Thursday 15 September
By Francesco Benvenuti
(* Trigger warning : This blog post contain some graphic content, in relation to wildlife loss, which may be upsetting to some people*)
Good morning life.. As I look at the colours of autumn colouring the hills, nature reminds me that everything grows, blossoms and changes at his own speed. Playful patterns of decay, rumbling storms clearing the way.
When we look at a patch of forest some plants are losing theire leaves faster, some are just starting to turn yellow and brown, other smaller trees, seem to be holding on to the hope for some extra green leaves time to maximize the last delicious harvest of late summer sun. Then there are the evergreens, these who are slow and steady, the creepers, which are reveleade as the canopy fall away for the new season and which welcome the colder temperature to take their sunrays’ pick
A myriads of colours, the expression of trees’ grief, leafy falling tears, and different speed are the expression of the uniqueness of each patch of forest, of each tree, each eco-community, each branch, leaves, cells.
All is individually changing, mutating, transmuting, yet controlled by a much larger network and matrix of life that is overarching and leading us, like trees losing their leaves, to loose what we do not need to carry, with deep aknowledgment that that was once useful, it served us, so that we can honour it as it is shed into the rotting pile of humus and mud.It must feel sad for all these trees to lose what once was their proud lion’s mane, to let their canopy fall apart and remain bare and drear. Yet nothing is but part of a cycle, within the awareness that sadness , loss and change are just an intricate and unavoidable part of the picture.
From the mud the Lotus grow in its full beauty, and we have been training in this art of renewal for all our live, and many lifetimes before if you believe in reincarnation.
We can simply look and absorb the energy of the surrounding natural season, this autumnal “vibe”, and let it permeate us, beyond opinion of what is right or wrong..
Reconecting to what is truly unavoidably true, which is beyond words, COVID-judgements and comparison, can help us feel connected to ourself, the way we grown, the way we develop as this beautiful human beings that we are..
“We are all unique, many different strings of the same violin bow”
In the same time as in a forest different plants and trees grow at different speeds, with different qualities, in different directions, showcasing different colours and proprieties, blossom at different times, so each and everyone of us is unique, and comparing ourselves to other is simply silly, using a corrupted metric of success, and most often put us in a place of self-pity and insecurity.. We are beautiful as we are, with all our imperfection, our holy leaves (leaves with holes and imperfections)
When we dare asking to the external environment, nature, as well as our internal environment and cellular communities, to tune into each others, so that we can learn to effortless identify and move beyong our resistance, we open ourselves up subconsciously to be played and vibrated as a string of this shared cosmic violin.
Allowing our vibration, our essence, to stand out at moments, to rest in other times, to contribute to harmonies and dissonances as part of the whole melody. Yet we can remain seated beyond polarity and the arrogance of assuming that we are the only right string on this cosmic violin, and that there shouild be only one type of sound in the universe. Can we step beyond the polarity of seeing the reality as good or bad? Can we truly surrender to what our destiny is? what is destiny after all? Is that a hippy floppy concept? Or maybe we can give it the meaning that we want?
“Reclaiming our power and unique truth”
So many people right now feeling out of their power, being pulled away from their centre and from their heart’s longing, by a collective schizophrenia, by skewed points of view, by corrupted relationship with ego, money, power, death and sexuality.
I do not thing we can fix things, that I can change this world and the system. As the system is the very machine that lead us where we are. It’s too “late” to bring back some of the things we have lost (for instance species extinction cannot be reversed). I feel that there are forces too great and stuck in greed and arrogance, disconnection and profound lack of self-worth that keep turning the capitalistic machine’s clogs & mechanisms into the same “senseless” direction.
What can we do?
I feel that what we can do is to stand strong in our own integrity, to find our centre, and to act from it with love and desire to give and share. To create island of playful, humorous, collaborative sanity, among the chaos. To be lighthouses of our communities , pillar emitting the resonance we would like to see take over the world. To keep noticing all these masks we have learnt to inadvertently put on every morning. To keep shedding these masks to reveal our true essence, that essence we were born with as innocent children, star children with a soul purpose bigger than our individual egoic aspirations.
“Reconnecting to our inner child, our inner Joy, Passion and Purpose”
Let’s take a ride on that old abbandoned swing hanging down from that tall, now bare, tree branch. Let’s find what reconnect us to our joy and playfulness to give us the motivation and strength, that fuel to move toward something we want, in true love, not away from something we judge harshly and despise.
