Connection, Care, and Belonging

Last Sunday my husband and I went hiking near our house in LA with our children.
It is so lush and stunning here with all of the rain that we’ve had, and it was incredibly clear out as the winds had been quite strong that day.
There was resistance getting to that hike.
We worked through that and spent a couple of hours on a dirt path with views that took my breath away.

I was struck by the vibe of many of the other hikers I passed.
Very few made eye contact, and barely a hello was uttered.

If you have ever been to my hometown of Vancouver, B.C., you might understand why this impacted me.
In Vancouver, we say hello to everyone, especially on a hike.

I wondered in my mind as I meandered the path if people were worn out.
I wondered if they were having a hard time—perhaps some heart ache, or
maybe the political situation is just making people tired and hopeless.
Who knows? Maybe the people I crossed paths with were just having an inward, mindful hike and saying hello to some random woman was just not in their desire that Sunday afternoon.

Either way, it ignited a longing inside of me...a longing for connection, for care, and for belonging.

As I continued the hike, my mind began to settle down.
I started having memories from my childhood.
I thought of my grandmother on my mother’s side and how sad I am that my children will never know her.
I thought of how she helped me get one of my first jobs at a concert ticket and lottery ticket booth. She would show up at the end of my shift and help me do the tasks to close shop. She baked a wicked good apple pie, and she was truly the matriarch of my family. I remember how sad she was when I miscarried a (very wanted) baby and how surprised I was when I heard she cried about it. I had never seen her cry.

I'm not sure why I was suddenly washed with grief that my children will never know the grace of my grandmother Beatrice.
My subconscious was working through something, and being in nature (free from everyday distractions) allowed me the space for processing.

The view was stunning.

My daughter took my breath away in her pink sweatshirt and her soul beauty. She complained for the first part of the hike and somehow (thankfully) I had the patience to not try to talk her out of it or feel frustrated by it. The hike was unwinding her as well.

I often think that “I want to live my life fully present.”
I want to know the people I love.
and I want to BE known.

When we got home, I started making dinner— a task I can love and a task I can dread.
I usually choose to love it, and I have some tools that help me when I feel the dread creeping in.
My tools are music, a candle, and a heaping dose of gratitude.
I felt enlivened by that hike, by the intentional placing of ourselves in nature.

Nature is the remedy for these times—my husband Steven and I discuss this quite regularly.

I made a simple dinner.
As I cooked, I thought about meditation and how grateful I am to have been led to the practice of Kundalini Yoga. I have been blessed by the teachers who have touched my heart and have inspired my path as a student.
People are struggling.
We collectively are struggling.
We need each other.
We need community and family and intimacy.
We need to be seen, and to be fed.

Lately I’ve been choosing to sleep without my cell phone in my room.
I am craving discipline with this technology that sometimes feels like a tool, but lately makes me feel like the tool.
Last night was different.
I left my cell phone out of the room because I wanted to feel that space between dreaming and waking.
That groggy awakening.
I don't want to immediately wonder what's happening in the world, placing myself in a virtual reality that isn’t even my life.
I want to connect to what’s happening in my inner world.

That is luxury, I think, the decadence of connecting to the inner world, and in doing so feeling connected to the collective.

Let us care about each other. 
We are in this together.