Happy New year! Wherever in the wide world you may be right now, I give you wishes of a peaceful, joyful new year.
To my faithful blogger friends who gave me encouraging comments on my last blog entry, I thank you all for your kind, healing words and thoughts. I truly appreciate you all, the fact that you continue to read my words, erratic as they appear these days, and that you all care about me and my welfare. I love you all, and feel much gratitude for your support. You help me to have a reason to continue writing here.
Starting over is not so easy, is it? Although I have started over so very many times during this life, each time seems an extraordinarily lot of work. Now is no exception, here in Denver. Walking around the streets of Capitol Hill and up to Colfax Avenue (Denver’s longest and most famous street), it is easy to blend into anonymity among the various folk walking or hanging around. Here are street people, ones down on their luck for the moment or for a long time, ones who are downtrodden, the users and abusers of various substances that offer slight relief from the relentlessness of their position in society. Here too are smart kids, young working class, guys promoting gay rights through the ACLU, panhandlers, day workers in front of the temporary work office. I see the whole spectrum of Denver society walking or driving past me as I walk, somewhat dreamily, in the afternoon sunshine.
Eventually I enter a bright, friendly lunch shop, called SAME cafe. What makes this place unique is that it is not only a cafe that serves delicious, healthy food in a clean, nice atmosphere, but it is also a non-profit organization dedicated to the idea that All People May Eat, regardless of how much cash they might have in their wallet or not. The sign at the counter simply says, “Pay what you can or what you feel the meal was worth,” and if you don’t have any money, then you may work for an hour in exchange for the meal. Brilliant idea, I’d say! The owners, a sweet youngish couple, have decided to take the idea of a soup kitchen to a whole new and more community-oriented level. I order the soup, a delicious cream of cauliflower, with fresh green salad and am offered a shortbread cookie, fresh baked in the morning. I stuff my donation into the donation box, as there is no cash register. After lunch, I speak with a sweet-faced young woman named Sarah, who is glad to tell me more about how their cafe works and sign me up for my first volunteer shift next week. I leave feeling glad, and full of good food and friendship.
During the past 18 years since I last lived in this city, Denver has grown more graceful, more exuberant, more livable and way more green than it used to be. Technology based businesses have moved here, bringing new energy, money, and a kind of progressiveness with them which has vastly contributed to a more lively and interesting town than the one I remember when I was growing up here.
And humane: the Denver area is home to hundreds of non-profit and charity-based organizations. Yes there is still poverty and an underserved population here, particularly among Hispanics and Black community members. But. There are many more ways to help urban folk who need it than ever before.
It struck me as I picked my way across icy patches of pavement on the way home, of what a fine line there is between me and the street folk now. Maybe it was always like that, I suppose in reality it was. I am in such a transition phase of life: no home to call my own, hardly any possessions, extraordinarily little monetary resources. Without the support of my own lovely children, I am in a frighteningly tenuous situation indeed. Indeed in today’s precarious society, nearly everyone except the very wealthy could soon find themselves in a similar boat as concerning material reality, and many have experienced great losses of home, nest egg and health options in these past years. There simply is no more place in western society for the old adage ‘us and them.’ Not that there ever really was, but it was a stubborn illusion for most of the past several eons of time. When I was a young person walking around Denver, I held to the illusion that I was somehow different than the people I would pass on the street, the ones who seemed unkempt and unsavory, unstable and unappealing. In my youthful egoistic vigour, I had little empathy for or understanding of ‘those type of people,’ and in fact I remember being distinctly afraid of them, hailing as I did from the middle class, mostly white suburbs outside of Denver. Now, many years and miles of road later, I no longer fear or loathe the less fortunate humans when I pass them on the street. Now I understand that the only difference between them and me, is that I am awake to the fact that we are all One Humanity with a zillion faces and aspects, while most of them are still asleep to this simple and profound fact. Remember the quote, ‘we are all of us in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars?’ I spend a lot of time looking at the stars, including our beautiful sun, these days.
It makes all the difference.
Heartbreak and loss are a powerful medicine for the soul. We all know this. Yet it isn’t until one is forced out of one’s comfortable life, and thrown back upon herself in a new way, that one is able to see life’s troubles in an ever-more compassionate way. Life has had its way with me, as I wrote previously. Just as it has with all the people on the streets. There is no judgment, no feeling of justice, of vindication, of receiving some kind of just desserts, none of that. I wish I could go around and sprinkle some kind of magic dust on people to help them see their own true worth and dignity, to help them clean the grime off so they could even want to look at themselves in the mirror, let alone to be able to like who they see reflected back. Self Love is the key to it all. Such simple words, yet so very difficult to reach for so many.
In this new year of 2014, I personally vow to continue to work on letting go, on ever more profound levels, of guilt and shame and self-loathing. Every time that someone close to me says something hurtful to me, accuses me of being less than a stellar human being, reminds me of some lousy thing I did or said or didn’t say in the past, my practice this year is to breathe it in, remembering who I AM, forgive them and myself for the past, and breathe it OUT again, transformed, raised to a higher level. Old, third dimensional, low vibrational ways of being are NOT the way of our new world, we all know this who are reading now. And yet. I see every single day just how easy it is to allow the collective density of these lower levels throw me off, to spiral me down into the mired depths again, at the speed of a few thoughtless words thrown my way. Mastery of the new energies of Light and Love and Joy is daily practice, moment by moment. Again and again, coming back to center. Breathing. Remembering. Trusting.