When I was younger, the church ladies would say to each other, “It’s snowing down south” when they wanted to let a sister know that her slip was showing. For those of you who don’t know what a slip is, it’s basically an undergarment that people wear so that others can’t see all your business through sheer fabrics, generally a dress or skirt. In a round about, quarantined mind type of way, I can hear the covid virus saying to the world, “It’s snowing down south. You’re racism is showing.”
Unlike many of my friends and colleagues around the world, I’m having a lovely time sheltering in place. I am not being productive. I am not learning a new language. I am not writing that novel, even though I have about 10 in my mental chamber ready to fire off when the world isn’t in a collective panic. I am being.
I understand there to be many schools of thought regarding how everyone should be spending their time as we give social spaciousness a go in what some might call these last and evil days. Another church reference for you. And while resource lists are being created that reference other growing resource lists about how you can find virtual meditation groups, or 5 quick breathing exercises to get you through, or relief funds to apply for, and so on, people are getting overwhelmed and overstimulated at a time that calls for internal housekeeping.
I myself offer private, virtual sessions for guided meditation and other telemedicine and what I’m seeing in a lot of us is this trend of wanting to get through the hard stuff and not realizing that the hard stuff is where our focus should be.
Many of us are affected by this virus and it feels like the connection is moving from 6 degrees of separation to zero degrees. When it began, I knew people that knew people who were affected. Now, I know people who have the virus and these people are in my inner circle. This is tough. There is no way to approach this from anything near normalcy. We have not been here before. This is new ground we are breaking.
Amidst all the fear and anger, we are not actually processing. This is a normal trauma response. There is no denying that what we are all experiencing is a global trauma. The world has been in constant turmoil since homosapiens started their ascent to their self-imposed title of “top of the food chain”. There are centuries of unresolved trauma that reside in our DNA. It’s that deeply embedded. So on some level, we have always been in our trauma. But this is distinct from the rest. If we didn’t have the tools to sit with our trauma before, we certainly don’t have the tools to deal with this. That’s why we see so much information flying around. We just don’t know what’s happening or how to deal. And that is ok, family. We are ok.
I’m not here to shame or blame. We can be very resourceful when we need to be as humans. I would like to offer something a little bit different.
I’m inviting us to be. Mindfulness is real and it’s deep. It goes deeper to the heart of what is happening. I’m seeing us trying to meditate out of the pain, anger, and grief. I’m seeing us busying ourselves providing services and resources so we can numb the feelings that are coming up. My invitation is to sit in it. Be with it. Don’t get up from the table until you have been served your portion for the day. If you get up too soon or move away from feeling the fear, deep sadness, grief, loneliness, or some amazing mixed cocktail of all of these, you will have to deal with it all at a later time and it will be even more intense. The toxicity level rises on all of these unresolved emotions the longer they are avoided. Right now, in this moment, you can cry your eyes out so that later you don’t have to deal with physical manifestations of your grief. Or you can put it off until your body can no longer offer the protection it once did. Emotions have a “sell by” date and you don’t want to eat that shit once it’s spoiled. Facts.
My heart goes out to those who are quarantined with abusive parents or partners. I cannot imagine it. My prayers are that you find an escape soon. Please know that you are not alone in this and that many of us are holding space for you. There are resources out there for you.
It’s snowing down south. What does this have to do with anything? Maybe it was just a clever intro. Maybe it connects only in my addled brain, because I am not excluded from practicing any of this. I am deep in it and I want you to be there with me. It’s snowing down south.
Covid 19 is exposing us all, child. While Black, Indigenous, and other marginalized peoples have been telling this story with our murdered and missing bodies, Covid is making everyone see how white supremacy and her sons, capitalism and patriarchy, are destroying us all. All of a sudden, white US citizens are fleeing their country of origin for safety. Where you gonna go, Kate? This is a pandemic. Those in power (mostly white) are not immune, but are still holding on to old paradigms where they recapture their dying, toxic hold on privilege. They are being exposed to the world. I just read today that French assho…I mean, doctors, are actually considering testing vaccines on Africans. Yoooooo!!
Even within communities of color, we are upholding these antiquated and unsustainable norms. That’s why memes are flying around about how you can be productive during this time of global mourning. That’s white supremacy. It’s snowing down south. Your humanity cannot be denied any more. If you have the capacity to be productive, you aren’t getting gold stars from me. I’m happy for you AND it’s not something to brag about. People are out here dying, entire countries have put up the “closed” sign, economies shmeconomies. The system that has been broken for so long has now, flat out, gone into cardiac arrest.
We are going to be ok, my loves. We are.
Ok, maybe we won’t right away. People don’t like change and will try to defibrillate the dying systems, as they always do. But I don’t think it will recover. Maybe I’m being idealistic. Maybe. This is definitely a chance for things to change. I hope we can make it happen.
So how do you sit in it? Here are some ways that have helped me.
Grab a stuffed animal. Hold onto it. Hug it. Cuddle it. Wipe your tears with it. Just let it out.
Do some role playing. Grab an empty chair or a picture of someone that you need to have a conversation with and have that conversation. Let them know how they hurt you. Let them know how you feel. Release it. In the present, you can talk to capitalism, racism, covid 19, and the list goes on.
Beat the stuffing out of a pillow. You will have to clean that up, though. Unless you have kids. Make the kids do it. No. Please don’t do that.
Connect with your people. Virtual conversations are happening more and more. All the social media apps have a video chat feature. Reach out and have conversations about how you can’t handle any of this. Let your family know that you care. Share with other humans your strength in being vulnerable. It’s always amazing to choose to be vulnerable with someone. What a gift. Vulnerable doesn’t mean you are weak. It doesn’t. Just look up anything by Brene Brown on the webs. She will tell you all about it, in detail.
Do you know what the ladies would do when they were told it was snowing down south? They would excuse themselves and go into a private space to adjust their undergarments. I remember many times when my mother just took off her slip altogether. It was easier to remove an ill-fitting ideal (garment) than to keep fighting to keep it in place. Message.
My deepest desire is for all of us, every single living being, to be happy. In the way of Indigenous thinking, all my relations refers to human, plant, and animal beings. That’s an entire conversation that I could have with you, but I’ll just say this. If we can get to a place where we can metabolize our own trauma and emotions, then we begin to make space in our nervous systems to respond in different and healthier ways. We learn the wisdom of spaciousness of thought so that we can process new things with a lens of abundance and not lack or fear. That in turn creates space within other beings to do the same. And if we humans can get our shit together, undo the chaos we have created, that reverberates to our plant and animal relatives. We all might just be able to be happy.
Samuel, this is so beautiful. I’m so grateful for you and this offering. Thank you so much for it. I see you. May you and all beings be safe, free and find ease. Also- love the slip metaphor!