Let’s give energy to new systems, and the work starts within ourselves first. From your inner child, from seeing and aknowledging the traumas and circumstances that have led us to be who and where we are, from the humbleness of not assuming to know the full REAL picture of it all. Let’s lay bathing in some mystery, and keep the doors opening to any daily insights on how to become a better version of ourselves, everyday.
Standing into ideals of integrity, collaboration over competition, unconditional living compassion, simplicity, true abundance (beyond money), solidarity, friendship, kinship, beyond success paradigms imprinted onto us by a disconnected system which erased diversity and inter-connectivity from the face of this mother Earth we all share.
Can you believe that we keep judging ourselves , and measuring our SUCCESS, based on the values impinged onto us by a system which has erased 70% of biodiversity from the face of the planet in less than 50 years, in the name of profit, personal gain and abuse of what has been sacred to many culture outside of that system?
Let’s stop judging ourselves, judging others, let’s take responsibility for our grief and emotions, and work with it, work together, work from a place of hope and not despair, and where we can and are resourced enough, from love and compassion, rather than anger and fear. Taking responsibility means to embrace an Ability to respond, and not react to what is happening. And an honourable response could be to simply stop and Feel.
Rather than keep doing doing doing doing, all the time (Yang = doing, Yin= rest). If we keep running around all the times, we can contribute to keep tilting the balance toward a more YANG and active society, which is the very roots of the disconnect and imbalances we are experiencing.
Yet, there is a change that is coming, I can feel it in the leaves falling from the majestic oak trees, in the signs that I perceive from my personal connection to the divine (that nobody can debate against or take away from me), to that mystery, in the many act of kindness and altruism that I see.
Letting go of Grief can free up space for the New to come in… but we need to shed the old first
What I also see is that there is an ocean of grief that stand in between us and the version of the world we would like to see. An Ocean of Grief so large, shared by so many beings, that we have become afraid of even looking at it .
We subconsciously embrace the paradigm that “Crying is embarassing”! Crying is for women, Men don’t cry, Crying is weak, do not express weakness”.
This is just all the unhelpful programming that we have been absorbing since we were born, from a system which could not take responsibility for the damage it has been doing to itself.
It become too much to truly connect to that pain and grief . It became easier to keep hiding it and pushing it into the deepest caves of our subconscious, in the hidden chambers of our heart. Easier than looking at this grief into its face and experiencing it. A fear that this grief would take us over if we dare to let it out is too big. We are afraid of feeling.
I am afraid of feeling, as if I was going to feel paid for each species going extinct on a daily basis I would probably not be able to function (I tell myself).
Yet the space to hide this grief, has been running out. And the time is ripe now to relearn how to safely open the dam of this grief, and to let it wash away with grace these barricades to love and full heart-expression we are experiencing in our lives.
We can learn to use the accumulated power and potential of all our grief, to fuel us, emptying us from the old baggages, and leaving space for new energy, ideas, inspiration to come in, like a new fresh breeze.
Grief as a flavour of true Love
How can we truly be ourselves and connect to our joy, to that inner child joy and playfulness, if we do not truly connect and also honour that Grief and sadness, rooted in true love for what has been lost, and what is being lost?
While “loosing” is a loose term (Are trees “Loosing” their leaves, or are they simply accepting that letting them go is an unavoidable investment into their own regrowth next year?). So is there any such thing as truly losing, can we lose a loved one? Or are we simply living a feeling of separation which is momentary, in the awareness that there will once be a moment of re-union into the cycle of this mysterious life and after/cyclical life?
Yet, as native american tribal elder and leader Martin Pretchel put so beautifully into his talk “Grief and Praise” (you can find it here, it’s amazing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h6h3JNOCTYc), grieving is a flavour of Love, an intricate and necessary expression of the value and appreciation for what has momentarily “switched off” as one of the living unique expression of the universal energy. We grieve what we have lost, as we loved it deeply..
Yet many of us have lost our ability to Grieve, to cry from our belly, Sobbying and lay in a puddle of our own tears and snot, letting our diaphragm pulsate and release the accumulated psychosomatic tension, especially these soul identifying as men in the western society..
As in the partriarchic world we have oppressed the feminine and rejected, abused and controlled the emotioanl feminine side of life. We would not have been able to commit all the atrocieties that have been committed, keep accepting the loss of human lives, the extintion of species, if we truly were in touch with our emotions.
I hence chose to bow deep to my loving partner, who in her deep feminine power is allowing me to connect to these emotions, starting from caring and crying for a single roadkill on the road, as all life is one, and all life is important as it is interconnected in the web of life.
