lightning guidance

i’ve been traveling for the last month, and in almost every place i’ve been, there’s been undeniable lightning and thunder.

lightning in the woods over Minnesota.
lightning over the sea in Pantelleria, Italy – i may have been naked in it, singing and praise dancing.
lightning from a plane flying through Chicago – so fantastical that I hardly resented the ten hour delay in travel. hardly.
and now, lightning in Idlewild as i write this, long horizontal flashes followed by rolling thunder.

it’s my birthday month, and this is the beginning of my birthday week. i turn 40, and i’m ecstatic, taking nothing for granted, surrounded by brilliant artists and thinkers, letting the number be both random and miraculous.

i looked up the meaning of lightning, since i’ve seen more of it in the last few weeks than i have in the last few years. aretha is the research soundtrack, because i’m grieving her, and because she clearly understood lightning. i found/learned many things:

lightning means a loss of ignorance.
the arrival of truth.
fertility and creativity (if those are different).
it marks a sacred place, or a sacred time.
the union of fire and water in power.
the sign of the coming storm.

there’s so many variations to it – the singular bolts, the wide sky rolling and bursting with light, the split bolts that come in twos and threes, the horizontal ones that seem like rainbows of white fire.

i know less and less about the general, the universal. perhaps everything is connected, even though there are paths of humanity i can’t feel at all. i’m less certain.

i’m getting clearer and clearer about what is true for me, true in me. what i can trust and what i can live without. who gets to measure my worth? i’m learning this. who gets to shape my future? i’m learning this. who do i live with and for? i’m learning.

the way comes through in clear ecstatic explosions, in connection, in a moment where i can do nothing but be present. lightning calls me into the present moment, and i arrive again and again with an undeniable shriek, expecting mass wonder. so i linger in delighted reverence. i watch storms roll in until i feel the spray on my face. i watch near open bodies of water and from under trees, risking proximity until i can smell it, feeling inside that i am safe – if some day i’m not, it will be a spectacular miscalculation. and i’ll die happy.

at the beginning of this year, i had a different relationship to every major area of my life than i do now. it has been a year of deep thunder quaking me open, and bright illuminating light showing me my limits and my memories and my self.

i read American Gods during this period and have been reminded of the thunderbirds, their lightning of the eyes, and what storms can obscure. i was reminded that i am fickle about god in this way – any time i feel awe i see god.

i don’t want a god who doesn’t live in the heart of all this wonder.

i accept the gift of all this birthday lightning as guidance about my work, our work at this time: be nothing less than awe inspiring.
bring light.
move against, but in a way that illuminates the clouded places.
be truth.
cast off ignorance.
cocreate the sacred here and now.
make fire.

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