When the sh*! Hits the Fan

Migrant farmer Pablo, Fabiola Vilchez, and master farmer Mud!

Migrant farmer Pablo, Fabiola Vilchez, and master farmer Mud!

This morning the weather is shifting and I am thankful to be able to write because so much has happened in the last seventy-two hours.

This is a time when the practice of meditation is needed more than ever.  The universe tries to show us, time and again, that there is no such thing as “control” over life.  The new flu, COVID-19, is the context.  Its characteristics are similar to the flu but its effect is far more devastating than the flus that have come before — and its unknown transmission pattern scares us.  This is the worldwide sh%* hitting the fan.

Closer to home and on the ground, another trip to the border, where human flow is causing great doubt, relying on great faith, and demonstrating great determination.  This is when transformation in society happens – moments of great doubt, faith, and determination.  The migration phenomenon is hitting closer to home and the place where the Gift of Compassion has landed, just happens to be the place where love and compassion are being manifest.  It was an accident to end up connecting there.

Another trip to the border sanctuary on Saturday, with a crew of talented, compassionate, and skilled individuals who brought knowledge and heart to a place that has been receiving migrants from many places, black and brown people who are escaping every form of human suffering. 

One person who joined is a master gardener from south Los Angeles, who turned out to be an extremely fortunate addition to the group.  This is because his survey of the location revealed that the land where the sanctuary sits is very likely a toxic piece of earth.  Waste that is both human and chemical flows to this area and this explains the odor that is the first thing one encounters in going to the location. The rains earlier in the day surfaced the presence of chemicals of unknown origin – maybe just detergent from soapy waters, but maybe not.  Foam could be seen in the riverbed/canyon road that leads to the church.  Literally, a situation where the sh&! has hit the fan.

It was another trip where donations were gathered, delivered, and supplemented with a run to the Mercado where $700 dollars in food purchases might feed 300 for one week. The idea of growing vegetables and herbs is now on hold.   Here’s a video that shares the experience of Haitians at this sanctuary:



In an entirely different space/time north of the border, life is in the balance for a young family who faces none of the challenges of migration but their lives are connected as disaster of another kind has surfaced.  A beautiful and bright young lawyer and her spouse face a life-changing health challenge that could leave her paralyzed for the rest of her life if corrective surgery doesn’t work.  Interesting to realize that the work of the partner is to counsel those in crisis. Right now, he is about to go enter the work of providing counsel to migrants who have attempted suicide in a detention facility.  How they are navigating this crisis is with love, clarity about things they can and cannot control, and support from family and friends.

In Los Angeles, we see the effects of human flow that have failed.  The crisis of people being left houseless is more visible in this city than almost anywhere else in the country.  The weather in southern California makes living outdoors, possible – without risking death from the cold in winter.  But the change in climate worldwide, the presence of a virus that is out of control, and the effect of causing people to migrate, just as animals and other life forms must in order to survive – is one massive indication that the sh%$ has hit the fan.

Our options:  care, cultivate kindness to oneself as well as to others, take care to balance the “doing” and the “being” – the clarity comes with moving from the place of will, to the place of no will.  Then, the realization can arise:  We are always, eternally, inextricably connected to one another and once that realization comes, the path opens.  By the way, the path is not paved.  There are places where you will surely step in sh@*!