On the afternoon of our first day of homelessness after the landslide, we returned to the house and discovered that the earth had broken in through the kitchen window and was oozing into the room. The house was flimsily built and the entire kitchen/livingroom wall was buckled. It was eerie being there and as quickly as possible we gathered up some food and clothes and left again. This was the time when normally I would have been cosily listening to a teaching session with my spiritual community and teacher, Craig Hamilton. I later discovered that he was speaking about being a container for the complexity of human experience. Instead I was trudging up the muddy road in the rain with a heavy bag of food slung across my shoulder and I had a glimmering of insight into what it could mean to be a refugee. I was in that moment truly homeless and in the unknown; in the hands of the universe.
I felt all of this and yet I also knew that as a white westerner I am one of the most privileged people in the world and I knew I would be taken care of. I thought of all those millions of people all over the world who are made homeless by natural disaster, or war, or other forms of social injustice, and who are forced to leave with only what they can carry, with no certainty of finding food and shelter.
I am sure this flood was caused by global warming, by our human inability to live in harmony with nature, and these disasters are happening in all countries. Our disaster was too small to make international news and, compared to the floods in Queensland or Pakistan or parts of Europe, or the tsunami in Japan it was a relatively gentle wake up call. I became aware how much we are all suffering from compassion fatigue and unable to respond to disaster. Over the days as I met people on the street I told them that our home had been destroyed and most people looked blankly back at me and quickly changed the subject. I began to better understand the massive denial we mostly live with in response to our global environmental and humanitarian crisis, and the fragile illusion of solidity that is our “civilization”. I also came to see how essentially the whole shebang is only held together by human and universal love, a force much bigger and more magnificence than little “me” .
For 3 weeks we had no internet access and very little phone access and yet we managed to reach out and find the help we needed. The community of Golden Bay and the universe came through for us big time. Whilst we carried boxes, sorted stuff and sat in the uncertainty of where to from here, we were showered with abundance. It was nearly Christmas and summertime when accommodation is at a premium in Golden Bay, and yet we were never without a place to stay, and it all fell into place effortlessly. We were treated to eight days in a fabulous cliff top luxury holiday home , completely free, and from there to another beauty spot, and yet another. This gave us a sense of expansive possibility and deep gratitude which kept us buoyed through what was also a demanding process. Whenever we thought we had reached a place where we could rest another challenge arose. For Maggie, one such challenge was securing all her art work, and for me, it was discovering that my computer had been attacked by viruses and needed to be completely deconstructed and reconstructed.
Have you ever experienced this too, that a time of crisis can present the most wonderful and unexpected riches in the form of new insights, overwhelming feelings of love and gratitude, or simply recognizing the generosity of the human spirit? Can you relate to this idea of being a container for the complexity of human experience? There is a challenge in seeing both the horror and the beauty of experience all at once; holding our fear and our courage and hope, and taking the next step into the unknown.
There can’t be many people alive on the planet just now who aren’t touched by crisis is some way, whether that’s a personal healing crisis, financial crisis, relationship crisis, or being hit by a “natural” disaster as a result of climate change. My own experience has revealed so much that has deepened my understanding of healing, creativity, the soul journey and our collective evolution. I am looking forward to sharing much more with you and growing with you through 2012.
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