No Understanding, Just Acceptance

Two nights ago i went for a walk because i could not sleep. Severe congestion in my lungs was causing me to go into uncontrollable coughing and wheezing every time i laid down. i felt like a walk would help me move some of the congestion, and at the very least, move my body for some exercise if i was not going to be able to sleep.

As i walked down the road, numerous locals, who know me or know “of” me (apparently this white girl got a reputation started by some rumors that are quite laughable) were calling out to me to come talk to them. Only problem, I had no voice. The severe congestion, sinus infection, and coughing all conspired to take my voice away. So i just waved and continued on my journey.

i have been loving the silence imposed by my loss of voice. i so enjoy the space of no words, only being. i am actually naturally designed as an introvert which surprises so many people because i am known so much as a public figure. It is part of why i started blogging. Felt like a way i could continue to share messages that might (or might not) be helpful to people without my needing to be actually in person all the time.

As i walked down the road, the evening was playing its nightly symphony of crickets, frogs, and other sounds that i am not completely clear on, but love. The bright and magnificent moon was playing hide and seek with big, billowy clouds blowing through on the gentle breeze–remnant from the storm that had blown through earlier. The night felt so alive and magical.

As i rounded a bend on the road, i startled a kitten that was crossing. It is rare here to see cats. It is mostly dogs, and sadly most are not faring so well– mal-nourished and mangy and often abused. So to see a kitten was a real treat. It was mostly white with what appeared to be a bit of mottled other hues, so it stood out in the otherwise very dark road. i stopped, bent down, and called out to it to see if i could give it some love and affection. It was too skittish, an obviously feral cat, so it ran away. It stopped on the other side of the road, i stayed where i was and called out to it again, trying to encourage it to come to me. It hesitated, but then scampered further away. In that instance, i saw a flash of a vision of the kitty being hit by a car. i cooed and called out to the kitten, trying everything i knew to get it to let me come near it. i knew that i had to get this animal and find it a safe and loving place to call home. Unfortunately, no matter what i tried, including just staying still for a very long time and inviting it with my thoughts to feel safe and come to me, nothing worked. Eventually, the cat ran off into the bushes and would not return. i said a prayer for it because that was all i knew to do, and then i continued on my journey.

The night still felt so mystical, but the edges were tinged with this uncanny feeling about the sweet little kitten being hit by a car. i walked until my hips began to yell at me. i have hip dysplasia which is degenerative and over the years have experienced more and more chronic pain in my hips, especially when doing anything of impact, including walking. So, i turned around and began my journey back to Great Huts where i am staying. i can not explain it completely, but there was something in the very air, an electric charge of sorts that kept sending ripples of tingly energy up my spine, neck, and out my arms. (And no, i was not smoking marijuana! i know that is what many people would think reading something like this and knowing that i am currently in Jamaica!)

As i emerged from the dark part of the road into a little golden glow cast from one of the few street lights in this area, i saw two guys weaving and stumbling their way home, obviously having just left the bar a little ways up. One stopped to look at something in the road, while the other saw me, and called out, “Hey! Wa Gwan?!” This means basically, “What’s Up? How is it going?” i of course did not answer as i had no voice, and just smiled and continued walking.

As i came upon the other man, i looked at what he was looking at lying in the middle of the road. It was the kitten. i stopped, stunned, tears immediately beginning to flow out of my eyes. Now this guy, decided he would have his try with me. As i couldn’t talk, i had no way of telling him that i wanted to be with the cat and not with him, so i had to continue down the road. A short bit later, i stopped, thinking i had waited long enough for the guys to move on, and i could go back to the little animal. But when i turned around and started to head back, the guys were turning around and called out to me again. So i turned and kept walking. i started looking for a banana tree or some other broad leaf plant where i could use the leaves to pick up and wrap the kitten in. As i was walking, i was praying that the kitten was now indeed dead and not just severely hurt because out here, at this time of night, there would have been nowhere to take it where it might be saved. i knew that if it was severely hurt and not dead, that i might very well have to kill it myself to stop its suffering. By this point, i was sobbing, stumbling along in the darkness with my tears further obstructing my view. Surprisingly, i could not find the right plant, but i found a cardboard box and picked it up. i knew by now the drunken men would be continuing onward to their home and i could return to the kitten in peace.

