back from the US of- A(nger, anxiety, anarchy...)
As I write this, I’ve been back in New Zealand for eight days. Eight wet, mushy, muddy, floody, blowy, Winterless North, winter days. Ends up I’ve missed most of a very wet winter and I’m back in time to see the magnolias blooming outside our bedroom and other blossoms coming to the fore.
The southern hemisphere days have been lengthening for over a month, but the early nightfall—compared to the summer in the states—has cradled my jet-lag gently for early restorative bedtimes.
Ever open to the messages in the world around me, I wanted to share these two photos surrounding my arrival home.
The first, on the 15th and final flight taken in 93 days, shows the rainbow that followed our flight from Auckland to Whangarei.
This photo shows it spreading across the sky above our homestead. The pot of gold on the left side of the scene would show our home.
My “team” on the other side (reminder: I worship at the feet of the great mystery) had been my co-pilots on this journey, keeping me safe and sane, and this convinced me they were gently escorting me on my final leg home. It certainly felt like a visceral reminder that there’s no place like home.
The best word that comes up for me and the space that I’m currently in is defragmentation/defrag mode. Like the computers that get muddled up with too much everything and have to have a program run to put all the files back in their appropriate place. That speaks to what is happening with my heart and my brain. This may be a lengthy mission.
Dropping into people’s lives and being around for longer durations meant this wasn’t a trip of only gleeful moments. Life continued happening for everyone around me. The beautiful and the horrible.
People very close to me received serious health diagnosis.
I was at the bedside of a dear friend the day before she died. We visited, we laughed, she asked about our family by name. She told me a joke. She gifted me an angel from her collection which I will treasure forever. It was obvious to me she could have hours or possibly days to live; as we know there’s no way to predict these things. She was totally lucid, yet her breath and life-energy was waning. Receiving an early morning text from her daughter the next day, “she’s gone” highlighted the miracle it had been to spend that precious time with her to honor our relationship and the shenanigans we’d shared. The beautiful-horrible indeed, and a concise example of what we in the death zone frequently hear: people die as they lived. This hilarious friend was spreading levity to the very end of her days. What a gorgeous home-going into the arms of her beloved …
My dear friends who loaned me a vehicle for large portions of the trip experienced two intimate deaths while I was with them.
One aspect not considered was my mannerisms/appearance triggering grief reactions in some family members. It brought up a regret in me that I was causing others distress, but also a sense of peace that I carry that much of them with me.
My grief was also brought to the fore many times, being where my loved ones and death had been. That unpredictability that reminds you that as long as you love them, a place or smell or season or memory may unexpectedly emotionally sucker-punch you.
The difference in people’s energy since the last time I had been in the states was palpable. My bff/niece would frequently chirp (blaming) “COVID!” when we’d witness or hear of the dismantling of organizations or lives or relationships.
People on the street may have been dressed in their go-to-work-finest but their faces were frequently stressed and worn and appeared weathered with worry as they moved in slow motion. As my son’s roommate voiced during my last days in LA, “There’s soooo much grief in this world. Life has changed and people are carrying so much and this isn’t going away.”
Others seemed to be roaming in their community in their night clothes as if a zombie movie was coming to fruition. It took a month to acclimate to this new vibe— to not feel shocked by it or notice its difference.
There were some of my people that had refused to watch The Handmaid’s Tale, one of their go-to genres, because it now seemed too real. “I get it,” I’d respond. Too possible.
There were people acting out in harmful, stress triggered ways for a variety of reasons (niece: COVID!)
There were mass shootings, the Roe v Wade debacle, air transport clusters (how in the world did I have 15 flights without one hiccup??), talk of Putin’s revenge on the US, knowing the person who is shooting you the dirty look on the road may be concealing and carrying. An overall heightened sense of unease.
A few times my breath would catch with a jolt and the query will I make it home would overtake me. The children I was visiting in the US were full-on adults. I had a recovering husband and 18 year old venturing into independence who needed me back in New Zealand. There was zero romanticism lying within the possibility of being stuck in the US.
I had a mind-body that needed the imperfectly just-right physical and emotional space we’d nurtured for the past 11 years in New Zealand to stay healthy and centered. That became so very clear to me.
Yet there was magic. So much magic.
(Imagine the glee of my friend and I when we unknowingly took a shortcut into an “art alley” and saw this beauty created by the artist who painted my book covers— Felicia Olin)
Connection with people who wanted to be with me as much as I wanted to be with them. Exploring and finding magic around corners and within our relationships. Adventures.
Reconnection with some of the younger family members who were now young adults and deeply desired to be with me as we re-kindled our relationships.
Landing in spaces of nature, hiking, breathing it all in and communing with sweet and centring animal friends.
The repetitive and longer time at certain places made this less a visit and more of a journey and it was blissful being with those who wanted the time for deepening our relationship.
Meeting those two babes, who we’d missed most of the first two years of their lives (COVID!), and observing the loving parenting that guided them was magic and pure love.
There was the heightened cannabis culture because of all the legalization in the states. Some concern lingered that the NZ customs dogs may want to tear up my luggage on reentry because of remnants of wisps of fragrance; it was so ever-present.
Friends had an organic CBD farming operation which was fascinating and there were options derived from the plant everywhere with most folks I interfaced using cannabis in one form or the other. (COVID???) This topic deserves its own space to expound on and that legalization may be partially responsible for me arriving home as healthy as I did.
Years ago when I explored cannabis for use in cancer treatment, I was told by a dispensing physician that cancer and Crohn’s Disease (which I have) were the only two diagnosis that were an automatic green light for medical use. All other issues had to be reviewed carefully with the “patient.” Keeping that in mind, I micro-dosed what I hoped was enough to mitigate inflammation in my body. The upheaval of three months of travel was certainly enough to cause my system some dysregulation and inflammation. And here I am, physically feeling no worse for the wear.
I’m thrilled to be back at our home on the hilltop that rests under the arc of the Milky Way. Today, I’m especially grateful for the sunlight that has broken through the past couple of days and reconnection with my loves and friends.
It’s so very clear that it’s a new world out there. My hope is that you are finding your way within it ever so gently. One day at a time. One breath at a time.
Grounding: One noticeably effective grounding activity after my return was soaking in a steaming epsom salt/lavender bath and listening to this meditation. I absorbed it in its entirety but if you like, you can focus on just one section. Coming from my background as a mental health/wellness practitioner trained in hypnotherapy (amongst many other modalities)— this one is legit. Healing the Wounded Soul on Spotify:
Our latest podcast episode can be found on Spotify, Apple, iHeart Radio, and everywhere you listen to your podcasts:
Kate Burns, my co-host has continued to provide us with enriching conversations while keeping the podcast afloat this year.
In this episode, David shares his experience of his connection with his sister who died of brain cancer and the ensuing transformation. David is an author, public speaker, and endurance athlete whose mission is to form more meaningful human connections through storytelling. His first book, Winning in the Middle of the Pack, discussed how to get more out of ourselves than ever imagined. With Cycle of Lives, David shares stories of people overcoming trauma and delves deeply into their emotional journeys with cancer. He continues to do Ironman triathlons and recently completed a solo 4,700-mile bike ride.
All love until next time— Becky
click on photo for a link to Amazon, however it’s available at independent seller https://bookshop.org/books , barnes & noble and other booksellers worldwide.
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