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Grace in Crazy Hard Times

I have a laundry list of tough things: family deaths, addictions, fires, politics, upheavals, the vulnerability of new life in a world where housing, health care, and work feel daunting. It’s too big to carry. I tell myself not to run the list but then I worry I won’t remember what I need to process. I tell myself to let it go. I don’t have to remember. Dive under the tsunami into the still places. I get some rest and in comes another hit. The latest? A leak and mold in my kitchen. Mold created havoc in my mom’s life right before she got Alzheimers. Yikes. I move out, feeling displaced.

Fortunately, I know when to call out for support.

I need a good spiritual director. Oh, Wait!  I do have a good spiritual director.

I need a good therapist. Oh, Wait! I do have a good therapist.

I need a good naturopath. Oh, Wait! I do have a good naturopath.

I need a good pastor and church. Oh, Wait! I do have a good pastor and church.

I need some support from Alanon. Oh, Wait! I do have good support from ALanon.

I need a meaningful vocation. Oh, Wait! I do have a meaningful vocation.

I need time off. Oh, Wait! I can take time off.

I need a good partner. Oh, Wait! I do have a good partner.

I need supportive colleagues. Oh, Wait! I have supportive colleagues.

I need more art. Oh, Wait! I am doing art.

I need good friends. Oh, Wait! I have good friends.

The only thing I don’t have is a good government and a world that is equitable for all.  Without this my world turns out to be even harder.

In these crazy hard times I wound up with adrenal fatigue.  Of course!  Without the good help all around me I probably wouldn’t have made it this far.

The good news?  It is well with my soul. 

What does this mean?  I check in with my soul, that eternal, unbreakable source in me.  Yes, I feel it. Touching in, I am steadied. Do you know what I mean?

Being well in my soul does not mean my bodyspirit isn’t wobbly and laboring. I’ve had to admit myself into a kind of psychic hospital. Today I write from the imaginal hospital garden, grateful for all of the exo-sceletal muscles of community that support and guide me. My leadership is absolutely a team effort.  I suspect that is true of everyone.

Deep in this labor of living, there is always the danger of miscarriage or even loss of life.  I am not fooled.  That is why I stick close to care for my body and my soul. If the Creative Force is to carry me into the future then I must bear the contractions as well as the expansions.  So here I am breathing into love.

In a few days, if the fates allow, I will head to Australia to join with InterPlay community and take a bit of a walk about.

I would love to hear what you have learned when you have been deeply taxed. I know that this happens to most of us.  Today, I am bowing in humility to your beauty. 




  1. Sometimes when I have felt deeply taxed, I have turned to the writings of one Cynthia Winton-Henry who is so wise and honest and spirit-filled. Here are some of her words that have buoyed me… “My path needed to be crooked”. “I honor a thousand different teachings and pray for the faith to fall backwards into the mighty arms of life.” And then she wrote about a “Blessing Tree” that I have never seen but can easily see in my mind’s eye — and I sometimes think to go there. And, indeed, I have always turned to pen and paper to find out more about what is going on in my deepest levels. Sending still breaths and courage to hold the difficult times in balance.

    • cynthia winton-henry says:

      So appreciate you, Penny, poet of the soul! Thank you for your mirroring and for sharing the journey of art, body, and love.

  2. Letourneau Lynda says:

    Dear Cynthia,

    You ask what have I learned when I am deeply taxed? Such a poignant question. Thank you for asking.
    In my most recent “taxings” I have learned that WHEN I am solidly PRESENT to all of my experiences I am brought to Openings and Gifts from the Universe..
    That trusting LIFE works best with a deep and grounded sense of Presence and loving care to each moment to moment…as it unfolds.
    That Shape and Stillness help me to listen and guide me.
    Chaos leads me to Stillness.
    Deep, trusting listening to my inner “Bones” is where wisdom and heart openings are seeded.

  3. Mary Ellen Lewis says:

    When I am feeling deeply taxed I, too, must go to a still place. But first I have to find the largest stall in the bathroom and do a giant “shake it off” exformation! Then breathe deeply and walk….walk to another place, a beautiful place and drink in God’s creation.

    And give myself permission: yes, it IS too big to carry. AND I am enough.

    Your cup is full of love from across the planet. Drink deeply, Dear One. And we join with you in the Toast of Love.

  4. Mary Ellen Lewis says:

    What do I do when i’m deeply taxed? Find a point of stillness. But first i find the nearest large bathroom stall or my living room for “shake-it-all-out” exformation! Then deep breaths. And walk….walk to a different place…walk to a beautiful place and take in God’s artistry of creation.

    And then I lay on the floor. It holds me….it feels firm….it makes me tall and supports me no matter who or what doesn’t support me.

    Your cup of love is brimming from across the planet, Dear One. Let us all drink from it as we release, re-balance, re-align. Sending rays of light to brighten your spirit.

    • cynthia winton-henry says:

      Love it! Thank you Mary Ellen! The body needs that dash of
      Thrash as well as the breath between the breaths. Life is humbling. Grateful to face into the winds of life and dance with friends like you.

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