Self Care – Soul Care

It was the first day of March when I sensed the shift coming. There was already no hand sanitizer to be found at any drug stores, and I was told they would be out at least until May, maybe longer. I went to Target and bought the last package of 15 rolls of toilet paper and the last two packages of Kleenex on the shelves. At the Target check out I was behind a couple with two young boys who were filling plastic crates with $1,000 worth of food and booze. They nervously apologized for taking so much time. I laughed and said that I appreciated their choices in high-end alcohol.

Two weeks later it was apparent a shutdown was coming. Out to dinner with a friend that Friday night, March 13, the restaurant had fewer than a dozen patrons when it would normally have been packed.  March 16, California issued the first, ineptly named, shelter-in-place order.

Living alone with two cats and already working from home, (a lifestyle I’ve lived for 25 years) I figured that the shutdown wouldn’t really impact me much. I’m basically an introvert, comfortable with myself and with being alone. And…it didn’t seem to have an impact.

Except that, during the first 30 days or so, I shopped enough to accumulate more food and booze than I’ve had in my home in the last 10 years. Five o-clock happy hour with a couple glasses of bourbon became routine. I ate comfort food–– mom’s recipe for mac & cheese, pizza, ice cream, turkey with mashed potatoes, watched a lot of TV, went to bed early and had weird, horribly violent nightmares. I zoomed more for work, called more friends and family, and spent countless hours on Facebook and Instagram first thing each morning and last thing each evening, reading endless articles about the breakdown of all our systems, and the climbing death toll.

I watched my tiny retirement fund all but disappear as the market took a dive, pulling it at the worst possible time.

I checked in with hospital chaplain friends, worried for their welfare and all of their front line workers, while at the same time feeling grateful that I no longer worked in a hospital setting. There were ego moments when I felt guilty for my feelings of relief and distance from that work, and at the same time imagined others judging me for not doing enough. All of this just as I was leaving one job and taking a leap of faith into a management role with a new young organization. I was carrying both grief and some relief around all these changes, personal, communal and global. No, the lockdown didn’t impact me… much.

Being mindful not to judge myself harshly, I took note of all of the ways I was being affected by the onslaught of mixed messages and mixed feelings. I needed to find a rhythm of self-care, so I started walking around my neighborhood, taking iPhone pics of flowers while giving passing neighbors a wide berth and a smile through my mask. I discovered streets I’d never been on, and flowers who’s names I didn’t know. I posted on Instagram and Facebook with the hashtag #beautyheals. Daily walks and drinking in the abundant beauty of springtime blossoms is healing. But the thing I miss most is driving out to the ocean, sitting on the beach and listening to the wisdom of the pounding surf. That soothes my soul…

As the days continue to unfold one into the other with little differentiation, I am finding my grounding in my spiritual direction/soul care practice, holding space for others, listening deeply to their stories and their fears. I also find strength in listening to and learning from mentors and people I admire as they share that they too are challenged in coping with all that we’re experiencing. During these unprecedented and scary times, the message I hear repeatedly is to tend kindly and gently to ourselves as well as others. We are all in this together.

Yes, in the first 30 days I over-stocked my shelves, over-ate comfort food, over-drank good bourbon, took an over-abundance of flower photos, over-connected on zoom, and generally over-indulged. I admit to feeling the vulnerability of my 63-year-old self, frightened of contracting this virus. Fed by constant news stories and knowing what a stay in the hospital can bring, I started filling an advanced healthcare directive form.

Sometime around day 30 I noticed another shift in energy. The atmosphere felt less dense and I sensed a thinning of the veil between dimensions, allowing for messages to come through from the Divine, guides and our higher consciousness. My defenses were down, my heart was breaking open into the unknown, the uncertainty yet again. Feeling more open, spacious and receptive, I also felt the collective grief of the ever tightening circle of death, coming nearer to people I know and love.

Dreaming with the Divine

One recent day I found myself leading a grounding guided meditation with a new client, when something extraordinary occurred which became, for both of us, something akin to a Shamanic experience. I usually drop into somewhat of a trance when doing a guided meditation, or prayer. This time felt exceptional.

