Gary Breads and I have been having frequent Zoom-get togethers since The Creative’s Workshop ended in July of 2020. There’s a special story to this, as I was a late joiner of a weekly Open Mic-session within the workshop. The very first meeting I attended, I had a few different blog posts chosen to read, one a bit racy, to say the least (Bliss). I wasn’t sure it would be appropriate, but then I heard Gary read a lovely poem about a volcano and I knew, without a doubt, that I would read Bliss.
Something about Gary draws me to him, and luckily, the feeling is reciprocated. Gary is the founder of the newly emerging Wisdom Sailing School, an organization mentoring self and relational presence as the most direct and integrated way to foster Well-Being across the human dimensions of soul, heart, body, mind, self, relationship, and the environment. He enjoys meeting with clients from his farm in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia, US, where he also shares his improvisational piano and vocals, gardening, and the ever-renewing inspiration of open fields and skies. Also an interfaith hospital chaplain, he finds another deep calling in assisting patients in the spiritual care of their health.
For various reasons, we haven’t Zoomed for a long time, and when we did, I’d just come out of having a bout of Covid-19.
On day eight of covid, having had a fairly easy run of it, my fever suddenly spiked and I definitely had a different experience with inhaling/exhaling than normal, feeling as if my lungs were only available for the first upper third or so. That sent me down an anxious spin of fearing death. Fear is a powerful emotion, and as I jotted down the passwords to my computer and my password manager for the kids, ”just in case”, I texted my friend D, The way he responded was amazing. Being held in love and compassion in such a way, was just what the doctor ordered, and I slept throughout the night without issues, waking up with less fever. When it started to spike again in the afternoon, I was chill, because I knew (!) that all would be well.
In parallel with me battling Covid-19, Gary experienced the dark night of the soul, where he felt his psyche, emotionality, spirituality all be foreclosed. Not one, not two, but all three of them. Gary says ’I basically went back to God or source or love and said, I need to come home.’ only to be met with ’the gates of heaven aren’t open for you right now’. Ouch!
That sent us down a rabbit hole of our common experience of judging parts of ourselves as unlovable. Have you ever felt there are aspects of yourself you deem unlovable? In my ongoing deep dive into shame, with the process-oriented therapy I am attending on a weekly basis, I am getting to know a lot of those previously deemed unlovable aspects of myself.
The inner judge within me has a lot less work to do nowadays, and as I judge myself less harshly, I also judge others less harshly. The more gentle and loving I am with me, the more gentle and loving I am with you. And even though we all have (I think) inner tyrants, we don’t have to take their word for it. Gary shares how he has started to call it when he sees other people dis themselves in front of him. Imagine a world where more people would do that. Gently, with love, say, don’t treat yourself like that. Now there’s some tankespjärn for you!
(And yes, we touch on all of this, and much more, in this rich meandering conversation!)