Note to Readers: If you tire of the word Love, spare yourself, don't read this post. Go do something else with your precious time. Enjoy your day!
From my living room floor, I come to you before sunrise. You’ve been dancing up-close with my species for almost two years and it’s time for my soul to greet you with written words.
I don’t need to tell you this, though I’ll state it to be clear. Deeply personal writing is my lifelong art. Relationship is everything in this human experience — and I honor this through intimate connection with things that appear to be “other” — as the calm, core part of my consciousness knows there’s no such thing.
I want to honor you with Love.
Like cancer, you’ve been demonized.
When we know we are free and that Love is who we are, we will come to you from there. Imprisoned, my essence is not. So I cannot place you behind bars.
“F*ck Cancer” never resonated with me. To say that to you wouldn’t either. Divisiveness doesn’t heal. Love heals. Love doesn’t blame or demonize. Love asks us to look for what we’re being shown and to choose it over fear. Every second, every day. There is no enemy except the voice within that can’t quite yet see Love — everywhere — in its mirror.
Let me use this example from my own precious Life.
Brain Surgery: Corona, meet Fidela
Seven months and one day ago, my head was sliced open to remove a massive, benign brain tumor. In the words of my masterful Chinese Buddhist neurosurgeon, “It’s likely been growing for 10 or 20 years,” he said. “We don’t know why it’s there.”
Well I do. Since childhood, I was addicted to sugar. As are billions of my fellow humans.
Sugar is a “treat”, right? It kills pain. It takes our attention away from the unpleasant experience we’re facing and puts it on… rainbow dyed Lucky Charms. Yellow marshmallow Easter bunnies. Oreo cookies. Or fast forward to organic, locally sourced dairy ice cream eaten twice a week to try one last time, to heal my inner trauma. Enter, obesity. Sugar is food? It is poison that’s made legal and placed near cash registers, flickering its frosted, glittery glow for us all to see. To be eaten rarely by people who want healthy bodies, if at all.
For decades, my body tried to get my attention, seeking homeostasis, seeking freedom from my insistence on sugar-coated toxicity. My body whispered, wailed or slouched her messages to me until 2016, when she began shouting. Monthly, pain-level-10 migraines lasting 5 to 23 days apiece slaughtered the front, left side of my head for five years.
I tried and tried again to respond reverently to my body, yet somehow I couldn’t see her through Love’s eyes.
So she deserted the migraines and tried something else.
You can’t write legibly. You can’t throw frisbee. My lifelong prolific art of writing fluid, graceful letters on paper — gone. My capacity to throw freestyle frisbee with poise and precision — gone. The right side of my body was dying.
This wasn’t working.
I wanted to dance, ride bikes, and play frisbee with the Love of my Life, my 7-year-old daughter, for many years to come. If she chose to have her own child, I wanted to hold that baby in my own grandmother arms, my heart beating right there beside Baby’s heart.
So I surrendered.
In January 2021 I went to the hospital for a MRI and was shown a very large growth sitting on several important nerves. I named her Fidela. Weeks later, anesthetized for 9-hours through a high risk surgical manipulation, she was removed.
While still foggy-headed on heavy medication, I asked the surgeon if I could see her. He said something like, “No, I’m sorry. We remove the tumor over hours in many pieces. It’s not something we can show you.”
Somehow… I wanted to hug her.
Fidelity. Loyalty. Faithfulness. That tumor, Fidela, was part of my body. My body has been my best friend since she was birthed through my mother’s. One month before my 46th birthday, during brain surgery, I finally became her best friend. Hey, at least I did it in this lifetime! Thank God I won’t be on my physical death bed wishing I’d have chosen this before.
Fidela came as a message from Love, asking me to see through clearer eyes. I finally listened.
Corona, what are you asking?
One thing I know is that there is no right answer and no wrong answer. Love asks each of us to honor our own truth, not someone else’s.
One person’s choice to vaccinate still leaves them lovable, 100%.
One person’s choice to decline the vaccine still leaves them lovable, 100%.
Only fear would say otherwise.
Laying in the neurosurgery ICU for four days and nights in February, my body remained unvaccinated. Humanity had been greeting you, Coronavirus, for more than a year in your current version. My inner truth around choosing to vaccinate was clear — so far, I declined.
As usual, I went with my truth — what I felt inside, guided by Love to the best of my ability — not by the pop culture norm, and definitely not by mainstream media, which is overdosed by fear.