As i walked, i prayed for its spirit to be set free. i prayed that it was dead and that it died quickly, so as not to have suffered too terribly. i approached the little being and knelt beside it crying and praying. i scooped it into the box and found a hole in a barbed-wire fence where i could get through and bring the kitten to its final resting place. i couldn’t seem to help it while it was alive, but maybe somehow, i could help it now. i lay the box gently on its side so that the kitten was laying on its side. i continued crying and praying, wishing the spirit of this little being to find peace. And then, i walked away.

My whole life, i have experienced the pain of others on a very deep and visceral level. For a long time, i did not have the tools to process that much grief, so i shut down and built huge walls around my heart. Over the years, having done so much work on myself, the walls have begun to crumble under the power of my fierce love. But sometimes, i go through stages of giving up and shutting down. i can’t understand why beauty suffers and hatred, ignorance, and violence thrives. (And please do not quote scripture here. It has never worked for me and never will.) It is at times like these, where i have to remember there is no understanding. There is only acceptance. Anything else just causes more grief. i struggle with the despair. i struggle with the pain of my heart continuously breaking further and further open. And then i try to let go and let Love. Even as the tears etch paths down my cheeks as i write this, i let go and let Love. Because no matter how much it hurts, it seems the real reason for living is Loving. And so that is what i strive to do.

In Love’s Service,


Published in: on April 2, 2010 at 5:22 pm  Comments (16)  

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16 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. My heart sank while reading this. Your message to let go and love is powerful. I have not been able to let go in my life thus far. I feel the suffering of animals in factory farms, labs, etc…deeply every day. I feel the suffering of our earth being poisoned and exploited…deeply every day. I feel despair hearing the decisions our political ‘leaders’ make.
    I try to use my life in a way that is meaningful and will make a positive difference, yet every day I am deeply sad, angry, etc. I feel split wide open. I want to know how love, how to help, how to make a difference while feeling full of love. I want to be filled with hope, love, solutions. How do we live full of love and joy when our heart aches for all who suffer. The irony is not lost on me as I have joined the list of the suffering.
    Julia, you inspire me to try to be and do better.

  2. Life is fragile. All life. Including YOURS! Take care of yourself – and as much as I love kittens (I have four cats now – all raised from kittenhood) – I would value a human life a little bit more.

    Yours, more than most.

    Be careful out there! =(

    And my sincere condolences on the the lost kitten. I know only too well what it feels like. Lost two kittens the same way.

    Mathew Titus

  3. “i shut down and built huge walls around my heart”, “sometimes, i go through stages of giving up and shutting down.”

    Yes. These lines find a deep place in me.

    Thank you.

  4. my prayers to you as an RN your health descriptions concern me. sorry not to influence your blog but sounds close to walking pneumonia. but i’m not an md canned statement is seek medical attention. bet you already had your fill of that. Keep seeing you over a bunch of small island too low for commercial flight. I fear drunks as they are feral in their own way. hope and happy thoughts

  5. Dear Julia,
    Thank you for reaching deeply within yourself and sharing this touching story. In the last couple of years I lost my two year old cat to some mysterious death and my eight year old beloved Anna, my golden retriever, to cancer. Just as Treesa shared, I feel the daily suffering of the “factory farm” animals and all the suffering that goes on in this world, and I also can relate to your feelings about the supposed thriving of all that is painful and corrupt in this world.
    What I do feel is that there is a golden light out there and a shining example of what is possible, and it is in each one of us. It is what drove you to take care of the kitten, even while exposing yourself to potential danger, why we don’t eat meat, why we continually strive to love in the face of tyranny and suffering, because as humans we have that choice, and really, what other choice is there?
    Thank you for continuing to inspire me, and I hope to be able to be that light for you as well.
    love & blessings,

