Lenten Pilgrimage | Mary on feelings, fear and social distancing


The ORANGE ROSE garners your ability to feel and be filled with your own sensuality.

- Mary Magdalene, spoken to me in meditation, 2/12/19

This morning I awoke from a nightmare. The nightmare evaporated from my mind in no time, but it’s been happening a lot lately. I am not someone who gets nightmares; in fact, I am someone who misses a vivid dreamlife.

Before leaving my bed for the bathroom, I conduct my CONNECTION practice. This is a simple body practice that I wrote about in my last news bulletin. I find this exercise super grounding. Today I am unable to ground myself. My heart and my head are in different places.

Because I’ve done this Lenten pilgrimage before, I know it is time to talk to Mary Magdalene about my feelings. What a different place I am in than last year! Tired, I’m in a lousy mood as I pour my morning cup of coffee. I admit to my husband Mike that I’ve had another nightmare. He looks at me with serious eyes and says I’m sorry. Solid sleep is important to someone who is bipolar.

I lie on my meditation mat and the heated amethyst crystals feel dynamite to my sore lower back. After listening to Oprah and Deepak in the current (free!) Hope in Uncertain Times guided meditation, I walk outside to the beach that exists in my mind’s eye. My mood is unchanged.

I sit on our bench and draw my knees up to my chin and wrap my arms around my legs. This actually feels really rewarding. In life, I’ve gained a few pounds from my comfort eating and I know that this wouldn’t be possible right now in these jeans!

My guides stand apart from me at odd intervals, looking away at their horizon. I quickly realize they are enacting our social-distancing practice, standing in place. It looks odd and they look bereft, each one staring at some remote horizon unaware of one another. Mary walks toward me from my right. She looks down at me but I don’t look up.

Sally:

I’m angry.

Mary:

I see.Tell me.

I’m more than angry. I’m full of emotion and I don’t know where to start. I know that I am picking up the collective conscious at night while I sleep which is feeding my nightmares. She knows why I’m angry, of course. As I determine how to be succinct with my frustration, Mother Mary quickly walks around me from behind and steps down onto her knees, putting a hand on my knees. She is the picture of compassion as she looks up into my face. I’m a bit shocked because I didn’t know she was behind me but her complete attention softens me into submission.

I learned a long time ago, how and when to get my news when things become too loaded in the outside world. I don’t watch a lot of network television news anymore because it is too sensational, except for the 7 A.M. 90 second “Eye Opener” on CBS, so I tend to read the news from sources that I trust. After it’s happened. That way I can be kind to myself and practice boundaries.

Last night, I read the cover story from my Time magazine dated 3/30/20. It gave a recap of the COVID action timeline by the Trump administration. Here is what I read from the article entitled “Opportunity Cost” by Haley Sweetland Edwards:

Trump’s first major error in the crisis came a year and a half before the novel coronavirus first emerged in Wuhan, China. In May 2018, he authorized his then National Security Advisor, John Bolton, to eliminate the National Security Council’s global health security unit and demote its pandemic experts.

It was a tiny office, but it had huge responsibilities. Its main job was to serve as an early-warning system for impending pandemics. “We definitely would have been sending up flares,” the unit’s former senior director, Beth Cameron, tells TIME.

I shut my eyes tightly, reading this in the bathroom right before bed. I knew that this was huge.

The supply chain for government communications no longer existed.

The next morning when I told Mike this, he chuckled that I should read the book The Fifth Risk by Michael Lewis [of Moneyball fame] if I really wanted to have my eyes opened. Apparently, I did not. Now, in meditation, I look at my guides who are staring off in all different directions. I know that they are concerned for me and are listening but I don’t know where to start because I have never been here before. I mean, in these kind of circumstances.

Sally:

I’m mad. I’m mad that the governmental department that spearheads this sort of thing has been eliminated. It’s irresponsible. It’s no wonder the world’s immune system is so shot!

Mary stares me. She waits for me to continue.

Sally:

Everyone is afraid. I know that we need the social distancing, it’s paramount, but it’s isolating people who are already frozen in their own world.

Mary, looking off:

You are right. People were already in their own world with their little boxes [boxes is what Mary calls our cell phones.] How do you feel right now?

I pause because Mary wasn’t just asking me how I feel. She was asking me whether I was able to feel. In the morning, I wasn’t able to make a connection between my heart and my head. Am I able to make this connection now? I took a deep breath mindful of expanding my belly and breathing completely through my exhale. A deep breath is always so soothing. I’m able to feel. I look at her with searching eyes.

