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We dissolve stuck and rewrite patterns. We apply radical playfulness to life (when we feel like it!), embarking on internal adventures (credo of Safety First). We have a fake band called Solved By Cake. We build invisible sanctuaries, invent words and worlds, breathe awe and wonder.

We are not impressed by monsters. Except when we are. We explore the connections between internal territories and surrounding environment to learn what marvelously supportive delicious space feels like, and how to take exquisite care of ourselves. We transform things.* We glow wild.**

* For example: Desire, fear, worry, pain-and-trauma, boundaries, that problematic word which rhymes with flaweductivity.

** Fair warning: Self-fluency has been known to lead to extremely subversive behavior, including treasuring yourself unconditionally, unapologetically taking up space, experiencing outrageously improbable levels of self-acceptance, and general rejoicing in aliveness.

 

Constellations.

Content note: This post references suicide and a car accident. Grounded presence is recommended. ♡

The superpower of pre-emptive hugs.

I want to say something, except I don’t know what exactly, about two particularly uncanny and fortuitous hugs.

Late Thursday night Kaari contacted me, saying she suspected I needed hugs, and I liked how she acted on this thought, even though I wasn’t sure what this was about.

The next morning I ran into Carrie, a woman I know in a very casual way, and she came right up to me and said, “Honey, could you use a hug right now?”, which is not a thing that usually happens between us, and I said yes, even though, again, there wasn’t any particular sense of why this was important.

A couple hours later I arrived home to two pieces of very painful news, the suicide of a loved-by-me former student of mine, and a work-related situation/challenge which will require all of my presence, grace, open-heart-of-love-and-courage to meet.

So it turned out well that I’d been pre-hugged.

Thank you, powers that be, for setting me up with advance hugs. For the superpower of Uncanny and Fortuitous Hugs. The superpower of high-accuracy pre-emptive sweetness. The superpower of what I need is offered to me before I even know that I need it.

Thank you.

I’d like more of that. For everyone.

It doesn’t have to be hugs, though hugs are awesome. Hugs are just one possible form of administering love.

What I mean is this:

The beautiful thing that happens when what I need is immediately and readily available for me.

Everything lining up, constellations and configurations.

Grace.

I’ve thought, for a very long time, that there is no greater grace (for what is a superpower after all if not a moment of Grace) than having what you need in that moment of deep need.

Except here is something even more amazing.

The thing you need showing up before you need it, as if to say, “my love, you are so held, everything is ready for you, whatever you go through, you have everything you need.”

May we all receive what we need. Even, maybe especially, if it’s not what we think.

May we all receive what we need when we need it, and maybe even before that.

May we all have the wisdom to see with clear eyes, so that we don’t miss these moments of receiving, or how beautiful they are.

A moment.

Last week I witnessed a horrible accident. A woman crossing the street was hit by a car turning the corner.

She was carrying a bag of groceries, and it went into the air, impossibly high, in a slow motion arc, bananas landing on top of a car, a loaf of bread bouncing into the road.

She hit the ground, and then everything kind of stopped.

Pausing to notice miracles.

I do not wish in any way to diminish the horror of this moment, this awful experience, the agonizing pain this woman was in, and whatever she is dealing with now, if she made it through.

The way she was hit and the way she fell, for sure there was serious head trauma, probably a broken hip, maybe a spine injury. So when I talk about the miracles, please know that I am also breathing endless love for the unbelievable pain in this, for the tragedy of this, everything this means for her, for the people in her life, for the person who drove into her.

I want to pause, and I want to breathe in the miracles because that’s what I want to remember.

Not just her palpable suffering. Not just the helplessness of watching, how quickly she went into shock, the way her face contorted, her body beginning to spasm, reminding me instantly of the pumpkin cat. I want to think about the miracles.

Has anyone been here for that many years? Six years ago this week. I went through so much hurt over that cat.

Let’s breathe in the miracles. Let’s breathe in appreciation for the miracles.

Let’s breathe in the miracles.

Miracle. All the cars in the area stopped. No one honked. No one was impatient.

Miracle. The car that was closest to the scene had a license plate that said YOGA RX, and a trim dark-haired woman emerged briskly. She was calm, steady, grounded, knew exactly what to do. She called it in, she brought blankets, she brought steadiness.