  6. it is not that evil hurts itself, evil hurts because of the negatives still present inside of us, because we are not awakened, illuminated, that’s why the negatives of people around us hurt.
    it is because of our fear, anguish, anxiety, anger, ecc. which are inside of us, they are our real enemies, not those outside.
    when we become just beaty, just light, suffering stops.
    when we undertand everything to the very bone, the negatives will end, suffering will melt.
    but it is so much far away from what we currently are..
    Bye julia, thank you for sharing

  7. thank you Julia…for your refreshing openness, sensitivity, and compassion..Love, Kit

  8. Julia, The feral cat is just another sad example of mans broken bargain with nature. Do try to cheer up and remember this: IT TAKES BIGGER STONES TO TEAR DOWN A WALL THAN IT DOES TO BUILD ONE. But I’m sure if anyone can tear down a wall – It’s you. Brad

  9. Thank you so much for opening up and sharing this. You, bright spirit, continue to touch my heart.

  10. Julia,

    I found your videos through No Impact Man and was so heartened to find the connection you were making between spirituality and environmentalism. I heard about the Awakening the Dreamer symposium last fall and am going this weekend – so blessed. There seems to be so much convergence these days of these movements – such a good thing.

    Acceptance is quite the struggle for me but I am getting more aware of when the resistance comes up and at least recognize it. I guess that’s the first step. It IS a huge struggle to find that place of peace when it does seem that violence, ignorance and hate continually flourish.

    Thank you for your words, for sharing your insight. “I let go and let love”. A great reminder. It is with words like this that love is spread.

    Sending light & love,


  11. Everything happens for a reason. It makes us stronger and gentler. It makes the delicateness and beauty of life more precious. and It opens our heart to love more, even as we feel more pain. As long as there are people like you around, there seems like their is an invisible web of hope and sincerity. Love is always the victor!

    “There is wisdom here, there is much to learn..” –Healing Time on Earth (John Denver)

  12. Thank you for your honesty Julia. It widens my heart also and inspires me to let it break open for more love to explode out.

    Blessings in all ways

  13. I too struggle so much with feeling the pain of others, especially animals and children. I am a family therapist and I see children hurting all the time because of the environment they were born into. I admire you for getting srength in love, but I just don’t want to feel anymore. It hurts too much.
    And now with the oil spill, it’s almost too much for me to handle. I try to “Let Go and Let Love”, but it is so hard. I guess it is my life’s work, a continual process.

    Susan Cherundolo

  14. Each time I see a dead animal on the side of the road, I feel diminished. Although I haven’t hit an animal myself, I participate in the commuter car culture that has ruined so much of what is good.

  15. Dear Julia,
    We are paradoxical beings, are we not? At once so tender, and capable of such selfless, loving behavior, yet so often shaken by the storms of our lower natures. In the main, I’ve concluded that it is our darkness which most often rules us, and that we are, as a species, headed down an evolutionary dead end.
    What, then, in the face of all that darkness, are we to do to keep alive the spark of our own decency?
    In my sixth decade of living, a coherent answer to that riddle still eludes me.
    Your story, or at least the pieces of it which have reached my eyes and ears, serves as a poignant reminder to me that there is goodness in all of us, and that by following our inner light, we can still live a life with authenticity and meaning in it.
    At my age, I find myself smiling a bit at your youthful fervor and intensity, and yet it is those very qualities which make you such an inspiration to so many. Something in us yearns for connection, for meaning and purpose, and your story reminds us of why we are here, and what is truly important.
    Life has much pain and sorrow in it, and in the end, we all die incomplete. However fragmented our paths are, it is important that we walk them, and for many of us, your journey is a call to just that.
    Thank you, Julia. Walk on, and may your path have meaning for you.

  16. Thanks oldway.

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