Mother nature is always a great example. Look at the devastation of a fire. The angry flames burn everything in its sight, engulfing anything is in its path. A tree will wither from the magnitude of the heat and firey red flames. Come back months later and the ground will still be blackened and stained from the fire, but there will be sprouts of life. Green seedlings start anew, utilizing the blackened earth below for its nutrients.
My heart has been disheartened lately with the state of affairs going on, but I know I need to stay in the solution; the faith and the knowing that lightness will always win out.
I believe we come to this earth to make a difference and change it for the better, at least that is what I feel my mission is. So I take a gander at my past to be reminded that the positive always wins. It may not be visible when you are in the fire, but eventually the light will come peer through to guide you ahead to the triumph.
Reflection- what a gift! When we are in the midst of a firey storm we can't always see how it will serve us. I know there are many times in my life when I saw no hope, or how a certain situation could provide me with wisdom or be just the thing that would turn around and serve someone else.
Rising. We always must rise. Rise above the circumstance, above the judgement, above what we think about ourselves, above what the world tells us. We rise! I see in my own life where I've had to rise many times.
The big mountain was when my mom died. I was 19 and just flaying around in my own life. Then the bomb of her death put me in a tail spin. It took me many years to rise because I was devestated and didn't think anyone cared any more. The rising was on a daily basis, putting one step in front of the other, slowly finding the beauty in life; stepping into a purpose and a joy.
The bright light shown down on me when I started relating to people that had experienced loss. It gave me compassion I didn't have before she died. It gave me connection with people I wouldn't normally have a deep connection with. I could relate to the deep, cutting pain, and the longing to have a special person back in your life. Because of that experience, I am now able to give a gift to others that not everybody can, and that is the gift of understanding, love and compassion in the face of death.
Another triumph of the light was during the trial of the drunk driver that killed my mom. There was anticipation everytime I was waiting outside of the court rooms doors. Mulling in the court room with a group of strangers for a variety of cases I often felt alone and paralyzed. The sudden, great shock when I happened to sit next to the very driver responsible for taking my mom's life. The drop in my heart everytime they postponed the trial. It felt like they were constantly stretching out the agony.
I worked up the courage to actually write a letter saying I forgive the man who's drinking and driving and took my mom's life. Heart ponding, I found him after court. No words of apology slipped off his tongue; just remorse for his ruined life. Definitely not the response I was looking for.
The trial went on for years and he got off, however, another letter and a call notified us that he was caught drinking and driving again. There was still a stirring of anger in my bones and it was awakened even more when I was asked to come to court and speak in front of the judge. This time a lady fro MADD would be there to support me. What do I say? How to I convey my hurt and pain of losing my mom? Funny thing is I remember going into the courtroom that day and people talking to me. I can still picture standing in front of the judge but the words that came out of my mouth are locked in that time. I do not remember what I said. I did feel triumphant and empowered that I was able to stand up for the justice that I thought he deserved. There was a ray of sunshine that prevailed in my life that day.
The true light came when years later, my dad told me that he got a call saying the man that hit my mom drunk driving was getting out early. Anger rose up in my body, I could feel it in my bones. I was ready to put up my arms and fight. Unfair and unjust, I thought! I talked to the district attorney but his response was so disheartening, he sounded like he had lost all passion for life. I got off the phone feeling defeated. I started recalling the pain of going to court, the emotions it stirred up, the anxiety that it brought to my life. I realized I should lay down and surrender. That man hopefully felt remorse and had time to contemplate what he caused. He may not have any sense of repentance but I cannot change that. I came to comprehend that it created more pain and dispair for me to continue to go to court. Did my mom want me to continue to fight? Did she want me to wrestle with myself and spend my time in court rooms?
I don't think she does, and I surrendered. That was a gift that I do not regret. The positive, always wins, if we look deep enough. We can't always see it when we are blinded by our victimhood, pain, despair, anger, grief, desire for venegance but it is there. It will be revealed at just the right time.
These two stories have taught me that there are different kinds of ways to fight the darkness.
Sometimes it means pushing forward, being willing to step even when our hearts are dragging on the ground. Other times it means stepping back. That the fight is what is holding us back. Standing in the belief that justice will prevail.
There are more stories in my life that I have learned to mine for the wisdom offered. The benefit will somehow appear as we have compassion for each other, just like I am gifted with now after losing my mom. The true gift is manifested when we no longer want to hurt ourselves to see someone else fall.
As I write this fifteen years later, I wish that man well. He will never know how drastically he changed my life but I'm sure it changed his too. I know the light will triumph. I hope to see it more and more in our world. I know it can as we stand together with our hearts bearing our souls, just like that women who stood with me in that courtroom that day.
As people have done in communities for thousands of years, let's share a meal together. The dinner table should be a place of love, of caring, and a way to nourish our souls. I have a special recipe that wraps the lightness and darkness together because we need them both to help our journey unfold.
The recipe below is a comforting coconut based soup with a multitude of vegetables and black rice noodles. The recipe engulfs the balance of yin and yang, showing us that the darkness may be below, but the creamy goodness will always rise to the top!
Happy Winter Solstice!
Solstice Coconut Soup
1 can of full fat coconut milk
2 1/2 cups of vegetable broth
1 stalk lemongrass, cut in 3 pieces
1/2-1 inch of ginger, peeled and sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
Zest of 1/2 lime
Juice of 1 lime
1 delicata squash, cleaned and cut in chunks with skin left on
1 cup of mushrooms, sliced
4 green onions, chopped
3-4 easter radishes, sliced
1/2 block of extra firm tofu, cut in chunks
2 blocks of black ramen forbidden rice noodles
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
salt to sprinkle of vegetables
1. Add coconut milk, veggie broth, lemongrass, ginger, garlic and lime zest to a large pot. Bring to a boil then simmer for 30 minutes. Add tofu to the broth during the last five minutes to warm them up and add flavor to them.
2. Chop delicata squash into small chunks. Add one tablespoon of olive oil to a pan on medium heat, add delicata squash. Sprinkle with salt. Cook till lightly brown and place in a bowl.
3. Bring a pot of water to boil. Add noodles, cook for 5-10 minutes. The water will turn a light shade of black. Drain and place noodles in the bowls you will be serving the soup in.
4. Using the same pan you cooked the delicata, add another tablespoon of oil and the mushrooms. Cook till brown. Put them to the side with the delicata squash.
5. Slice the radishes. Chop the cilantro and green onions.
6. Once the broth is done cooking add it to the bowls with the noodles, removing the lemongrass and ginger slices. Top each bowl with the mushrooms, delicata squash, green onions, easter radishes and sprinkle with cilantro. Squeeze a little lime over each bowl. Serve warm.
Take the time to breath in the smell of your coconut soup and look to this winter solstice for guidance. Reflect on where the light has shown through your life. Maybe there are areas of your life that were riddled with darkness that the light hasn't come through yet. Catch a little glimpse of the that light. Breath out knowing you can be the light of the world.