Category Archives: Journal

Almost There

In one of my earlier writings I spoke of learning that the journey is what is important not the getting to a “there” that we are aiming for.  Yet last week I found myself with a driving need to get to a “there”.  I was out in a wilderness area with my soulcraft sisters taking time to be in nature and allowing space to let my soul speak through the natural world of what it wishes to bring forth into the world.  As we arrived in the area we were to stay in I saw a small, prominent peak that drew my eye and heart.  I have always been drawn to the heights, love to get up there and see what there is to see from there.  Both of my vision quests I ended up with my site high up on a ridge or cliff.  So here I was with this peak calling to me to come yet knowing I probably couldn’t go there as I had injured my left ankle 10 days earlier and it was still feeling sore and weakened as well as feeling my body in a weaker state than it has been in many years.  It left me feeling vulnerable and bereft in some way that I couldn’t do what I had always done.

For the first three or four days there I listened to my ankle and stayed in the lowlands.  One day though we had more time to wander, my ankle had been feeling a bit better and I was feeling good physically.  So I decided to head up the peak slowly and carefully, stopping to check in with myself as I went to see how my body was feeling.  It was a slow journey but I carefully made my way up, picking my route so that I didn’t have to travel on scree that could be difficult for my ankle to handle.  I reached a place where there was only a final push up the steepest part to where the top was.  I could see that it would get more difficult and I would have to pick my route with great care.  I told myself to take a moment to check in and make sure my body felt up to it.  So I went over to a lovely rock outcropping that had a great view of the Golden Doe valley below and the cliffs to the south.  I stood there for a moment asking myself “is it necessary to go any further today, right now”?  I turned towards the peak top and all I could think was “I’m almost there, I can’t stop now, the top is right there.”  Without really checking in with my body I headed up the steep slope towards the top.  It didn’t take very long before I was feeling my ankle twinging often and my tiredness beginning to catch up with me.  All along the way I had told myself that if I ended up having to travel any distance through scree that would be unstable I needed to turn back.  I found myself at this point in scree, big rock scree that I told myself I could handle okay.  I traveled on, determined to not stop but to make it to the top, to make it “there”.  I must have gone 30 or 40 steps with no end of the scree in sight before a rock under my left foot moved in an unexpected way and I felt my ankle screech as it tried to stabilize me.  I finally woke up and realized that I needed to stop right there and go no further.  I sat down and spent a few minutes crying over a sense of limitation and inability to do what had always come easily.  After a bit though I realized that the tears were more about how hard I push myself sometimes to get someplace other than where I am without really taking enough time and space to let my soul and body tell me if it is necessary or not.  I had been learning over the previous months much about being gentle with myself yet here I was driving myself to go further for no reason that was truly necessary.

I stood up and slowly made my way back down to the lovely rock outcropping that I had stopped at earlier.  As I arrived there and truly looked at the spot, I found a lovely space that I could sit where I felt tucked in, held by the rock surrounding me as I looked out at the beauty around me.  Warm sun and a gentle breeze caressed me as I let myself sit and be where I was, letting all feelings of disappointment in not making it “there” blow away on the breeze.    I sank into a numinous state, feeling that right here is where the holy abides, here is where the Divine meets me.  Right here when I stop long enough to let the earth hold me, to let the sun gently warm me, to let the wind caress my skin, to let the beauty of the valley and cliffs around me enter my soul.  No need to go anywhere else only needing to allow here to speak to me.  In my mind I now call this my “almost there” place.  It is a place of great beauty, peace, aliveness and a sense of connection to all life.  I will hold it as a touchstone when I find myself driving again to get to a “there”.  Perhaps allowing myself a little more time and space to truly feel into whether getting there is necessary or if being “almost there” might possibly be where the mystery is waiting for me.

Whether drifting through life on a boat or climbing toward old age leading a horse, each day is a journey and the journey itself is home.

