Asking for help is not really my cup of tea. I don’t know if it is my upbringing, or that I am a guy, and you just don’t do that, but … I am not good at it, and often to my own detriment. If only I had reached out my hand, or asked a question, connected to someone else, than I would have given another person the opportunity to do something for me, and have allowed myself to receive something from them.
Growing up in The Netherlands, whenever we ran out of sugar or salt or butter, and the stores had already closed at 6pm that day, or on a Sunday, we would just knock on our neighbor’s door, and ask if they could spare some. And almost always they could. It was a simple gesture of helping each other out, whenever we could.
It was all so normal. And I am happy to say I could do the same with my neighbors in Brooklyn, and now here in the East Bay. It is a great start. Now, my neighbor is bringing me avocados, because they have too many, and don’t want them to rot away. (And we give them of our abundance of Swiss chard and cilantro.) Receiving that gift, though, was a challenge at first.
So here we are, still inside, reassessing our lives, our ways of living, our ways of treating the Earth, and each other. Just a little longer. Yes, it is time to deal with everything that we, personally and as a society, kept sweeping under the rug: the socio-economic disparities based on lies and blatant racism, and our destruction of Mother Earth, stripping her of all her resources, exploiting her with detrimental effects for all of us, as a local and a global community, to just name a few.
During the shelter-in-place we had a chance to rearranging our lives, in a practical way, but our spirits were challenged as well. It brought about a mental health crisis that you hear about almost daily on the news. And the destructive effects of it: increased crime, suicides, domestic violence etc.
And… being where we are, we don’t have to go it alone. This is our chance to rebuild our community. We have the possibility to reach out to each other. It takes courage, to acknowledge that we, personally and as a society, are running up against some walls, and need the input of others. It takes courage to bypass the feelings of shame and guilt that have been installed from an early age on, because the “American Dream” told us that we as individuals have to do it alone. It did not teach us to ask for help within our community when we needed it. Quite the opposite. It would judge us as “weak”, based on a false sense of pride, and superiority.
As a person and as a healer, I had to make similar decisions as anyone else. I got stuck, felt I was not moving forward; I was looking for something more, inside my heart, and around me with the ones I love and cherish, family and friends. It took me some time to ask some of my fellow healers for help. I had to get over myself, and my programming of doing it all by myself. I had to talk about what bothered me, and ask for help, for input, a fresh insight into me-being-me. I had to surrender to someone I trust, and allow them to share their insights from a place of love. Unconditional love.
So here I am, so here we are. To move forward, to change our behaviors, we need to enter unknown territories, often accompanied by some level of fear of that unknown. We have a chance to make a difference, though. Yes, we can acknowledge the fear, and use our courage to get beyond it.
Our worries about our realities of lack of food, heat, water, about lack of documents, work, about abuse, racism, yes it is all there. It is real, and it is a challenge! And… we have a chance to deal with it, and heal it, for ourselves, our loved ones, and our community at large. One day at a time. And… we can ask for help! Yes, we can! There are people within and outside our community that can help, that will help, and that will do the best they can to help us move forward.
There is no magic bullet for anything, but there is the (often covered-up) magic of our shared humanity, and a little bit more patience that we learned over the past year, that will help us move forward together. Reach out your hand, ask a question, connect to someone, give another person the opportunity to do something for you, and allow yourself to receive something from them. Try it! Your heart will be better for it!
One day at a time.
There are many ways to look at death, but what our western culture has done is that it has moved death into the wings, into the background of life, even off the stage of our life, denying its existence, out of fear.
A year into the pandemic, we have seen more death around us than many years before: more than 465.000 fellow Americans lost their life to this virus. Dis-ease and death are here. Every day. On tv. In our family, our neighborhood. Among our friends. My brother got covid, my daughter did. Thank God they both survived. Not everyone is that fortunate. One of my partner’s friends lost 3 family members in 1 night!
