With the surge in climate change related extreme weather events like Hurricane Harvey, that devastated the costal regions of the Gulf of Mexico, and Irma that pummeled the Caribbean and now bears down on Florida, we might feel helpless and confused as to what to do in the wake of Nature’s seeming fury.
As we fast approach the 5th year anniversary of “Super Storm” Sandy, I am reminded of my decision to walk into the Syracuse Chapter of the American Red Cross several days after that devastating storm. I had read on Facebook that they were collecting blankets for the survivors in NY and New Jersey, the states hardest hit by the storm. At the time, I had a fairly large stock of blankets that I used as props in my Yoga classes. I had plenty to spare, and there was a need. I didn’t hesitate. I heeded the call.
When I walked into the lobby there was a wonderful woman at the reception desk. She said, “Oh bless your heart, but we can’t accept those here.” I was a bit confused. I told her what I had read, and she said she would ask her supervisor for clarification, who happened to be standing next to her fielding a call.
While I waited for this young man to complete his business, I looked around the lobby. I saw the prominently displayed logo on the wall behind the counter alongside an image of Clara Barton, the founder of the American Red Cross.
When he finished his call, I explained my intention to donate the blankets for the Sandy Relief. He said that The Red Cross was dispatching crews of volunteers who were providing their standard issue blankets with their Red Cross logo to areas in the storm’s wake.
He said he couldn’t use my blankets for that relief effort, but they would take them for use for local disaster or fire relief. He asked if that was acceptable to me. I said, “Of course, I came to offer the blankets, I don’t care to whom they go. I just want to be of service. Well that lit up his face and he said, “Would you be interested in volunteering?” I didn’t hesitate. I said, yes.
Clara Barton brought aid and solace to union soldiers during the Civil War. With no concern for her own safety, she charged into the front lines to bring succor to the wounded. For this, she received the title “Angel of the Battlefield.”
The symbol of the American Red Cross is iconic. It is the Equal-Armed Cross, sometimes referred to as the “Geneva Cross.” It was adopted by Switzerland, during the Geneva Convention of 1864, as a symbol of neutrality to be worn by those providing humanitarian-aid during armed conflict, who were entitled to protected status.
This symbol is one that is found cross culturally. Esoterically, the equal-armed cross embodies the concept of unification between the material and the ethereal realms of existence.
It symbolizes a perfect balance of these seeming opposites. Yet, when we examine them more closely, it becomes clear that they are two sides of the same coin, two expressions of the Divine Life Force Energy.
This representation of “The Complete Truth” is the foundation of all Creation. The Chinese taiji, or yin/yang symbol, depicting the white and black paisley shapes with a small circle of the opposite color contained within each, speaks to the same Truth.
In the equal armed cross, we have the vertical axis, which represents the activity of the “masculine” energy principle in creation, while the horizontal axis represents that of the “feminine” energy principle. The vertical axis is associated with the spiritual plane; the horizontal refers to the material plane. Both are essential for the embodiment of Divine Spirit in the physical for the purpose of growth and expansion of the soul. The crux, where these two planes meet is the Heart Center, the gateway that allows us to ultimately transcend the material realm and move into the higher planes of consciousness.
The symbol shows a red cross on a white field, which esoterically exemplifies action arising out of purity of intent. Clara Barton lived a life of service to those in distress, continually called to respond to humanity in need.
Her life was an expression of action in the material realm that was in service to a higher calling. In this case, the impulse to action has its roots in the seed of compassion. One is acting out of compassion, with no ulterior motives, no expectation of reward or recognition. We call this humanitarian aid, but it is truly an expression of our Divinity.
We call these people first responders. The word responsibility means, “the ability to respond.” Clara Barton, and those like her, are just ordinary people, or are they? Clearly their acts rise to the level extraordinary.
These individuals rise out of a life focused primarily on the material, fueled by the fire of Spirit, to be of service. The verb to serve means “to render habitual obedience to.” In this case, the obedience is to our Higher Self. When we choose to be of service, we certainly provide something worthy to those in need, but the greater offering is made to God. With each act, when offered from a place of compassion, we evolve as a soul, and this serves the greater glory of the Divine Whole.
I was privileged, humbled and inspired to witness my friend Ed Vassallo, a NYC actor, reveal his divine humanity in action. Ed was diagnosed with a rare form of Leukemia in 2010. He was in the midst of intense treatment for the disease, but in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, he got in his SUV and drove to the front line with no concern for his own safety to be of service to people in need.