Miracle.The guy from the car that hit the woman (not sure if he was driver or passenger) was on the ground, crouching next to her, holding her hand, saying the things that need to be said in a moment when someone needs love and presence. Not freaking out. Not making the moment about him. Just being with her.

Miracle. The ambulance arrived unbelievably quickly. Maybe five minutes? If that?

And Richard and I were witnessing, breathing peacefulness, glowing steadiness and love. Going right into heart-love. Not questioning that this was the right thing to do, the only thing to do. Committed to it with full presence. We got to be part of the miracles.

Constellations.

Six years ago, with the pumpkin cat, I wasn’t able to do that. I’ve been working on these skills since then.

I don’t know why this horrible thing happened, and I suspect that why is the wrong question anyway.

I do know that this woman had so many miracles showing up for her in the moment when she needed them, as if we were all drawn in to this constellation for this moment.

The centered, capable yoga therapist. The compassionate young man who didn’t fall apart but sat down on the ground and took her hand. The world’s speediest ambulance. The busy city street that somehow suddenly only contained people who were okay with not being in a hurry. As if the entire street suddenly remembered together that This Timing Is Right Timing and whenever we get there is when we get there.

And then me and Richard, two calm, quiet, loving-hearted people who know how to turn inward and become conduits for qualities. We were there, calling on peacefulness, calling on strength, calling in the allies of this moment, holding the strong edges of the circle.

Called in.

We were called into a moment, or at least that’s how it felt, and we were able to do the thing we know how to do for that moment, in that moment.

Six years ago I might have second-guessed all of this, gone into my head, worried that everything I was doing was wrong, not helpful, wished I was the kind of person who could help in more obvious ways, gone into shock, become lost in my own pain.

Now I can be the person who channels peacefulness.

I know where my skills are, I know where I am needed, I know where I do my best work, where I can truly contribute and be of service. From the edge of the circle.

I know when I am being called on, called in.

Speaking of unlikely angels.

When my little brother was five, he had appendicitis. It was terrifying, and he was tiny and fragile, he spent a lot of time in the hospital and an even longer time recovering.

I have this memory of being on a bus in Jerusalem, and he was in so much pain, the bus driver taking us on this mad rush through the streets so that we’d get where we needed quickly. The bus driver said something to my mother, something funny or comforting or sweet, I can’t remember what.

And later my mother said the bus driver had been an angel. Like, an actual angel.

For a lot of years I thought that was kind of a crazy thing to say, except now I know what she meant.

Actually, that isn’t true. I have no idea what she meant. I know what it means to me. The bus driver was in the configuration of people who were able to bring sweetness to a moment that required sweetness.

It’s not that he was an angel. It was that in that moment he had the option of being the angel when that was needed, and he stepped up.

Sometimes you gotta be the angel. Sometimes you get to be the angel.

It doesn’t mean you don’t still have your problems, your challenges, your patterns. It just means you say yes to being the conduit of comfort, kindness, compassion, humor, whatever qualities are needed.

Loss.

It always hurts when a former student commits suicide. I have my own stuff around this too.

My work, in many ways, exists for meeting pain.

Meeting pain, allowing pain, making room for pain, softening pain, listening to pain, understanding pain, undoing pain, making safety for pain, rewriting pain, revealing and receiving the treasures that come from experiences of pain, accessing truth-love in times of pain.

So yeah, my work naturally draws people who have pain, who are or have been in the dark places.

This means we lose some people. And it hurts like hell. This is the second time this year, and man, it’s just hard.

I know the dark places.

I wouldn’t be able to do this work I’ve been doing for the past nine years if I weren’t intimately familiar with them.

I know the dark places and I know the lies that live there. I remember the blankness.

I have mapped the territories of grief and of emptiness, of pure fear, and of the Nothing. I am not afraid of these places anymore, though for many years the dread of returning to them was my constant companion.

Light.

If I could whisper truth-love to all the hurting people, if I thought truth-love had a chance of landing, I might say this:

Even in the darkest places, you still get to be in someone else’s constellation.

You get to show up when you’re called and be someone else’s comfort, someone else’s moment of treasure, someone else’s moment of light, their reminder of truth-love.