As I guided bringing regenerative energy up from Mother Earth into our bodies, up through the root, sacral and solar plexus chakras to our hearts–– I experienced a thrumming sound, an energy in my right ear, like blood pumping through veins. And then as I guided us to bring cosmic wisdom down from above into our crown, third eye and throat chakras to the heart–– I experienced the same thrumming sound and energy in my left ear, again like blood pumping through veins. This vibration was now running through me until the energies met at the heart chakra, and then everything suddenly fell silent. For a moment I felt absolutely full of Divine presence, a pulsing translucence entered me, and I wondered what, if anything, my client felt.

After completing the meditation, my client shared her experience saying, “ I felt as if I was in warm water, like in a womb. Your voice was in the distance… and then I heard, “Allah – we are one.”

That night I had a profoundly prophetic dream.  I was in the presence of my guide who, when he comes to me in dreamtime, is always slightly behind my right shoulder, with his hand on my back at heart level, softly instructing me in my right ear.

He took me into a large floating room surrounded by the cosmos, that appeared to be a crystalline like library-laboratory-holodeck. Everything was awash in pale blueish white light. The walls of shelves were full of what he explained to me were, “blocks of time.” Was I inside the Akashic records?  All the blocks on all the shelves glowed various shades of luminescent blue light. My guide told me that I could pull out any block of time and insert it into one of my past experiences to change characters and outcomes.

All the blocks were three inches thick, six inches deep by nine inches tall and appeared translucent. When I touched a block of time, it lit up white. It felt weighty in my hand, alive, full of wisdom and pulsed lightly. I carried it over to the shelves that held my past stories. When I inserted the block into a story it flashed and I saw a new scenario play out, much like what I felt and saw in my life review during my near-death experience.  People, places, sounds, smells all in hyper 360 degree Imax view.

I did this several times focusing on my travels through the years to Scotland, Italy, Spain, and France. With each new block of time inserted into old stories I experienced meeting different people and having more joyful outcomes, full of laughter, abundance and love.

My guide said, “The dimension of time as you incarnate beings know it, is not what you think it is. Time exists in many dimensions simultaneously. Time is relative, permeable, rearrangeable, and can be altered. It all depends on your minds, your hearts and your will.”

It feels to me that the message of this dream pertains directly to our present life situation. It’s as if we are in a movie that has several scripts written by pure potentiality, and it’s up to us to choose the script we play out. We have the power to change the outcomes of this Corona-thon, if we have the minds, hearts and the will to not repeat past mistakes or return to the old normal.

How has this dream impacted me?  My energy has shifted. In this now moment, I am no longer hungering for food, drink or anything outside of myself.  I shifted my walks from warm windy afternoons around my neighborhood filled with photographing flower friends––to cool, still early morning meanderings where I discover small hand painted rocks with blessings, heart drawings and tiny creature relatives.  Morning walks are more peaceful and supportive for me and give me more energy throughout my day.  I continue to practice open awareness and Zen seeing, to keep feeling awe and wonder in spite of these turbulent times.

Deeply humbled by my good fortune, and very aware of my privilege, I am also aware of my limitations, strengths and weaknesses. I’ve been reluctant write a post. So why now, why this? Today, this 40th day of our Corona-thon feels a little Biblical as it were. Perhaps there’s another energetic shift coming? Perhaps this little stream of consciousness relates to you and your circumstances during this time. How were your first 30 – 40 days?  What have your dreams been like? What are you doing for self-care, and for care of others? How has your energy shifted? How are your mixed bag of feelings? What are you noticing about your relationships with others, with Nature, with the Divine?  I invite you to private message me.

We are in this together; feeling it, breathing it, living it. If we’re able to follow the golden threads of synchronicities and blessings through this time, and be more forgiving we might discover more peace and give ourselves permission to be who we are, while creating a new normal that’s for the highest good of all.

May all beings be well…


(all photos ©Lisa j Winston LjW Divine Sight – click on any to scroll through gallery)