Once the fragile first six weeks of recovery passed and my body declined stroke, pneumonia, blood clots, seizure and other brain surgery risks… Once my unexpected dance with Sciatica passed, which comprised 92 days of severe pain and inflammation starting two months after brain surgery… And once the heavy opiates and steroids all coursed through my body, from my traumatic encounters with those two heavyweights…
Pressure walked in. My choice to not vaccinate didn’t sit well with some people I cared deeply about.
“But people are dying… Hospitalization rates are much higher for the unvaccinated.”
“The risk of getting Coronavirus is much worse than getting the vaccine.”
“It’s a no brainer. You are being selfish.”
It was 1993 when I stopped watching TV, as soon as I moved into the college dorms. We get to choose what we let in — inside our bodies, inside our auditory receptors, inside our consciousness. Fear doesn’t get to hold the microphone for me.
Coronavirus, if we accept you from the clearest place within — from our essence, as Love — you are not an invitation to choose from fear.
“But just look at the studies!”
When I worked in 1998 to lobby the U.S. Congress for federal wilderness and wild river protection, I learned the two biggest lobbies in U.S. Government were the military and the pharmaceutical industry. Yowch. I won’t go into detail here.
Fast forward 20 years and you show up. Well, you’ve been around — let me clarify — in this moment of the dance, we noticed you.
You are yet another invitation to humanity, to transform our ways more fully into Love.
You aren’t the devil. There is no devil. And where we believe there is, Love belongs. Only it heals. Can we open the eyes of Love within us to see this?
All my life I’ve resonated most with the political left. The U.S. Senator, a California woman, who carried legislation I worked for, giving permanent protection to California’s remaining wilderness and undammed, wild rivers was a Democrat.
Then one day, my heart rejected labels like this.
Two sides? That felt utterly ridiculous. Nature, our life support system, and human beauty and dreams are rainbow colored. For better or worse, politics became a turn-off. It didn’t seem to know Love’s language.
When we see through the eyes of “us and them” we aren’t seeing through Love’s eyes.
Vaccinated or not? “Tell me and then I’ll decide if I approve of you.”
No, no, no. Two humans will never entirely mirror each other in preferences, just as two fern fronds will never dangle in exactly the same way.
We can argue day and night if we want to. Once I saw "the other side” in that neurosurgery ICU bed, the yellow streams of Light awaiting our consciousness when we’re in full surrender to being right or wrong, arguing lost all appeal.
Corona, for the first time in my Life, last Christmas I deeply connected with someone on the political "right". We found a place of joining that melted more ego out of me. How incredibly refreshing! You offered this. A friend who lives in San Diego told me people on the political left and right are connecting in whole new ways because of resonance around the vaccine created for you.
That’s big. That’s humans choosing a sense of union over needing to approve of each other’s ways point-blank.
Love invites us, through you as with all of your cousins (like the flu and bazillions of other viruses our bodies greet, many daily), to ask ourselves if we’re willing to dance our way with Light guiding our choices — not to demonize and aggressively defend.
Let me be real clear here. First, I have no interest in influencing other people’s choices around the vaccine for their body. It’s theirs; mine’s mine. Genuinely, I have no judgment here. This heart and soul feel infinite empathy for the fear, grief and pain involved in the human experience. For rape and murder, for the many ways humans choose fear to guide our actions… for the terror that’s part of our species’ way…
My whole being wails in sorrow regularly.
Coronavirus, many bodies who’ve greeted you — young and old, sick and well — have suffered or died in their dance with you. One week ago, an elder in my family left his body in this way. Grief still streams through our hearts.
Was it you, or was it you dancing with their preexisting conditions? Was it their time? Is divine orchestration underway? Do we humans ever really totally know?
Diving into dissection of these complexities, right and wrong aside, may we seek intimate relationship with truth.
While sources vary greatly in terms of whose numbers to trust, it goes without saying that Love’s voice honors the canyons of loss and sadness lived through encounters with you.
Bodies are mortal. You are inviting us to actually accept this.
Recent near-death gifted me with soulful reunion with my sister. Through trauma, we were able to see through Love’s eyes and surrender right and wrong.