Death has always been around us, with or without a pandemic. Everyday our day dies, with the birth of the night, and with the birth of the day, the night dies. The summer dies and becomes the fall; the fall dies and becomes the winter; the winter dies and becomes the Spring. The days, nights and seasons are transitioning into another. Death is there, even though we may not recognize it as such. Death really is transition, from one place, one state of consciousness, to another.
Death is out there, and death is also within us. Our skin dies every 7 days. We go through internal transitions too, letting “our old self die” so we can develop into our new self. We transition the moment we are conceived, we transition when we are born, we transition when we go to our first day in school, we transition when we fall in love for the first time, we transition when we become parents (literally or figuratively), we transition when we become elders, and we transition when we die.
Every night when we go to sleep we are practicing the first stages of dying, transition from our waking hours to our sleeping hours: We will get heavy, we stop moving, our temperature changes and then our breath changes. Just not till death, but every night we, often subconsciously, rehearse transitioning from life to death.
Death is within our dreams too. The wise people in the ancient indigenous traditions teach us that dying in our dreams, in our subconscious during the night, is actually a positive thing! It means that something inside of us, that we no longer need, has passed on; we can now, in our waking hours, live free from it, and move closer to what we are meant to do, fulfilling our life’s purpose.
Talking about death makes me conscious about so much to be grateful for, of what I have, of what I can experience: life, family, friends (even over zoom/FaceTime!), health, a purpose to live for. Life without death seems not possible they are 2 sides of the same coin. Just like night and day. Death as part of life encourages me to live more fully, more consciously, from my heart.
Yesterday I spoke with my mentor. Yes, I have a mentor. Not only for my healing practice, as a spiritual endeavor, but also one as an entrepreneurial endeavor.
I had not done my homework, and he told me to focus. Put a note up above your desk, he said, with the word FOCUS on it! Then he told me with a smile that I am my own worst enemy. Sounds familiar?
I was reminded of that this morning again. I have been doing healings for people long distance, for people in LA with covid, in New York, in Europe. I don’t always hear back from people so I sometimes doubt the healing work I do. This morning I heard back from a client in LA that I had worked on yesterday. She has covid and pneumonia. The first session had lowered her fever, yesterday, though still needing oxygen at home, she had been able to sleep for the first time till 5am this morning.
It made me very happy. “This shit works”, I told my girlfriend, who is a healer too, and we both laughed. How easy is it to doubt ourselves, to give in to that internal thought, that internal enemy that tells us we are not good enough… What does that enemy know? Really? It isn’t me, though it pretends to.
My mentor reminded me who I was. That is what mentors do. They recognize your humanity, your potential. They are mostly older people (2 of my mentors are in their mid-seventies), and they all have something to share, and they want to share. Why don’t we more often tap into that wisdom of older people? Because we want to stay young? Older people are often written off, put away, forgotten, no longer of use in our productivity-demanding industrial society. But what about their treasures of human wisdom, of human experience? What about that? Are we just going to let that go to waste?
Our new president is the oldest one ever, 78 years old. I probably will not agree with everything he will do, but I do know he is a man of real life experience, humility, wisdom, and even more important, who cherishes humanity. In everyone. Because he knows from experience what it means to be human. You only had to watch the inauguration and see the diversity of people that spoke and sang! THAT is what will build our future blessings together, because that is what we share in essence: our humanity!
2021: Keeping the Dream alive!
Dear friends and family:
2020… what is there still to say? We all lived it with our loved ones, as we also mourn the loss of so many on our planet, in our country, our neighborhood or family. For one or other reason we made it through.
So, why are we still here? In my humble opinion, it is because the world still needs us, people close to us still need us. They need our light, our love, they need our sense of humor, as dark as our humor sometimes may be. We survived in order to continue sharing our gift(s). Each and single one of us.
What is my gift, you might ask? If you don't know right away, ask your friends, your family, your neighbors… because we ALL have at least one! We want to be aware of it, so we can shine it brighter, to more people than ever.
