A prickly agave cactus leaf covered with ice and snow.
Who truly knows what is the mess, the humus from which luminosity grows? Photo by me.

The Texas Winter Disaster Left Some Gifts…

Donna Barton
5 min readMar 1, 2021

An Intuitive Way of Knowing, Peace, and Freedom From Conditioning

Life isn’t polarizing, the mind is. It labels and resists mess, failure, and loss … and then leaves us anxiety-ridden. Its negative charge — the very fear it creates — obscures our joy of experiencing and learning. A more natural, intuitive way of knowing is available for all of us.

In the recent Texas disaster, I saw how the thinking mind categorizes, compares, and chops the wholeness of life-experience into parts based on belief, conditioning, and preference.

As the calamity unfolded, the aphorism ‘rise to the occasion’ came to mind. This saying is about a winning approach to life. It also refers to frequency, as in maintaining a high vibration.

But where’s the line between high and not high frequency? What is average frequency? What frequency is a tired cranky child? What frequency is a person challenged by cancer?

Who can truly know what is the humus from which luminosity grows?

‘It’ is The Good, The Bad, and the Unexpected

Each morning of the Texas chill greeted me with shocks of newness. Stillness and frosty air pierced the coziness of my down quilts. Morning bird-chatter was silenced where sunny mornings had been the norm…

A twig encapsulated in a thick layer of transparent ice.
Texas Newness. Photo by me.

Being without power and heat for three days, the sudden unexpected cold wasn’t easy or comfortable but it was an invitation.

The freezing temperatures and chaos were like a scene-drop in the play of life. A good play is filled with contrast — the good, the bad, and the unexpected. Contrast is enlivening, stimulating — like when Luke realizes his dad is Darth Vader. But in real life, the mind freaks out at contrast — this should not be happening!

The Mystery of ‘It’

But there was something else within the resistance of ‘this should not be happening.’ Something I’ll call ‘It’ that was innocently okay with experiencing whatever was next. I’m not sure if I can convey exactly what ‘It’ is, but there’s a hint in this line of poetry:

“…praise the child and the becoming, strange experiment in suffering, praise the miracle and the mess…” ~Unknown

‘It’ is the Mess

On the first day of the power outage, I hiked to a Whole Foods Market to use their wifi and get information, cancel appointments, and send emails. A couple dozen people were milling about, peering inside the store and sharing news, stories, and information about road conditions. The store was supposed to open at noon; it was 12:15 pm.

“It” was there as Ron approached, in full hiking regalia, looking like he’d come out of the Swiss Alps. He was evacuating to a friend’s house, 5 miles away. Later as the crowd dissipated, ‘It’ was there as a person sweetly encouraged me to not stand by the store, because I might cause people to think it was open. ‘It’ was there as another person thanked me for standing there (I’d been updating new-arrivals about what I’d learned).

Day two was more mess and adorableness. ‘It’ was in a daisy-chain of texts inviting neighbors to meet neighbors at our local eatery, Casa de Luz. Without power or lights, Casa was serving up hot meals from their gas stoves and accepting donations.

Casa de Luz entryway on February 17, 2021 and again 10 days later. Photos by me.

‘It’ was in the hot soup, in eyes-shining-toward-eyes, in mugs of warm tea. ‘It’ permeated the open restaurant with no power, a Texas baby in a snowsuit, and a little bird taking shelter indoors, while a guitar-picker strummed in the corner. ‘It’ was the sole of my boot falling off and my hands automatically reaching to unresponsive light-switches. ‘It’ was not discriminatory; ‘It’ was in the mess, in the ordinary, and the mundane.

‘‘It’ is the End of Spiritual Bypassing

This dictionary definition of mundane surprised me. Words reflect our beliefs. As a seasoned ‘seeker,’ I am humbled by a deeper recognition of my bypassing the wonder and glory in ALL of life.

Mundane: 1) Dull and ordinary. 2) Relating to ordinary life on earth rather than to spiritual things. *

Whaat?— Spiritual is separate from ordinary life on earth?

Spiritual bypassing is when one thing is categorized as being more or less ‘spiritual’ than another.

How can we categorize The Mystery, Life, God, All-That-Is — whatever you call it — as ‘a little here’ and ‘a lot there’? Discrimination is a result of ignorance, fear, and limited perspective. Who can know the true nature of a dis-order from which luminosity grows?

“The Divine in the blade of grass, the ordinary blade of grass; the Divine in the ruined castle; the Divine in the ruined life, the one you perceive as abandoned and lost. God is in all.” Beyond the Known: Realization Paul Selig (p. 189)

‘It’ is Beyond Belief; ‘It’ is Another Way of Knowing

The disaster paused and reset me. ‘It’ was a gradual ooohhhh realization that felt like a sigh of relief. This beautiful reading of Ilie Cioara’s poetry describes how, “…by detaching from belief … we encounter a new way of knowing… using new brain cells uncontaminated by any prior recordings.”

“There is only one cause of unhappiness: the false beliefs you have in your head, beliefs so widespread, so commonly held, that it never occurs to you to question them.” ~Anthony de Mello, Jesuit Priest and Psychotherapist

Did I detach from belief? Something let go in a wave of relaxation. Perhaps It came from the invitation to ‘Be’ through the indulgence of flickering candles … freezing fingers wrapped around a mug of miso soup… .

The realization has been like ice cubes melting into water. Nothing is separate from “All-That-Is.” To the mind that wants to categorize, no-one-thing (nothing) is quieting. Peaceful. Which allows ‘It’ to be everything.

five glowing beeswax candles reflected in glass mirrors placed behind them
Sacred Ordinary Disaster. Photo by me.

There’s nothing wrong with ‘rising to the occasion.’ That saying was a pointer to my own beliefs that were already fluttering like restless wings. In that stirring, veils of conditioning dissolved, revealing ‘It’ as the naked innocence of not-knowing.

Who truly knows what is the mess, the humus from which luminosity grows?




Donna Barton

Under the influence of Possibility. Removal of that obnoxious voice in your head at AReturnToKnowing.com