the space between is longer and longer still. and the words that do come seem to slide off a cogent slope into some quiet corridor that is locked for later, like an advent calendar of my life.
i am curious about your open windows. can you answer the question “what are you up to lately?” with something that feels accurate? how do you communicate everything that happens in between the driving and the doing? for example, i want to explain that, while it looks like i may be idly sweeping my floor or making a grocery list, i am, in fact, learning rapture and stillness and sometimes holding lifetimes in my gaze? i also want you to understand that i really do feel your fear, the way it radiates off of your skin, and i am making a conscious choice to keep it yours, all while we chat about the weather and how we spent the holiday. i get tongue tied in the narrative of the movie i saw or the book i read or the thing that happened the other day or the plans that i am making or the book i want to write or the projects i am embarking on or what is for dinner or where the kid is going to college or even that deep insightful thought i had. there is so much more happening as the sentences are being formed, like how the light is casting interesting shadows through the kitchen and the heart of one that i love is being transformed through pain.
how do i casually offer that i am navigating a broadened field of perception that is blowing my mind and simultaneously causing me to feel absurdly rich and connected, and also isolated and protected? (and we are going to tahoe for christmas)
the open pasture that is my mind is at once eerily void and surprisingly free. there is room for more subtle discernment and an appreciation of where i am touched and where i am triggered. i can sense a hungry ghost from greater distances and, though i am rendered mostly inarticulate, i am feeling more stealth in the removal of claws. (i think i will roast some brussels sprouts tonight)
and so it goes. we say it best we can. stumbling, awkward and elegantly so. pedestrian, quotidian and exquisitely poetic. whatever brings us closer.
because i know that i, for one, still want closer.
and thank god for the ones who previously figured this out and wrote it down sensibly before i was muted by the bombardment of being.
(and, yes, i found this poem after dribbling all of the above–hooray for normalcy)
Sunday morning, the table scattered with
bagels, toast, ham and tea, breaded knives on
crumpled napkins, books on every corner-
Whitman, Doty, Jacques Prevert, Rumi on
the floor–each of us tossing another voice
into the air to see what’s folded way inside,
to see what lives between yesterday and
sugar. Each of us knowing what it’s like to be
both turtle and hawk, and Hamlet, all in a day.
The dog sleeps on Kenyon, near Neruda, as we
reach for something not quite in reach and
land on each other, as if the one utterance
inside every voice can soften the onslaught
of time. ~Mark Nepo
today, i release myself of the habit to sidewind the narrative.
i just want to wrap myself in the tenderness of devotion, and allow for the possibility that there is no such thing as too much good. that when the well overflows, the surplus can be shared.
i question whether the stories that i see while i sleep are premonition or fear; when the subconscious beckons wisdom or the wrong wolf.
how long can we go, happy and fulfilled, before something slithers up between us? human rubble from some quake that might not even be our own.
in the end, i want to feel enlightened and free.
exhausted of agony and loose in my connective tissue.
honest and unfettered.
holy and here.
Once the soul awakens, the search begins and you can never go back. ~John O’Dononhue
(text in image above is also from John O’Donohue, Anam Cara)
I’ve been thinking a lot about faith and fortitude, loyalty and longevity, and the recipe for carrying us through. because i don’t really think there is one. i think life is a series of lost and found, advance and retreat. i think we constantly have to reevaluate, run our fingers over our scars, and then set out to get cut again. i’ve found that no matter how much i grit my teeth, the series of events don’t really change. and usually it is really easy for me to focus on the truth, the river that flows through all of it. the groundwater, the wellspring. i try to rest my heart, hope and hospitality in nests and nourishment. because what is the point if i can’t believe?
but then there is the sacrificial and the sanctified. and when does giving up allow for freedom? and when does letting-go leave us absent and aloof? and, again, it is always about the frame, and prying the canvas loose from it. sometimes we float, sometimes we spin in the eddy–until some force or subtlety pushes us through. grief is like that. attachment is like that. these energies can rise up, render us inert, hold us. and it really just is what it is. we give these experiences language, purpose. we want a lesson. we want for something good to come from what feels otherwise like undeserved onslaught. and, again, it is what it is. living is an adventure in convergences and discoveries. moments treasured and those fit for the fire.
and each day we are blessed anew, and we are all left to discern what is myth and artifact, what is relevant and alive. it is left to us to choose.
every morning i get to be here, bare feet on the wet grass, i try and remember to make the choice to heal and not to harm. i pray with passion, and sometimes with unwarranted pestilence, for the recognition of that which is now to be ALL there is.
and for that to be everything.
In your longing for your giant self lies your goodness: and that longing is in all of you.
But in some of you, that longing is a torrent with might to the sea, carrying the secrets of the hillsides and the songs of the forest.
And in others it is a flat stream that loses itself in angles and bends and lingers before it reaches the shore.
For what is prayer but the expansion of yourself into the living ether?
~from The Prophet, by Kahil Gibran
my sensitivity is heightened. the september sun is the sweat lodge with no escape. my body currently will not take any nourishment from the animal kingdom and i feel i am at the whim of transition. the calling to rise-up, in spirit and consciousness, has harnessed me, a simultaneous experience of grace and tough-love. there is no negotiating with the directive.
my dreams have more to do now with a state of being than with a list of accomplishments, and the craving i am having is for a monastic-like life. wooden bowls and vespers. for a shared commitment to awe and wonder, to forgiveness and compassion. to releasing samskara, and knowing oneness beneath my skin.
the other women on the trail, we recognize each other. solo trackers, who need this daily dose of solitude, dust, and vistas. i feel exhaustion and thirst and stinging sweat pours down my face. i see this, really see this, through to what was before unseen, and know my place.
my calling is to transform, transfix, and translate.
i remember the time i hiked through chaco canyon and made mud spirals on my belly, and when i took a bath in an icy glacial stream in alaska–those were the moments that foreshadowed this one. it is all quite simple and elemental.
bodies, of water, flesh and starstuff.
and, ultimately, it comes down to me and you,
in the vast embrace.
Now is the time to sit still
For nothing but a great clamor of joy
Can make any sense