So, the truth is often very trite and simple. For example, the expression, “no one promised you a rose garden”, pretty much says it all. After all, in at least some manner of speaking, humans have already lost Eden. At least they think they have but perhaps many have just lost the ability to recognize it. In either case, for all practical purposes, the effect is the same.

There are some that have retained the ability, on a usable level, to recognize the Eden that earth offers. I can be found in that group and have found that sometimes this can feel like a double-edged sword. Knowing the “truth” that life is glorious, brilliant, and loving, and that the existence of earth and all of her inhabitants is breathtaking and impossible to comprehend, can also prepare a bed for deep innocence and some times painful vulnerability. Feeling the juices of a relationship that is majestic and infinite, fluid and tangible, like the way it feels at twilight or after it rains, can fill one with an extraordinary amount of joy and deep belief in the potential for paradise on earth. All at once an intrinsic optimism occurs side by side to it’s nemesis, namely the insidious development of expectations about what life on earth should look like, with standards that even the gods might not meet. It appears that such exalted standards cannot be met, thereby requiring the emergence of inner turmoil to arrive and begin complicating one’s promising vision of life. It is then that we encounter the truly ironic conundrum of life. The punch line being that paradise on earth, or something close to that, is possible and only achievable by maintaining the vision of such standards while not being devoured by them. If that sounds like a demanding order to you I will admit that sometimes the order feels quite tall to me too.

Here’s the thing. Yesterday I was bit by a bat! No, really, I am not joking. I was happily outside and barefooted carrying on with my gardening like it was any other Memorial Day weekend when I felt the bite and thought it was a garter snake. I don’t live in rattlesnake country anymore so I knew that I was not in danger. I spun around only to find a bat laying in the grass and looking up at me. It was early in the afternoon, the sun was shining, and somehow this bat was not hanging upside down and fast asleep, as it should have been. That presented a misfortune for both of us. I ended up in the ER receiving my first 4 injections and the bat ended up in a container. I was deeply saddened at the prospect of having to take this poor bat to the health department for evaluation and insisted that we punch air holes in its prison. I didn’t want it to suffocate in the process of waiting for its demise. I was quite tortured about being responsible for another’s dramatic circumstances and quickly becoming obsessed with its quality of life prior to it’s death. I was also feeling the effects of those injections and was exhausted. I tend to respond poorly to many medical treatments. My cohort in this story lived another day and a half and is now in the lab. There are many cultures that honor the teachings that we as humans can receive from the rest of the animal kingdom. Some believe that if you are bit by an animal and survive that you will then receive their “medicine”. I believe this and I already know and honor this bat medicine. Some say the bat is about the soul’s journey and transformation. Some refer to the bat as the symbol for re-birth and renewal. It is also suggested to be necessary to die the “shaman’s death” so that parts of ourselves that are no longer a benefit can die and be transformed. I have thanked this little being and I am committed to using its medicine in a positive way.

It’s not just that, not just my encounter with a bat that continues to evoke both change and turmoil. I could name many things. I am still recovering from Lyme Disease. I experienced my tick encounter back in 2004 so it has been ten years. There are residual effects that in some way have injured my spirit and my brain. It can be hard to think and learn new things at times. That’s not so bad. There are times I would rather unlearn some of the things steadfastly and so easily engrained. What’s worse, much worse, is when I can’t feel my regular level of joy or my highly enthusiastic spirit. That’s when I feel at a loss. Others usually cannot notice this change and perhaps they might even welcome less enthusiasm from me. For some people I imagine that less can still be more. However, once knowing more within myself it can be hard to settle for less.

This is not meant to be about my personal trials and tribulations for the purpose of whining or receiving comments of regret. These personal stories are about normal and understandable occurrences in life of which we all have our fair share. They are sometimes hard to take and can be jarring, but they are comprehendible. They are within the realm of what makes sense in nature and in a mortal world. They are not insults or perversions to our human spirit. They are simply a part of life. There can be illness and losses in paradise, and lyme parasites. And yes, there are bats.

Paradise is not so strict as to disallow personal strife or illness, but paradise does insist upon honesty, love, integrity, honor, truth, dignity, hope, and all of those values of which every life form should expect to be, to give, and to receive. These standards are not too high, they are vital and necessary to a sustainable and life enhancing world. That is what this is really about. I am expressing what can happen to an optimistic spirit that is dually naïve and empathic, and expects that the progression of the human spirit should prevail. Wouldn’t that be the true selected evolution for our species? It is about a person who sees great inconsistencies, hypocrisies, injustice, cruelties, and greed, a dishonoring of life, and a lust for power. I can imagine that there are many people who feel like they have been chewed up and spit out by such a world. Yet, I also see a world that has not lost hope even as so many around them have sold their souls and seemingly have lost their vision of love. I do not know what those sellers and abusers of souls get in return that could seem so valuable.

I do know this. I choose to continue to hope to fly. That is what the bat has given me. This is my medicine that does not allow one to be unchanging or clinging and bound only to the ground. To be a bat one must hope to fly where there are no limits and only infinite possibilities for love to thrive. I understand now that bat has always been with me and I am thankful!