Since 2004 I have worked at the Multnomah County Health Department as a coordinator/planner/convener/ responder for healthcare system emergency preparedness. Our partners represent hospitals, public health, emergency management, EMS, clinics, and communications. Our coverage stretches from the metropolitan area to the coast, and includes ~1/2 of Oregon’s population and hospital beds, the only two Children’s Specialty Hospitals and two Level I Trauma Centers, and only Burn Center.
Although my devotion to this work and all the amazing people I have worked with over the years is strong, and our successes many, I rarely spoke about it outside of office hours. As if it was not that important, or as important as my constant immersion in spiritual/inner growth and related education and activities. At times I wondered if emergency preparedness really mattered. I applied for a handful of other jobs over the years, none of which were offered to me. Nor did I mention it on social media. I just did not share. That is, until I finally realized I was separating it from my spiritual life…which is the basis for how I DO my life, whatever and wherever it is…and that life IS the spiritual practice…whatever and wherever it is.
I now see that all I have done landed me smack in the middle of COVID-19, in service to a pandemic we had planned for, not knowing it would actually arrive. Along with a long-due call for racial, economic, and ecological equity, and devastating wildfires in forests I have loved. This response has simultaneously been the most difficult, complex, exhausting, exhilarating, and rewarding work I have ever done. And it matters, along with everything that came before it.
My spirituality has been and is, more than ever, the source of my resilience and ability to keep going with daily renewed energy, a wide perspective, and ability to see the positives that have emerged from this pandemic; while also being cognizant and compassionate for the toll on individual and collective hearts and lives.
Because of COVID-19, I began sharing my work with peers and friends at the Portland Center for Spiritual Living (where I am licensed as a Spiritual Practitioner). Then, within a few days after posting “A calm state is mind IS emergency preparedness” on social media, I accepted an invitation to be interviewed for the Centers for Spiritual Living monthly magazine. The article was “Warriors in a Global Pandemic: Staying Grounded in Spiritual Principles.” I would have never imagined that would be my first publication! And yet, it is not about ‘me’ being published but the recognition that it is not I, but that Within who does these things. This is just one of many ‘corona bonuses’ I have experienced; is an example of what happens when I truly live an integrated life.
It is my great lesson in, and rededication to, a Trust more profound than ever in following my path as revealed Within…through intuition, every moment awareness, and consistent spiritual practice. Through accepting what IS…even when my ego thinks otherwise (aka my ‘plan’ – a word I no longer use). No regrets, no should’ve, would’ve or could’ves. Indeed, preparedness for anything begins Within. Whether it is emergencies, loss, physical wholeness, abundance, harmony, peace, love…name it…it begins Within.
As a new calendar year begins, on this beautiful jewel of a planet we call Earth, in a perfectly placed solar system at the outskirts of the sparkling Milky Way Galaxy, constantly expanding along with billions of galaxies in this Grand Organized Design that the Cosmos is, I share my deep gratitude for all I have learned. I trust completely that there is more Good than we can possibly imagine waiting to be revealed…if we allow it to be. We Let It Be. And So It Is!