And there are people who are ready and waiting to come into your constellations, to glow peacefulness and love for you, to hold the edges of the circle, to stand steady with lanterns as you find your way through the dark. We’re here. Even when you forget. Even when we forget. We’re here.

I know the dark places and I also know that healing and grace come in unexpected moments and unexpected ways.

Sometimes gradually over time. Sometimes swiftly in astonishing moments of opening and releasing. If we’re patient and intentional, maybe both.

Stay with us.

Stay with us.

Everything you are going through is legitimate, it makes sense that things feel this hard, that it seems like it isn’t going to get better. It sucks, it really does. I’m so sorry.

And you are safe, you are held and you are loved, and one day you will taste again and smell springtime and the flame will flicker again in your thank-you heart.

I’m breathing peacefulness for this right now. We all are. There are so many of us. Inhaling, exhaling.

Join in whenever you can.

My wish.

May we all remember to take care of ourselves, to rest and replenish, to do whatever we need to do to get quiet enough so that these moments of showing up are possible.

May we all have Uncanny and Fortuitous (Consensual) Hugs when we need them, and before we need them. The superpower of everything we need is right here: activate. The superpower of clear seeing: activate.

May we be granted unlikely angels whenever we need them. May we be present and engaged with life so that we can be the unlikely angels when the opportunity arises.

May we fill up on truth-love, pause for sweet red lights, make room for each other, make room for ourselves, listen to our secret desires, notice the vibrancy of color, the sweet smell of the earth, name the things around us until we find our way back to ourselves, so we can join the circle and strengthen the edges.

Amen.

How we play here. You are invited.

Safe space online is such a rare and precious thing. To make that work, we lovingly commit to two intentional practices: not giving each other advice and not care-taking.

We try to remember that we all have our stuff (pain, fear, doubt, grief, history), and we’re all working on our stuff, each in our own way and our own timing. It’s a process.

The things we are talking about today are not easy. So we tread gently. We don’t make assumptions about anyone else’s experience. We meet ourselves and each other with warmth, patience, presence and love, to the best of our ability.

You are welcome to share things sparked for you, to take some peacefulness (there’s enough), or to breathe peacefulness for everyone who needs extra. And of course you can leave flowers. I love flowers.

Love, as always, to everyone who is a part of this place, including the Beloved Lurkers, quiet passers-by and everyone who reads. Thank you.

26 Responses to Constellations.

  1. Max Daniels
    Twitter: maxdaniels
    says:

    Ah, what beautiful wishes! I know your wishing power is strong, so thank you for making them here.

    ?

  2. Do Mi Stauber
    Twitter: dmstauber
    says:

    I’m just leaving a loving hum. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

  3. Kathleen Avins
    Twitter: spiralsongkat
    says:

    Oh. There is so much here. So much!

    First, last, and in between, thank you.

    It was about five and a half years ago when I entered the Fluent Self orbit; though I wasn’t here the day of the pumpkin cat post, I have read and wept over it, more than once.

    I often think with wonder of how far I have come, doing this work, along with other elements of my personal practice. Just yesterday it came up again: I was in a situation/pattern, and I stood in my sovereignty, and it wasn’t as if anything even got *resolved*, except that somehow my sovereignty was its own resolution. *Amazing*.

    Anyway. This post. Ohhhhh, this post. Thank you.

    I will remember, I believe, what you have said here about getting to be a light for others, no matter what else is happening, and getting to open up to the light all around me, no matter what else is happening. I also am feeling deeply reminded to let my light shine, just a little brighter, just a little further, as often as I dare. To remember that I can make a difference, even more than I imagine.

    I hope you know what a difference you make. Oh, Havi. Thank you. <3

  4. Mechaieh
    Twitter: zirconium
    says:

    *armfuls of flowers*

  5. Claire P
    Twitter: making_space
    says:

    Yes, please stay with us. I too am glowing peacefulness and presence and hope and love for *you*.

  6. seagirl says:

    Very important words, and very glad they are here.

  7. Agent Otter
    Twitter: sarahneedles
    says:

    thank you <3

    *vase of purple irises*

  8. Scout says:

    I think I will sit here among the flowers if that’s okay. Everything else hurts too much.

