Thirty years ago today my dad died suddenly after hernia surgery. He was 67, a year younger than I am now. I was 38 and working at AIDS Calgary. My son was in first year music at university. What Dad has missed in this thirty years! I didn’t know him well when I was a child, but that changed in the last fifteen years of his life. He was much loved by his grandchildren and would have loved to know his great-grandchildren. His calm presence and support would have made such a difference in our lives. And I am sad he didn’t know me as I am now. I understand him as a nuanced person with his own complexity in a way I did not when he was alive. His favorite poem was IF by Rudyard Kipling and he tried to live by those principles.
Yesterday I spoke with a friend who has been homeless since August 2nd and just found an apartment. I went for a walk after we spoke, feeling relieved that in two weeks she will be housed, and profoundly grateful for my own safety and housing security. In our culture, we can insulate ourselves from some intensely difficult experiences with money. I don’t have a lot and I do have my own small home in a place I love that is blessedly quiet and nourishing.
This month in our Sunday community classes we are working with collective trauma and resilience. Intergenerational trauma, Covid loss and fear, and sexual misconduct #metoo. These are tough subjects and possible to explore because we stay grounded in the present together. At the end of November, we complete our reflections with a full day silence retreat and exploring connection and loving kindness.
This month I also began interviews for the upcoming fifth annual Radical Recovery Summit. Deb Dana has a gift for explaining the nervous system and our need for human connection. I spoke with Rick Hanson, with his grit and practical wisdom, and Scott Kiloby, who persists in deep inquiry and freedom. We explore the reality of hard things and the experience of life together.
The reality of life is hard. It is hard to experience, and hard to accept. We mightily resist reality.
The reality of life is joy, kindness, connection and wonderful people who inspire us and help us feel whole and loved.