Simple symbolic actions of integrity, flags toward the “new way”
The photo below, which might be upsetting to some, I took as a memoir and as a stance of a little ceremony that I did for a mother fox who was hit and left dead in the road in front of my house. I reflected upon whether to include this image or not, yet I felt it was important to honour death and all taboo surrounding this topic, especially in a blog post about grief.
Hit by a car, killed and left there in the middle of the road, ready to be ran over again by desensitised humans in metal boxes with wheels and engines, which unavoidable tend to increase their sense of isolation and disconnection from what true life is.
Would you guys leave a dead HUMAN in the middle of the road to be ran over into fleshy mush of hairs and bones? Why nobody does that for animals, for other creatures? How many road kills are we seeing in the middle of the road?
Although in some situation is too hard and dangerous to stop on a road to attend to a road-killed animal, in general we see ourselves (humans) as most important, in the distorted dystopian idea that humans are a better evolved species (which has been leading its civilisation to collapse). Hence, wanting to embody what I would like to see more in the world I made a choice to take a meaningful small symbolic action, to take this fox with honour and care, drive her 2 hours into the Scottish hills, dig a hole and gave her a farewell ritual, a ceremony asking for forgiveness for all life that is loss, abused and unappreciated, to the hands of humans.
Is this “Hippy” action going to change the world? Does it make any difference in the great scheme of potential ecosystem and social collapse?
Well, maybe not within the system that we could be “fighting” against. Yet YES in the new dream for the new reality I would like to keep nurturing. Yes in my self, as it allowed me to shed some tears, to connect to something that I inadvertently and subconsciously try to avoid all the time: FEELING.
Yes as it allowed me to reconnect to my inner child, the child that loved all animals as the most wonderful creation of the divinity. Yes, for that Child within me that remember the first time he saw a real fox, and the sense of wonder, giggles and joy that it brought up from deep within his tiny heart.
Hence, to finish, I bow deep to all women, to the sacred feminine, and as a cis man I apologise from my heart for all the damage that an uncontrolled YANG patriarchal society has done to our Mother Earth.. A corrupted Masculine which I am trying everyday to bring more into balance into myself, that masculine that would like to express grief more than it does and that can learn a lot from true feminine wisdom. Feminine wisdom that is already within and just need to be given expression and space. A deep apology for the rape of mother earth’s resources and a renewed commitment to remember the original innocence of EVERY SINGLY child arriving in this universe, being born through a Mother.
Grief is in the air (i.e. Autumn in Traditional Chinese Medicine is the season associated to the Metal Element, which is related to Grief and letting go) and is time to be expressing more of it together, to start remembering how to do that in community.
For these interested there is an online “Grief tending and remembrance” event happening on the 4th November organised by the MenKind Project ; you can find more info on how to book your place here
“Mankind Edinburgh will bring together a Grief Tending Circle, and together participants will give their attention to the many layers of grief in their lives and in particular the ‘Five Gates of Grief’ described by the author Francis Weller in his book the ‘Wild Edge of Sorrow‘
For anybody interested in this type of work, to explore grief safely and authentically as a community, please get in touch Francescobenvenuti.email@example.com as I would love to chat more and weave, on how to create some valuable offerings for the community over the coming months.
And to finish a poem (usually that refers to Spring, but nice to have it here for the associated message!)
it will not be simple, it will not be long
it will take little time, it will take all your thought
it will take all your heart, it will take all your breath
it will be short, it will not be simple
it will touch through your ribs, it will take all your heart
it will not be long, it will occupy your thought
as a city is occupied, as a bed is occupied
it will take all your flesh, it will not be simple
You are coming into us who cannot withstand you
you are coming into us who never wanted to withstand you
you are taking parts of us into places never planned
you are going far away with pieces of our lives
it will be short, it will take all your breath
it will not be simple, it will become your will
The trees are coming into leaf
Like something almost being said;
The recent buds relax and spread,
Their greenness is a kind of grief.
Is it that they are born again
And we grow old? No, they die too.
Their yearly trick of looking new
Is written down in rings of grain.
Yet still the unresting castles thresh
In fullgrown thickness every May.
Last year is dead, they seem to say,
Begin afresh, afresh, afresh
My, how far we have come! The Centre’s long term vision – to offer a place of welcome, safety, warmth…
I’ve been spending the last 7/8 years most of the time in solitude, painting, dancing, and working/playing with my dreams….