Does this nourish and support you or cause you suffering?
Do you understand the basic hierarchies of belonging and is this in your awareness as you go about your daily life?
These are the questions I am asking and offering this month along with a nice long read, hope you will bear with me…
As our entire family recovers from COVID-19*, one thing we know is how truly and deeply and thoroughly we belong to each other; our recent hardship really clarified this. In recovery mode we are slow and lazy, we are careful about our time and how we use our energy…puttering about today Lily and I harvested the mallow, set it to dry, and began on the artemesia…we pop in and out of the puppy pen for laughs and snuggles. Lazing about while 8 puppies move from frenzied eaters and players to fully crashed out babies…deeply sweet…
The puppies, our whole pack of 12 dogs really, are teaching us so much about another thing that’s been on my mind and heart a lot lately…BELONGING.
Our dogs are a pack. There’s a hierarchy everyone adheres to…well, then it all shifted with the arrival of the puppies…Luna the alpha, still the alpha but also now defers to Sasha, mama of the puppies, regarding everything puppy. Sasha, formerly Maggie’s main mama figure and playmate has completely stepped away from this role; cannot be enticed to play with or groom Maggie – which baffles her. For the rest of us, that this mama dog is feeding and caring for 8 puppies is mind blowing! Meanwhile Xerxes, our adopted dog, who previously struggled with pack life is finding his place of belonging via his newfound “uncle” role with the puppies. While Luna has been the alpha and led the charge to protect the land, losing her partner, Sasha, to motherhood, has made her job overwhelming-their partnership is essential to the task. For the 1st time in 6 summers, deer are eating our fruit trees, bears are hurting the orchards and getting much closer in…WHOA. Now, what does this have to do with BELONGING?!
Somehow the honesty with which our dogs take their place in their community, adapt, and regroup for the good of the whole feel like lessons humans are struggling with right now—mostly because, unlike the dogs, we think we have a choice in the matter. Because we believe we have choice, we inadvertently dishonor the irrefutable natural structures of Life itself. Strife, separation, and pain between us as a “pack” rises as a result.
We have destroyed our sense of belonging—to people, to places– so thoroughly that this has disrupted our understanding of the innate order of things and willingness/ability to take our rightful places in all the groups we belong to.
*I know there are so many narratives about COVID, I imagine they are ALL true. I think there is also a lots of biased information circulating from all directions as far as I can tell…COVID is real, lives are being lost and impacted; our entire worlds have been upended by COVID, this is not in question for me BUT how we are collectively managing fear is in question as is how media and leadership are manipulating our vulnerability. I tenderly recognize that COVID has directly impacted all of us in challenging and painful ways including maybe killing or seriously harming loved ones in our lives.
I choose to share that we have had COVID as it is important that we take our place among the 700 million (and still climbing) who have had COVID and recovered—this is just an estimate with all the “facts” and figures out there…
There is so much fear– valid fear—around this illness and our deep caution and care about this and for each other is critical.
Here’s our story in case it offers perspective of some kind: it knocked us out, we needed help taking care of ourselves for a few days, we got that help, and we recovered. Lily barely got sick, not even a fever; it looked identical to a little summer cold—and it was still COVID. I have definitely had worse flus, I have definitely had worse respiratory symptoms, and it sucked. I still have almost no sense of smell and my lungs feel vulnerable—I have asthma and it’s smoky outside so these are factors as well.
COVID, and these challenging times have a lot to teach us, I hope and pray we are listening and learning beyond the sides we have chosen and how each of us is responding to this tender world-changing event.
P.S. If you are inspired to read more of my writings, you can find them at https://lexidelgado.com/writings/
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