  9. Becky
    Twitter: fruitmaven
    says:

    Odd. 18 years ago this very week, a young version of me was the passenger in an accident that hit a pedestrian carrying groceries. He died. Many aspects of my life were lost that day – Some for the best, some not. I’ve done a lot of work to heal the Me that experienced that but sometimes she just needs to be reminded of unexpected comfort, of healing, of growth, of being surrounded and not at all alone.

    Me from now sends sweet gentle nurturing hugs to 20 year old me that was so very lost and so very “strong” and so very weak. I love you my sweet self and I’m with you and I’m proud of you. Xoxo

  10. Natanya says:

    Breathing peacefulness, inhale, exhale. Leaving flowers here for anyone and everyone who needs them. Offering virtual hugs, and my deep, heartfelt gratitude for this post, this space, this work. There is nothing more important.

  11. Hannah
    Twitter: Hannah_Savannah
    says:

    Yes, i’ve been here for six years. More like seven, or eight. I believe i first came here in 2006. And of course have read every post since.

    Breathing stready and presence and grounding and safety.

    Holding the circle, oh what a thought to cherish.

    A breath for the long road since pumpkin cat, for meticulousness in doing the work and play of writing and healing in all the ways that appeared. A breath for the knowledge that healing can be the thing that is indicated, and for following the clues. A deepbreath finding back spring flowers and smells and ‘ i am here’ .

  12. sarav says:

    There is such power in this post. It went straight through Wednesday morning to my heart.

    Thanks

  13. Jessica
    Twitter: JessicaKoppe
    says:

    Havi, thank you.
    This made me cry, and met me in the moment I needed it today.
    Whenever we’ll meet in future, I’ll give you a hug, for this and for everything you do.
    Much love to you all.
    May you find a safe place for your grief and your tears!

  14. Kathleen Jowitt
    Twitter: KathleenJowitt
    says:

    Oh Havi, it feels as if you’ve written this for me – the angels (mine have umbrellas), and the future hugs, and the stars and the darkness. Thank you. I am so sorry for the hard, and I send love, and Michaelmas daisies, and hugs for when you need them.

  15. claire says:

    “We are all made of stardust, filled with light.” (Havi said this recently in a chicken and i keep thinking about it)

    xo

  16. Katie Hart
    Twitter: yogiconomist
    says:

    -o-

  17. Chandler
    Twitter: AnagramPress
    says:

    I have been in the place of the woman with the groceries. And it’s so true: the people who just *appeared* immediately afterward became my constellation of light and help and peace. One was the kind woman who retrieved the dog I was walking, the dog who ran away in fright after the impact. One was the man who called the ambulance and my husband for me, and who found out where I lived so he could visit me the next day to see I was alright. Two were the young man and his small daughter, with whom I had just exchanged joyous small talk a block earlier: the man helped me to the curb and the little girl shyly handed me my glasses, which had flown away. One was the boy who hit me, who knew enough to stop, to do the right thing, and who cried the tears I could not summon. Innumerable were the friends and colleagues and acquaintances and even strangers who were there when I needed help or couldn’t walk or drive or work or lift anything in the following months. So much light, and lightness, carried me through that dark time.

    This is why we are who we are, why we are social creatures, even in the smallest measure. We know what to do when we are called, even if we have never heard the call before. We are pinpoints of light, constellations so numerous and so bright that we light an entire galaxy.

    Flowers and wishes and light and hopes and tears, my hand on my heart, my eyes closed, so much love for the woman with the groceries, for all the stars in her constellation. May she come through her darkness, and find joy and wholeness again in the light, as I did. I will stand here for her, to help light the path forward.

  18. Ania Grandbois
    Twitter: AniaGrandbois
    says:

    So much loveliness. The Miracles: I find to be just a wonderful story of the transformation of trauma responses to self-care, self-love, and channeling the kind of energy our planet needs. Thank you!

    I’m so happy to be back. I had to step away for a bit after my initial immersion here a few years ago, when this place and your lovely work helped me find my voice so well that I scared myself and had to take down my blogs and hide for a while again.

    So happy my voice is wanting to return, at long last. To be able to check in with my virtual family members here in the comments.

  19. brooklynchick says:

    Holding all of us in the light.

  20. Paulita says:

    flowers

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