At least once a week, from my motherwomb’s desire for my 8-year-old daughter to live every day as if it’s her body’s last, to not be sheltered by the myth that we can wait to live our truth, to feel fully while she’s blessed with skin-coated hands and a heart that beats, I remind her, “All bodies die.” (And then we sing, or wrestle with our puppy.) ;)
Through this, may we remember that our essence cannot die. Love is immortal.
And Love is free.
Our country is stained by slavery. What!?!?!? We actually bought and sold human beings, and chained their limbs, and violently… Are you F-ing kidding me!?!?! And to this day, we steal and murder in the name of freedom?
Human rights have long been molested in and by the USA. While we have much to be proud of, we are also despicably tainted by a history laden with traumatized, fear-based consciousness.
How can we see freedom through any and all circumstances — whether we’re interacting with a grumpy cashier at the grocery store, in the hospital dying with cancer, or locked up in state prison? Nelson Mandela had an answer to this.
To vaccinate or not?
Choosing to receive or decline the vaccine for our own body is up to each of us — in a free country, it is. Being employed by a hospital or grocery store or other location that believes it’s safer to have all employees vaccinated… again, I will steer away from argue-laden places. What is freedom? Are you free to find a job somewhere else if you don’t want the vaccine? Yes. Is it always easy to find a job? No.
Humanness is a wild and beautiful mess.
My story isn't your story.
You choose based on your own consciousness, doing the best you can do, applying insight from the wisdom imprinted in and on your body. Maybe you're a paramedic or Trauma RN whose up-close picture is influenced by those often-tragic stories.
My decision to decline the vaccine — for now, as I remain open to being redirected by Love's guidance, not fear's — has a lot to do with my body's recent twofold trauma (neurosurgery followed by 92-day severe sciatica) and significant dosage of heavy pharmaceutical intervention. My practitioner of ancient Chinese medicine started training when she was nine and now, at 85 years old, suggests I wait on the vaccine — until physiological recovery from these heavyweights isn't still so fresh.
Who you are is Love living in a body.
In complexity, how do we converse?
Coronavirus, you have given us the chance to decide if we see Love or not. When someone close to us receives or declines the vaccine, can we still feel Love for them? For those who see the vaccine as a no-brainer, can you see your dearests through Love’s eyes when they decline?
How consciously do we choose?
As I moved through recovery from neurosurgery and severe sciatica, I wondered many times, where is Bill Moyers? One of my Life’s peak experiences was the outcome of hearing him speak in college. His capacity to ask and be with big questions is huge. Is he — or someone with a Light in their being, as I saw in him in the 90s — facilitating conversations around Coronavirus that are helping expand human consciousness?
One of my most wise and utterly vibrant friends says it was easy for her to choose the vaccine. She felt clear about it without a need to deliberate much, and — here’s the miracle — she can empathize with why some people decline it. No blame, no bullying, no name calling. She chooses not to sink into fear’s arms.
This has been rare. As someone who has thoroughly deliberated around whether or not to receive the vaccine for my body, I’ve noticed few sets of eyes who can actually see Love inside someone making a choice different from theirs.
This is transformation. You dance with us here.
We are free to choose Love over fear
Toxicity made legal and sold as food.
Soils degraded of their biodiverse magnificence.
A government owned by corporations, “by the people, for the people”.
Women degraded, our bodies and ideas dishonored.
Trauma blanketed with prison bars.
Open eyes see all this. And so. Much. Devastatingly. More. I started late, in college. Still, duh. It is there. Not in everyone — it’s complex, because Life is complex — but come on. Fear and Love are not complex. Love is the simplest guiding post in existence. Love is the most powerful force in the universe. When fear seems to be, let’s open our eyes wider.
Coronavirus, more restaurant dining happens outside now because of you. Fresh air and sunshine’s medicine feed dining hands. Snow geese flocks overhead.
Elders do yoga weekly in our neighborhood park. Outside.
You are one of many invitations to our species to wake up and reorient how we’re held as a society. I thank you, with Love.
It is morning. My eight-year-old daughter and I pedal our bikes to her school with cool coastal air, breathed into our town every night by Mother Earth’s rolling hill lungs, greeting ours.
We turn left on 1st Street and I see her standing there: a 47’ tall woman made of steel. With her head rising over the warehouse next to her, she owns her power. She doesn’t flaunt it. She simply is.
Woman. Here. You can look at me, you can think whatever you want to think. I am here.
I had seen her before. She is one of three pieces in The Bliss Project, created by sculptor Marco Cochrane. Her name is R-Evolution, and somehow she is also me. Somehow she is every woman.
