Sunday, February 26, 2017

Vigil Concluded

For those concerned about the "vision quest" and sleep deprivation, I had a wonderful long rest last night, after a beautiful Saturday that had a lot of ritualistic elements (sabbath, end-of-vigil, etc).  I will be sharing more about it all in days to come!


Friday, February 24, 2017

Burning Bush: Erica Turns 40 and Levels Up

I thought turning 40 might be depressing, and make me feel old, but no - it's incredibly powerful.  I have done my time.  I have defined myself as a crisis victim, and a crisis survivor.  I am now an experienced crisis manager.

My birthday Feb. 10 was the beginning of feeling better from a week spent feverish in bed with this year's seasonal crud.

That recovery surge of energy, overlaid on my re-discovery of my calling to creative collaboration and teamwork through stepping up at Mt. Hull Fire District 12, overlaid on a surge of good wishes from family elders and supportive fans.  Like when many waves temporarily align into a super-wave.

Self-pity about unfinished plans, distance from loved ones, roots in too many places is dropping away.  This is my mountain, MOTA is my church, you are my tribe, and there is no conflict because this is my world.

My  is teaching me powerful things about chain of command, scope of leadership, and how to share immense responsibilities within achievable human skills and capacities.

Ernie and I both feel I may be called to progress in the nationwide disaster-response qualifications toward "IC," Incident Commander. On my part, I just felt a hunch that this may be the year that I get my first call-out where I'm the senior person who responds to a call in our district, and I'd like to be fully prepared to do that safely by whenever it happens.
Ernie feels that I might need to get fast-tracked to finish the appropriate training and experience, toward my natural leadership level, and he also calls that "IC track."  Could be some other thing - safety officer, train-the-trainer, research and development of disaster-prevention and community preparedness.
What training path do I take toward people-puzzle leadership?

My district's fractured chain of command has resolved itself into a department running on ten good men and two good women.  The flustercluck has resolved into at least 6 wheels on the ground and tieing in.  And the core meeting I tried to facilitate (on 3 days with about 4 hours' sleep) has fully endorsed my acting as a non-officer coordinator for now (trainings/transition help), and pursuing my own training opportunities as far and as fast as I care to try.  I said, "If you can tolerate me in this state of sleep deprivation, we might be able to work together," and they seem to be all for it.

My previous calls to serve with Ernie in disaster prevention, building resilient communities, and working to mitigate the Long Emergency are aligning with this one. Our district has a similar image problem, of "Mt. Hull Specials" and hot messes.  Like many small rural districts, people who buy cheap land are either amazingly resilient survivors with their eyes open, or people making a poor decision that may be part of a pattern.

Mt. Hull is now "My Mountain," a proving ground for demonstrating what can be done using only what you have.  As I experiment with how I can facilitate better community support, it might become an exemplarly Permaculture Fire District, creatively using goats to mow medevac and safety zones, for example, or hosting small business and web marketing seminars at the fire hall as bait for good treasurers and secretaries to volunteer.

The wonderful friends and allies that I've been gathering since before I was born are now showing up as beacons of potential, awaiting connection.  The light of these visions are keeping me from sleep.

Be careful what you pray for:
I have asked many people to help hold me in their care, and to help me find good boundaries, listening instead of over-talking, and a 90-day trial period in case I can't do this without burning myself out.

I have mentors in mind, and will be reaching out for support crew.

However, it does not appear that the Universe is going to allow me to think my way through the process on my usual terms.
It has turned into a sort of vision quest, or sword of Damocles, or trial by fire.   

My body is giving me clear signals, which make it physically uncomfortable or painful when I over-commit, micro-manage, or do things that it's not time to do.  This physical discomfort, combined with the excitement, makes it hard to sleep more than an hour to three hours at a time.
I realize that's a grave health concern, and so does my team.  Please listen to the RadioLab podcast about RAAM and human limits, and realize that my beloved Ernie is a former RAAM completion athlete.  He will do what he feels necessary if he sees symptoms that I have gone beyond "incredible superwoman lifting car off baby" human capacity, and am in danger of entering the death zone.
Please tie in with Ernie if you feel you have a key element or emergency intervention option for my well being.

My own sense is that this might be a crash course in leadership from God.  Listen to those body-sense cues, find effective support, because the alternative is intolerable.  Surviving it will mean I have a much better knowledge of my actual limits, with many self-defeating fears and follies burned away. 

If you are Catholic, this feels like Sacred Heart.
It feels like I am a hero-in-training going through my qualifying exam.
It feels like a rite of passage that is being coordinated by the universe itself.
It feels like being divinely whipped into shape for the Haudenosaunee Peacemaker / Quaker practices.
It feels like the Shamanic status of becoming a "hollow reed," through which the spirit acts in the world.

As I write, I am using my body cues to find my best words.  Overstatement or falseness causes physical discomfort in my heart, throat, or gut.  Right words, right actions, bring relief.

These sensations are like a dowsing-rod; I am using them to guide me toward food, drink, healthy activity and requests for guidance, or time to rest again.  My need to relieve the discomfort is also my guide to pinpoint the support that feels best from the many 'sleep coaches' and aunties I've enlisted. 

If you have experienced such a transformative crisis yourself, and feel called to help me with this one, please email me using the topic "Burning Bush" in the title with your offer. Or call me on whatever line you have.

Boundaries for phone calls, until further notice:  
- No phone calls during the hours of darkness, especially after 9pm, unless it's a life-or-death emergency, or a pre-arranged exception.
- For those we specifically asked to return a call, please call between 9am-6pm. 
- No Unsolicited Advice By Phone Please, see below.

- Hand-picked sleep coaches are helping me try for bedtime at 9pm.
- I am trying to stop working, bringing myself down from exciting brainstorming, connection, and puzzle-type work, starting around 6pm.  Including "solving" this crisis by thinking about it.  Because my entire life's work and play and family history is in the process of unifying into a coherent calling, EVERYTHING that I normally love to talk about will also wind me up and make it harder to sleep.  But we may not unplug the phone if I expect a return call about urgent/important support.  

Re: Unsolicited Advice: Ernie and I are contacting hand-picked advisors; as you can imagine, our medical adventures have led us to meet some awesome ones.

If we have not requested your personal involvement or call, take a deep breath. Check your heart and gut before dialing the phone.  Is it worth the phone ring possibly waking me up from a much-needed nap?
If you're not sure, please offer quietly: email, mail a note, or send a prayer/intention instead. 
If it's a treatment you've received or heard about, but you're not a master practitioner yourself, could you use the phone to find a master-level practitioner, and send them our way?

Exceptions/Solicited advice:
- leads on excellent local doctors, social workers, mental health, self-care (massage therapists?) in Okanogan County.  Or world-class health advisors who can work from a distance.
- options for highly functional on-site caregiver relief, for future times when we're all laid up at once (Ernie may need ADLs and health care and errands)
- Anyone we contacted since Feb. 18th, we see you as part of the solution (your advice is solicited)

If you feel called to help in any way, offers of substantial help/offloading the excess are welcome.  Please respond in the comments or tie in by email:

We will be offering other ways to help very shortly, as we get the lines established.

My nightly mantra, as I practice breathing breath in silver light and the long exhale, is "Thank You God for Everything." That includes you, beloved readers.