I have had a very difficult time doing this practice this week. I loved the zoom introduction and speakers last week and followed all of the questions and responses online even though I haven’t participated online. I went into our peach orchard last Saturday and did a little ceremony for the trees. Many of them are infected with Cytospora which is a fungus that eats the bark and and requires removal of limbs and eventually kills the tree. The trees look so sad and I always feel so badly for them when they are infected that way. But when I tried to make a RadJoy bird, picking up sticks and items off the ground bothered a nest of ants that decided to bite my feet. I usually have a group of friends with me to do a RadJoy ceremony and between the sadness of the infected trees, ants biting me and missing my friends, I didn’t get the uplift that I usually do.
Then I was following all of protests for George Floyd and so many negative feelings came up on how we treat each other and the inequality and brutality and I started down a spiral of blame and shame for my white heritage and became a hermit for most of the rest of the week. As I pondered all of this I remembered what David Powless said during the opening. He talked about how we each have a path or destiny assigned to us at birth. It isn’t good or bad, it just is, BUT, it is what we decide to do with that path that will make the difference in our lives. And I realized that my chosen path was to be born a white woman in the United States of America at this particular time and while I have inherited the unfair treatment of others that many of my ancestors have participated in, it is up to me to decide to do something different. So, I have been doing a lot of forgiveness work and am figuring out what else my path needs to include to make this a better world.
That insight has been extremely helpful! When I was working in the yard yesterday I needed to use a hose that had been sitting on the sidewalk over the winter. When I moved the hose I found a most interesting sight. Dead flowers from last fall had accumulated in the center and there were lines of circles where the hose had been. And it seemed to be the perfect image of what I was feeling about the world and my being a part of it.
The flowers were sitting on the hard concrete but still had beauty and color and reminded me that we often have to look deeper and within to see the beauty. The circles looked like they had spun out of control which is what the world feels like right now with the Coronavirus, racial injustice and continued division in the world. But, it still made a beautiful image that looked like HOPE to me. And that is what all of this is about, right? So here are my two pictures: one of the cytospora on the tree with my yellow flower offering and one of the flowers on the sidewalk. And it turns out this difficult week has been a very good week after all.