my illness.
We're being "timed out." In the hope that we'll listen better. Change profoundly, not in little piecemeal ways. She wants to find out if we're serious. If we can still hear Her at all.
Because make no mistake, She will send us something we can't "quarantine" from, if we're not careful. May be doing it already, but I'm hoping we've still got some time left.
We crowded our way up against a few of the creatures out there we haven't wiped out yet, and they "shared" a little bitty virus that is mightier than our man-made weapons. Stopped us in our tracks. Literally. The whole world.
This is our fire baptism. And every time we refuse to take it seriously...it roars right back. Rises back up.
What changes do you need to make in your life right now? Start there. What is that calm, loving voice telling you now that you have time to listen to it? Do what it says.
Maybe She hasn't given up on us entirely.
Let's try to meet her at least halfway. One beloved Earth Child at a time...