It’s OK to not be OK.

Art by Tran Nguyen

I couldn’t sleep the past few days.

Perhaps the new moon was calling my name.

Perhaps my hair was on fire.

Or perhaps it was the heat, the wildfires, the drenching rain, the ass-kicking hurricanes, or the overflowing Covid wards.

Was it the anti-intellectual, anti-science, anti-common sense I saw on full display everywhere I turned that made me too wired to sleep?

Was it the toddler who drowned a week ago in a basement apartment in Queens, NY?


Or maybe it’s just the sense that absolutely no one is OK right now.

And that’s OK.

That’s to be expected.

Our way of life is dying.

We cannot ‘return to normal.’ Normal is long gone.

We’re in the midst of spiritual surgery.

We’re being split open and dissected and reformed and reassembled as something we’ve never been before.

We’re awakening from a long, tumultuous, unconscious, irresponsible slumber.

For some of us, we knew this was coming.

For others, it is a bit of a shock. And still others are resisting it with every ounce of strength and rage and bad behavior they can muster.

We all possess free will. Nobody has to get wise in this life.

But, if you ask me, the survival of the earth and the human race and every tree and insect and alligator depend on our awakening.

So, we’d better start waking the fuck up.

“It is through gratitude for the present moment that the spiritual dimension of life opens up.” – Eckhart Tolle

I realize I am in a state of profound and prolonged grief.

I grieve the loss of life from the pandemic. I grieve for my best friend as she mourns losing her husband of 20 years to pancreatic cancer. I grieve my mother’s forgetfulness. I try not to notice the difficulty she has finding words now. She sits through meals out at restaurants, mutely eating her food, never joining the conversation because she cannot find words anymore for what she wants to say.

I grieve my tender old dog and raggedy cat, getting more fragile with each passing day.

I grieve the world I grew up in, the world where people didn’t blow themselves up and kill hundreds of people they’ve never met, thinking that was the way to handle conflict.

We’ve forgotten that we are all in this together.

We rise and fall together.

None of us will survive if we don’t start to understand this.

So, I am making lists of what I can do.

I can’t control everything but I can control my immediate surroundings. I can donate to the food bank. I can clean out my closets and give away what I don’t use. I can meditate and raise my vibration. I can pray for wholeness. I can read and watch uplifting or enlightening materials.

I can comfort my friends, my mother, my critters.

I can be kind, even when someone’s behaving like a horse’s ass.

“In the place of stillness, rises potential. From the place of potential, emerges possibility. Where there is possibility, there is choice, and where there is choice, there is freedom!” – Gabrielle Goddard

I can fight for women’s sovereignty.

I can work for the passage of the ERA. I can protect women’s rights to bodily autonomy and health care.

I can raise my voice and speak my truth.

The loudest voices are not the ones who speak the truth.

The truth lives in stillness, silence. It walks on quiet feet. It isn’t ostentatious or brash or narcissistic.

In a world full of bloviating talking heads and bullshit broadcasters, pay attention to those who are helping, those who are writing letters, those who are holding peoples’ hands, and those who are delivering hot meals to folks with nothing. Pay attention to small gestures. Pay attention to those saving rivers and animals and cultures and sustainable ways of life.

No, we’re not OK.

But, if we each do something, something graceful, something kind, something small, then perhaps we will be.

© 2021 Shavawn M. Berry All rights reserved

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