The life-changing event of his grave illness was a wake up call to action. Instead of wallowing in self-pity, he directed his focus away from his own struggle outward to those whose need was greater than his own. He was alive, and mobile and he heeded the call. With such acts of kindness and compassion we heal ourselves.
Though “Fast Eddie” Vassallo has since made his transition, in the weeks following the storm, my regard for him grew, as I watched the recordings he made and posted on Facebook of his experience as a first responder.
Along with a merry band of like-minded souls, he brought food and water to those whose lives were so greatly affected. He delivered generators, contacted people’s banks, who could not make timely payments because they had no power or transport. I even witnessed him escort a woman, who was eight months pregnant, assisting her down nine flights of stairs, because her building had no power, and then drive her to the safe shelter of a friend’s home. Not only were Ed and his crew delivering humanitarian aid, they were delivering Light and Hope.
This same level of compassionate care we witnessed again and again in Houston and other towns in Texas and Louisiana, following Hurricane Harvey. I saw a group of people make a human chain to rescue an elderly man from his truck that was inundated with rushing water. Citizens with boats trawled through flooded neighborhoods looking for those still trapped in their homes. There were patrols rescuing pets and livestock left behind to fend for themselves as their people fled for their own lives.
Not merely after major catastrophies do we witness individuals transcend their seeming ordinary lives to do the extraordinary. There are people are going above and beyond at the frontlines of daily existence every day of their lives. I know a Case Worker for a county agency, who provides counseling and support to people in transition, who are currently dealing with drug and alcohol addiction.
She shared with me that she is conflicted and confused by her situation at work. You see; she has a gift, the gift of spiritual sight. A portal opened for her about two years ago through which she has been receiving messages from Spirit that she has been guided to share with her clients.
Her conflict stems from the fact that this is not “standard operating procedure,” and she is concerned she may be fired, if anyone finds out and reports her to the administration. If her spiritual sight is needed anywhere, it is exactly in this environment. We are told to “grow where we are planted”. She offers daily support and guidance to individuals, many of whom would not be able to afford such service otherwise. She is truly an “Angel of the Battlefield.”
We may not be in a position to offer our SUV to transport people and supplies in the wake of a disaster, or have the spiritual sight to transmit messages from beyond the veil, but each of us has something to offer of ourselves in service of others.
John F. Kennedy once said, "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country." I would rephrase it this way, “ Ask not what others can do for you; ask what you can do for others. When we shift our focus from ourselves and direct it toward others, we begin to move toward the center point of the cross.
Master Jesus, an embodiment of the Christ Consciousness, did not teach that salvation would come through his death on the cross. His mission and his message have only ever been to bring us to an awareness of our own Divinity.
We, ourselves, are the only means of our salvation.
We are the creators of our own experience. If we are living in hell, it is of our own making. We are to take up the cross of this body, and follow the example of the Christ, opening our hearts to become the perfect balance of humanity and Divinity.
When this is our mission, we will experience the second coming of the Christ. He will not return in the flesh to again lead the way. The Christ Consciousness will be present and active in our own hearts, so we may continue the mission of bringing Light and Hope. We will serve as beacons, guiding those who are navigating through the darkness, offering safe passage to peaceful and brighter shores.
In these times of great upheaval in the world, when weather is more extreme and we are seeing a rise in more extremist views, we are being called upon to serve those who are in need.
We are all individual cells in the body of a greater whole, the Universe, God, whatever you choose to call it. Cells come to each other’s aid, because the health of the whole is crucial to each one’s ability to thrive. As long as we continue to operate on the false assumption that there is no connection between us as humans, or between us and the rest of this planet and beyond, we will continue to make short sighted, self serving, separatist choices that will ultimately be the undoing of our species, and perhaps the Earth as we know it.
Consider these closing words from JFK’s Inaugural address. “Finally, whether you are citizens of America or citizens of the world, ask of us here the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you. With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God's work must truly be our own.”
We are all called to serve. The question is: have we heeded the call? Perhaps a deeper question is, “Have we paused long enough in the midst of our own concerns and the pursuit of our own goals to have heard it?
What are you called to do? How can you be of service? How can you express the perfect balance of your Divine Humanity in action?
Katrin Naumann worked for 20 years as a Theatre Artist, both behind the scenes as a Costume and Scenic Designer, and on stage, film and TV, as an Actor. She has been a lifelong adventurer on the path of Self discovery, which has led to her current role as Director of Inner Balance Life Works. Her holistic healing practice focuses on offering pathways toward (R)evolutionary Self Transformation. Katrin serves the community as an Energy Healer, Intuitive Spiritual Guide, Qigong & Yoga Instructor, Author, Public Speaker, and Workshop Creatrix.