Where we perceive duality in her and me, where we perceive separateness in her body and mine, where you and I appear to be two different beings… we are invited to see through clearer eyes.
Do we rise to this God-kissed occasion?
Here’s the dance.
How do we be alive in our human bodies while simultaneously accepting that we’re not separate?
Can I look at this statue of feminine splendor standing before me, and see myself in her?
How do we honor the deeply personal stories of our lives, our paths, our feelings, fears and dreams, while also joining our mind with that place where we’re eternal?
How do we live our essence while experiencing life in a body?
How do we take responsibility for our impact — those goofs, so human, that make messes in relationships — while returning to see through the eyes of Spirit, always forgiving with Self and "other", always in the knowing that Love is actually who we are?
Am I willing to own — to accept and embody — that I am Woman, and nobody else has power over me? No man, no parent, no boss, no job, no opinions or remarks, no religion or government?
It is easy to get stuck in judgment, yet every. single. second… we are offered the freedom of remembering who we really are. We are offered the freedom of remembering that in each other.
Do we choose enslavement by choosing limited perception, or do we own our freedom?
Cobblestone under our bike tires, we cross the old railroad tracks. We turn right over the drawbridge.
She was striking.
Sure, R-Evolution is massive. But it's simply a woman — her body, as she was born, natural.
In Sweden, where my husband is from, no big deal. Nudity is natural. But I was born and raised in America, where freedom sings a different song. Nudity is obscene. Women’s bodies are often treated as objects, as property — not our own.
Biking over the drawbridge, I wonder how I'm teaching my daughter to love, accept and honor her own body.
Children deserve the best of us. No experience I’ve ever had has compared to the Oneness I felt when my daughter’s little body was in my womb. We were physically one — as with every mother and child. My daughter’s got me — I would do anything for her. Mothers can relate; our connection with our children is indescribable.
This is personal. This isn’t personal.
What is the power of Woman?
In that place where she’s different from Man, we can state the obvious: We carry and deliver new life.
When we fully behold the power of this — as women — GAME OVER.
This planet would look radically different overnight if women owned our power today. I won’t pretend to know what that would look like because the power of Spirit, dancing with the complex particles of the physical universe, is far more masterfully creative than human consciousness. But I can begin to dream…
There is enough food for everyone, and it’s all grown with reverence for Mother Earth’s body.
Water is clean. Children swim in healthy oceans, creeks and lakes.
No body is abused. Bruises on a child’s skin are from that time she fell on the trampoline.
Sexual interchanges are between adults, consensual — and when there is misunderstanding it is taken seriously, and soon thereafter, healed.
World class support is readily available for every human soul. Our pain, our confusion and despair are soothed by someone skilled to see — to see who we really are — as that’s what Love sees in its mirror.
Rivers are free. Dams evaporate. We barely remember ever plugging-up the vivacious blood of our planetary body, drowning her canyon walls.
Humans accept that only Love heals. That when we hold others in our mind through blame, it is actually ourselves who we imprison.
Libraries, museums and playgrounds are abundant and every city block has at least one stellar masseuse.
Society is designed around Life, breath, this precious gift that could be gone at any second — not around economies.
How would that look? I go blank. Divinity, please paint a picture of your dream.
It all starts here — with me, with you.
R-Evolution owns her power, standing. She owns her power, in the form of Bliss Dance, dancing -- once at San Francisco's Treasure Island, now at The Park, Las Vegas. She revels in her own human female form as Truth is Beauty, now living at the San Leandro Tech Center.
She... We... WOMAN... remembers that in all the pain involved in the human experience, each moment offers freedom through dance, singing, a swim, or surrendering your limbs to lay down on Earth, letting her soil hold your tender human form. Each moment invites us to be held inside the womb of Spirit, whose Love has no end.
Today is an invitation to simply and boldly be you. Easy? No. And... you are made of courage. Own it. With boldness, you will make messes — yet your essence is immune to harm — the Who of you is made of Light.
Women, we are so much more powerful than we now see.
When we own our power, we are free.
Jessica Rios, Founder of Leaning into Light, is a mother, Love-based leader, lifelong letter writer, and eternal fan of Mr. Rogers. This deeply personal blog and our free recorded conversations are devoted to one of her greatest passions: illuminating the beauty of the human spirit.