As we shine brighter, we are also able to receive the light and love from others, allowing ourselves to be nourished by it, as we're going through this essential transition, becoming more human. I know, we are not there yet, but if we ride this wave, and fill it with compassion, we will get through this. Together.
I like the hummingbird as a metaphor! In the Toltec tradition it is called Huitzilopochtli, and it is the symbol of the Rising Sun, and of “making the impossible possible”, since it is the only bird that can fly backwards….! As an inspiring symbol it can strengthen our willpower and discipline.
Let’s dream with that hummingbird in mind, and pay attention to our dreams! They are the key to our light! Our dreams and our Light are all we really have! Keep them going! Plant new dreams with your Light! Let’s make the impossible possible in 2021, and keep our negative thinking from becoming self-fulfilling prophecies! It’s up to us! Each single one of us!
Use your gift(s), for you and for your loved ones! Shine your Light on the world around you! Build your (new) dream in 2021! Any adversity or challenges will make us stronger, more humble, more human!
Let’s build this dream together! (If you need a helping hand, please lmk!)
Sending you Love, Light and Laughter for now and the year to come!
Stay healthy, safe, compassionate and together!
"When we take a step, the whole world rises to meet the sole of your feet” - Susan Moon
Its an understatement that we live in challenging times. The amount of people needing financial, emotional and spiritual support grows with the day. Some see the changes we go through and adjust, others see it and resist, while others close their eyes for it. There is a major cosmic shift happening on this planet, that has been forecasted almost 500 years ago, when Spain invaded this continent. It has been written about, and forgotten, but Cuauthemoc did give an idea what we would go through in the year 2020/2021: there will be a response from the earth to how we treated her (pandemic); our economy would collapse; there would be solar flares disturbing our communications, and there would be people in the streets... Sounds all familiair? No, this is not a conspiracy theory, it was a forecast based on astronomy, the larger cycles in the Universe, and the Aztec calendar. No, no reason to panic, or be afraid either, just an encouragement to keep your eyes open to awaken to what is happening in the Universe. Our Universe, called planet Earth. It's called the transition from the Fifth to the Sixth Sun. It's a transition from a time filled with anger, exploitation by some, and health experts and god outside ourselves, to a time where we look for answers inside ourselves, where we will be able to feel and know what is good for our health by feeling our bodies, where god is also inside of us, and where community takes a bigger place. We are already in this transition, just look around. Yoga has gotten a bigger place in our society, attempting to uniting body, mind and soul. New forms of community have been created, and spirituality is growing. The transition is not yet complete. We have some cleaning up to do, to get rid of some old patterns, that have been around for many generations. We can heal these ancestors, and their destructive patterns (and honor the loving patterns that they shared with us!). This weekend we honor our ancestors, in El Dia de los Muertos, or on All Souls Day, or on Halloween, when the veil between the worlds of life and death is thinnest. Death is transition, it is transformation, inherent to life. When something inside of us dies, it opens a space to grow and blossom something new.Even after our physical death! Thank you ancestors, who made our life possible, in so many ways. Who gave us the spirit to continue the work they started, the communities they and we are growing up in, where there is a place for everyone. Its an honoring of all life! As challenging as it may be. Life is in the heart, not in the head, and our heart is what we can share with others. It does not cost anything, besides a little energy. You don't need to be someone in a certain way. We can all share our heart with anyone around us, be it our partners, kids, parents, neighbors, friends etc. In the end, HEART is all we have. Let's continue to share it! This year, next year, and build a joint future based on our hearts!
In the days following my move to a neighboring town in Cali, 8 stunningly beautiful Monarch butterflies (4 boys, 4 girls) came out of their transparent cocoon. Before taking off for a life out with Mother Nature, they dried their vibrantly colored wings in the morning sun. Their departure often was alternated with the arrival of the first hummingbirds of the day, signs that this day the impossible was possible again.
Jacques Burgering is an intuitive healer with an active healing practice in New York City and East Bay, CA,. He teaches.healing workshops in the USA , New Zealand and in Europe, as well as online.