The Best Things Aren't Things

“Psychological scars and emotional traumas exist where life tried to break a person open to the heights and depths of the human soul. The places where we each suffer in life can become the metaphorical ground on which we reflect upon our “informal initiations.” ~ Michael Meade, The Water of Life: Initiation and the Tempering of the Soul

We are living in an amazing time of great chaos and change and light. This shift has been underway for quite some time. When I look around, I see the varying ways that people are dealing (or not dealing) with the changes. Those who are most adaptable and able to shift from one way of being will have a much easier time than those whose lives have calcified into a form that no longer serves them, or serves the collective. We are moving from a competitive way of life, into a collaborative, compassionate way of life. For some, this feels like the end of the world. For some, this is the end of the world. For others, this is a leap into an unknown chasm, but the excitement and the hope it offers is enough. We are experiencing a death and a rebirth almost simultaneously.

Our society as it is is sick.  

It is a twisted, rootless thing that has stopped growing.  As such, it will wither and die, unless we change.  Transformation is crucial.  We must experience a shedding of what’s no longer working. It is a birth that must happen.  It simply must.  Sandy Hook was part of that.  The breakdown of our economy is part of that.  The conversation about violence is part of that. We are being initiated into living in consciousness.

Remaining unconscious is no longer an option.


My mom — who is 78 — has been sick all month. First, she got some sort of flu, then the doctor put her on high blood pressure meds, then they said she was diabetic and added more meds until she got to the point that she couldn’t keep any food down. She finally stopped taking all the meds, and her appetite returned. In the interim, she’d lost sixteen pounds. In a month. She decided to see a naturopathic doctor. (A notion I encouraged.) Then, on Thursday she was sold some food that had gone bad. She ended up in the ER with food poisoning. Although she’s frail, I realize she’s processing and letting a tremendous amount of old emotional garbage go right now. Sometimes illness brings gifts. Hers made her realize that she needs to live the life she wants in the time she has left.  She told me, through her tears, “Don’t wait to do what you want.  Don’t wait.  Do it now.”

And the plain truth is, no matter what age we are, now is the only moment we have.  None of us — young or old — know when we will cross the river of death.  There are no guarantees of a requisite amount of time.  There is just what we do with the time we are given.

The best things in life aren’t things.  They are the complex relationships and experiences we are given on a daily basis. Raw, messy, painful love. Heartbreak. Birth. Death. The chance to touch another human being. They are present in our beloved pets, in crisp pink clouds at dawn, and in the wild beauty of the desert swirling with bright stars.  They glow inside the limited number of chances we have to tell our mothers (or fathers) we love them.  They live inside the quiet willingness we exhibit in risking our hearts, in being seen, in openly giving of ourselves without expectation of a return.


Who looks outside dreams; who looks inside, awakes. ~ Carl Jung

So, as we enter the age of Aquarius each one of us has a decision to make. Do we add to the light in the world, or do we revel in the dark? Do we clean up our messes and live in conscious reverence or do we blame others for our troubles? Do we kvetch and piss and moan?  Or do we enrich the dialogue that is so desperately needed now and make the world better? Everyday we choose.  We choose to enter the fray and grow or to stand on the sidelines thinking that someone else (some deity or government official or big mam-mu) will solve our problems.

Truth is, we are the people we have been waiting for.  

Truth is, we’ve always known this.

© 2012  Shavawn M. Berry All rights reserved

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2 thoughts on “Initiations

  1. “Truth is, we’ve always known this.” Nice addendum to the “We are the people…” campaign slogan that, truth is, we appear to have forgotten at the end of the campaign.

  2. Well, my hope is that the people reading this blog haven’t forgotten that, Jerry. We will have to wait and see I guess!

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