– Basho

Swallowed up by life

“Swallowed up by life”  While doing my morning reading and meditation this phrase spoke to me.  I sat with it in my heart as I enjoyed the silence and watched the sunrise.  Why it spoke to me I don’t know, I just know that my heart felt full as I let it settle into my being.  I weep as I sit here typing this, feeling the fullness of my desire to be absorbed, taken in by life.  The remainder of the reading said “Now He(She) who has prepared us for this very purpose is God who gave us the Spirit as a guarantee”.  “This very purpose”; to be enveloped, swallowed by life is our very purpose, it is what we are here for.  God(Life) prepares us for this purpose and gives a guarantee with the Spirit.  To me the Spirit is this sense of Presence that I have in these moments of grace.  These moments when I weep at the joy of knowing that I am a part of the whole of life, that I am being swallowed up by life.  I don’t really have the words for this.  That I am one with the colors of the sunrise, one with the mysterious mountains in the distant mist, one with the flowing sea that is singing to me as the tide comes in, one with the sea otter popping his head up as he travels to who knows where, one with my dear friend who calls with a question, one with the morning song birds.  There is so much beauty in each moment if only I can allow myself to be there, to let myself be enfolded completely by all of life around me.

For Presence
Awaken to the mystery of being here and enter the quiet immensity of your own presence.
Have joy and peace in the temple of your senses.
Receive encouragement when new frontiers beckon.
Respond to the call of your gift and the courage to follow its path.
Let the flame of anger free you of all falsity.
May warmth of heart keep your presence aflame.
May anxiety never linger about you.
May your outer dignity mirror an inner dignity of soul.
Take time to celebrate the quiet miracles that seek no attention.
Be consoled in the secret symmetry of your soul.
May you experience each day as a sacred gift woven around the heart of wonder.

– John O’Donohue

 

Opening To A New Life

Six years ago I found myself in a place where I knew I needed to change my life.  I didn’t know what I needed to change it to, I didn’t know with whom and where I needed to go or even really what it all was about.  I only knew that I was suffocating in the life that I was leading, it felt too small and constricting, lacking in meaning, purpose and joy.  I knew if I stayed in it I would slowly become less and less the person that I was meant to be and that felt like a form of suicide.  So I set out on a journey of opening; listening and following my own inner voice and the voice of the Divine as I knew it.  My prayer as I set out was “Spirit of life open me”.

Last week I was reading some of my journal entries from the early years of this time period and was struck by how what I envisioned happening and where I thought I was going is so very different from where I am now.  And yet I am in a beautiful new place in life that is feeling so very right.  A place full of connection, meaning, purpose and joy as I move forward into serving the world in the way that I believe I am meant to serve.  Getting here was not easy in any way.  Along the way I had to leave my marriage of 24 years, deal with the grief and difficulty of a son with a drug addiction, learn to support myself financially and slowly but surely learn how to create the connections with others that I needed to feel supported emotionally and spiritually.  I moved twice, decided to change my work situation to part time so that I could explore new options, spent lots of time and money on different healing modalities, sought spiritual community and connection and learned new spiritual practices to ground myself within the web of life that we all are a part of.  Each step felt both difficult and wonderful as I opened to new experiences, people, thoughts, emotions, practices and places.

A quote I read by Rumi early in this process has been a guiding light for me:  “When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.”    I could feel that river moving in me, that joy, even as my life around me fell apart or was pulled apart by my own actions.  In my deepest pain and sorrow, in all of my fearful places and thoughts, there would be this undercurrent that was full of peace and joy because somehow I knew that I was doing all of this from my deepest self or soul.   So now six years later I find myself in a whole new life that fits me, that is me, that allows me to breathe.  I am still journeying, listening and opening.  I don’t believe that I am “there” or even that there is a “there” that I need to get to.  I do believe that I have learned to open to life, to open anew every day to what life holds.  To be open to the pain or the pleasure, to take each day as the gift that it is, however it is.   Even when I can’t be open, and there are often times that I can’t, to at least be aware that I am closing myself in some way.   I’ve learned that I only need to listen and to take each step as it opens.  I don’t need to know where the path is leading me, I just need to be on the path.  As the Buddhists say “The path is the goal”.    There is such joy in not having to control what is next but to live each moment as fully as possible for the moment that it is.  Such joy in trusting that all that I need, all that I have to give, all that is good in life is here right now in this moment and will be here in the next moment and the next.  The river is moving in me and I am moving in the river, how about you?

God takes our souls on journeys we know nothing of.  Why?  We don’t know, being as we are the passed-out reveler laid in a wagon and driven elsewhere.  What we love, what we want, is this being held in a presence, the being taken. This is the satisfaction, not learning why or how or where we are, or when we will arrive somewhere else.

– Bahauddin, Rumi’s Father