Sally:

How do I serve now? How do I help people? The messages that they are getting each day change like the wind!

Mary sits next to me and looks North. She thinks for a few moments before answering me.

Mary:

I think this is a time that you reconsider what your true priorities are. You consider how you take care of yourself so you can be present for others. Do you feel that you can do that?

Sally:

Yes. I can.

Then I unload on her. I tell her all my fears. I explain more of the TIME article; how we have drained our resources as a nation of health and human services since 2001, how our White House has become an “echo chamber of yes-men” and how I was deeply afraid that the current groupthink of the White House would lead to many unnecessary deaths. It felt good to get it all out. When I was done, I realized I wasn’t breathing deeply so I began to concentrate on my breathing again.

Then I became confused. My mind shifted as my working memory contracted. The combination of poor sleep and stress conditioned my nervous system to gear down into a protection mode. This is part multiple sclerosis and part coping mechanism from early childhood abuse. I’ve come to accept this about my neurochemistry but when it happens it is always a shock.

The guides pivot in their spots and look towards me.

Mary:

Sally, when people feel fear their hearts close. It is hard to feel this way. How does your heart feel right now?

I go into my heart space. In general, my clairaudience is much better than my clairvoyance, but I can still generally “see” something when I need to. When I look at my heart these days, it looks like a little red cartoon heart with white stick arms and legs. Even though I am open to this conversation, my heart remains in the shape of holding its arms wrapped around its legs. It looks timid and remote.

Sally:

Afraid.

Mary:

Your body is taking on the fears of others. That is why you’ve had more tension lately. Your people will get through this. It will take some time. I know that your thinking has changed, but in a way, you can understand this better now.

It’s important that people keep their hearts open, for themselves and for others.

Feeling fear is natural right now. Ignoring it or trying to deny it does not serve. Fear is an emotion that calls you to action. Anxiety is your body’s way of telling you that something needs to change. Maybe it is the way you are thinking, maybe it’s the way you are communicating, maybe it’s the way you are taking care of yourself-or not taking care of yourself.

You listen to your heart first in order to understand the truth of your world.

Does that make sense?

I don’t reply. I’m processing Mary’s wisdom.

Mary:

Sally, there is a different way to look at social distancing. You are made of beautiful energy. Beautiful divine energy. That energy doesn’t stop at your skin. It goes beyond in a type of glowing “cloud.” This is what we see. When we look at you on earth, we see you as a spiritual energy being. When you act from the heart, when you embrace what is good and holy about yourself, this energy reverberates out, sending a sort of positivity out into the world around you. This is what I call the cloud of compassion. When you are aware, when you are conscious of your actions and you act in a way that is virtuous and loving, this cloud acts as a messenger of who you are to others. It is your being-ness moving about in the world. What’s more, it helps to separate you from others in the world. It can be a your tool for discernment.

If you walk with a sincere and loving heart you practice compassion everywhere you go. For yourself and for others.

Gandhi:

Walking this path is Faith. This is the Way. This is the practice of Devotion.

Gandhi was on our left. He stands straight with his staff in his right hand. He has a way of showing up at the culmination of a lesson. I know it is a way of unifying the message. Christian, Hindu, Muslim…no matter who is saying the words, truth is truth.

I look back to Mary.

Sally:

So, social distancing is a way to envision our cloud of compassion?

Mary:

Social distancing isn’t distancing at all. It is a way to become awake to the fact that others in your world are going through the same thing! This person walking up to you nearby has the same fears, the same hopes, the same dreams, the same stories as you do! So instead of being wary of where you are, remember that they are as deserving of your compassion as you are! Smile, or say hello, or send a positive thought or prayer their way.

Feel with your heart, not your head!

I love this. This makes so much sense. Mary has talked about the Cloud of Compassion with me before. This is our equivalent to the second chakra. Our sacral area, our energy center for creativity and passion. Or as Mary related before, our “inner vitality.”

This the ORANGE ROSE that Mary told me about in The Way of the Rose*. But now, it feels more relevant, more immediate. Certainly, a sorely needed reframe! We need this!

Mary:

Yes, you do. Put down your black boxes for a while. Remember your neighbor. Remember the good in the world. Open your heart.

Mary, turning to look at me:

You need to share this. The world is waiting.

Mary’s Mona Lisa smile completely calms me. Message received.

*I plan on publishing this online along with The Path of the Rose this year.

REFLECTION QUESTIONS:


  • How have current events impacted your ability to feel? To ground?

  • How does fear express itself in your life?

  • Do you feel you can open your heart to others as you move through your day? Is it more difficult when you are outside around strangers?

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