There is a certain peculiar tenderness to this day. It is Summer Solstice, 2021.
It seems every little thing brings a half-teary smile. A lovely message from a forum member. The tiny rabbit that was making its way along the gravel path when I looked out the front window. Even the fog makes me smile.
Something is shifting, shifting. We keep hearing about the profound transformation that humanity is undergoing, but looking at the outside world, I find it difficult to locate widely publicized examples of this.
Perhaps it is all an inside job, as so many say. Perhaps we all are experiencing a peculiar tenderness that we can hardly define or express. The shift is internal and ongoing.
At the dentist’s office last week, they’re still following the old rigmarole, per California state mandate. The state has “opened up” but has excluded many settings, like medical services, where the purportedly logical decision was made to continue many restrictions until who knows when.
Everyone, vaxxed or unvaxxed, still wears masks. They must take your temperature before you can be treated, ask if you’ve had the vaccine…
Walking through the lush office courtyard in downtown Santa Barbara, with its fountain and Saltillo tile paths, I had a stern chat with myself. Do not make a fuss. Do not start talking about poison vaccines. Do not rail against the absurd and unnecessary infringements and restrictions.
Unless, of course, I’m supposed to. I metaphorically threw up my hands and left it to Spirit.
They did ask if I’d had the vaccine. “Nope. And I’m not going to.” She nodded and made a note in my chart, commenting, “That’s fine, we just have to ask.”
Then the receptionist, who’s been there for donkeys’ ages, came around with the thermometer gun and started to aim it at my head.
Someone said, “You don’t need to take my temperature. I don’t have a fever, I don’t have a disease, I’m not sick.”
Whoa! Did that come out of my mouth? Since there wasn’t anyone else in the waiting room, apparently so.
After a completely calm and chatty back-and-forth, she didn’t take my temperature and probably made a note in my chart that the troublemaker wouldn’t allow her to do so.
I didn’t have any stomach-clutching nervousness during this interchange. No static, no baseline of conflict. Just compassionate and focused listening and speaking. Your views, my views, all feel absolutely valid and worthwhile.
Where did that come from? I felt as if a door of my heart had been not only opened but whirled away, dissolved, scattered into stardust and absorbed by eternity.
This is something I can live with. A gentleness and an openness that felt both odd and familiar.
I confess, I usually have a feeling I can only describe as somewhere just shy of militant when I must I gird myself to face the outside world, a world which mostly seems ranged against everything that I believe in: freedom of choice, freedom of speech, freedom of… well, just, freedom.
To spend a couple hours with ordinary people in my community, and not feel militant, and in fact feel more at ease than I’ve felt during this entire Covid farce, is miraculous.
Perhaps this is the new opening-up of California, the much-ballyhooed celebration of “getting back to normal” touted by the powers that be after they spent more than fifteen months hijacking so much freedom it felt like another country altogether.
The true opening-up of California, and other states, and other countries, isn’t about the relaxation of restrictions, and letting long-closed venues reopen, and “allowing” the populace to gather how, when, and where they please (for the most part…if you’re vaccinated…).
The opening-up, I believe, begins inside, as we have so often been told. The openness of the heart. The willingness to accept other people exactly as they are, allow them to be exactly who they are without fearing them or trying to change them. And extending that philosophy to our relationship with Self, which can be the hardest challenge of all.
I have faith that we’re up to it, every single one of us. Let the celebrations begin.