Moving On

It has been a while since I’ve posted here.  Every so often I think of coming ’round to add a new post, but I never seem to get it done.  I think it is time to archive this particular blog.  South of Sabai has gone south, and I am moving in another direction.  Life has changed form, shifted shapes,  scattered new seeds of awakening, awareness, awfulness.

Awful, as in awe-full, as in “to inspire reverence” – the real meaning of the word before it came to mean something terrible.  Well, and for that matter, the word terrible once upon a time not only meant something to be feared, but also to be revered.

Odd, isn’t it, that fear and reverence were so closely intertwined?  But that’s the way with life, I think.  Pain and beauty, life and death – the pairs feed each other, need each other.  We never really grow and expand, or even become fully human until we’ve gone into the depths of awfulness. Pain and ugliness awaken beauty and compassion.  Isn’t it always the most intense experiences that cause us to say…. “I have changed” and give us a deeper understanding of who we are?

I have learned this: Life is sacred, holy, and beautiful in all of its forms.  Even in death.  Maybe especially in death.  When we acknowledge death we can really learn to live.

Hey you, yes you.  You reading this blog post…. do you know that you will die? No, I mean really, do you KNOW it?  It’s a hard thing for us humans to grasp.  And mostly, we don’t grasp it.  Even when it happens to those closest to us we have a hard time believing that this ego called me will ever end.

Partly, I think that’s because on some level we don’t really die.  What I mean is: the part of us that exists beneath our identity, that bit of energy that animates us, that bit we can’t quite define… that part lives on.  We know this at an intuitive level, even if we can’t quite say so.  Energy simply changes form.  But this ego, this identity called Amy, this body that claims to be Amy…. all the bits and pieces that make up the story of Amy…  this will die.

Here’s what I need to do before I die:   Live.  Yep, that simple.  I’m not talking about the kind of life that is a living death.  I am talking about awakening to the beauty that is all around.  I’m talking about following my passions and trusting that the unfolding paths will take me exactly where I need to be.

So.  I am archiving this blog and moving on. There will be no more posts here.  Not to worry, however, if you are so inclined to follow me around the web I do have a couple of new projects starting.  Because I am a blog addict 😉  I am starting up a new personal blog –  you are welcome to follow me there. I will continue to post on A Yoga Year (yes I know, I am way behind on my posts there too, but I will come back to it!)  I am also in the process of setting up my business web pages, and who knows what else will show up for me to work on.  So I will be around ~ in and out of cyberspace.  Feel free to continue to connect – I do love hearing from you.

Meanwhile, I leave this particular blog with a challenge (or is it an invitation?) issued to you as well as to me:  Let yourself know that your body will die.  Live with that knowing, and see if you can live with it joyfully.  Because I think (and I could be wrong) that if you live with it, and come to really know that your identity will die,  you might just discover that you have a deep gratitude for your life.

Gratitude is a huge gift.

Maybe you will also come to know that you actually love the life you live.  Now, there’s a gift!  And if you don’t love it, you will know that you can change it, and change it again and again and again until you find your passion, until you really fall in love with your life.

It’s a simple thing.  Remember what lights your fire and do that, be that.  If complaining that you will never do what you want to do is the thing that you love best… well then keep on complaining.  That’s ok too.  But if you want more, go for it. Is there something that calls you and you don’t heed that call because there are other things you “should” do….?

Here’s a suggestion: let go of the “should” and follow your muse.  Get wild, live outside the box.  Appreciate who you are, be grateful for what you have, and go on… be uniquely You.

Really, what else can we do?

 

“Go… be the flower, be the star…. go, and be the love you are… ”   (lyrics by Spring from Be the Light)

~ Many Blessings ~

be glad

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Published in: on October 1, 2011 at 14:29  Comments (4)  
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Waterlogged in Washington

path through the wetlandsI’m soaked. The dog is soaked. The cat goes out for a moment, and comes in soaked, and with an indignant meow, he looks at me accusingly as if to say…. what’s with that door?  Where’s the dry land?

This is Washington State, where (I am told) it rarely rains. Really.  It does not rain.  It pours, it showers, it drizzles, it mists….. but rarely does it rain.  Which begs the question… what exactly is rain?  To that, I have no answer.  All I know is that its wet.  Soggy.  Dreary and damp.

My hands are chronically cold.  They might be permanently numb if it weren’t for those microwavable heat packs that I can wrap around them once in a while.  And it’s not that the temperatures are all that low… it’s just that this constant damp is so bone chilling deep.  I’ve been warmer in single digit temperatures, with snow on the ground.

The other thing about a gray climate: I am never quite sure when morning arrives.  Shouldn’t the  morning sun be a cue to get dressed and begin the day? But here, there is not a clear sunrise. Instead, the sky shifts gradually from pre-dawn rainy black to subtly lighter shades of gray.  Suddenly, you look at the clock and realize its noon, and you haven’t had your morning shower and breakfast because you are still waiting for the sun to come up.

Alright, so maybe I exaggerate a little, but really, this constant rainy gray is tough to get used to.  We are doing what we can to invite the sun –  We placed hanging crystals in all the windows to add a bit of color, and bunches of daffodil buds placed inside the house are opening to a brilliant yellow.   I find myself wanting to wear bright colors, and to throw bright-colored blankets over anything gray or brown. 

It’s not all drab and dreary, however.  Nearby is the watershed area, and mossy treethere are beautiful trails that dip down into the earth and wander through fluorescent green moss and ferns. The trees embrace the wet moss and reach high up into the sky, and  the birds are abundant here. At night:  a beautiful chorus of frogs and crickets.  Yesterday, while out walking, I heard the sweet sound of red-winged blackbirds, and my spirit soared with their song.

An encounter on the rainy trail this morning:  An old man in a red plaid shirt, blue jeans, and brown muddy rain boots, carrying an old ragged umbrella greeted me with a bright good morning.  “I’m wondering when the rain might stop!” he said cheerfully.  “But then, when you’ve lived here as long as I have, you never mind it and you just live your life anyway!”

That seems like sage advice.  To just be in the moment, to appreciate what is, to live my life anyway – this is wisdom.  Regardless of what is happening on the outside, this moment IS my life.   Whining is useless.  It is much more practical, not to mention pleasant to seek the beauty, to live the love, to be with what is.  When I notice that the rain brings amazing gifts I am thankful,  and the doldrums fall away pretty quickly.

And in all fairness, there have been a few sun breaks in the past week or so (my sister tells me that this is the only area where tholympics from capital baye weather casters actually use ‘sun breaks’ as a technical term). When the sky is blue and the air clear, we can see across the bay to the Olympic Mountain ranges.  Really, the area is so incredibly beautiful.

My father, who lived here most of his life, always said that there is no place more beautiful than Washington State.  After long trips, he relished being home where the land is green and fertile, and the salty smell of the Pacific Ocean drifts through open windows and nestles around damp corners.  I think of him often here: I feel his spirit, and invoke his love of the area to keep me sane in all of this gray.

I do know that spring will arrive here eventually (it is only March, after all) and that one day soon the rain will stop, the sun will shine, and there will be the great outdoors of the Pacific Northwest to appreciate.

For now, we take it all day-to-day:  living, loving, laughing where we can.

Life Simply Is.
May you appreciate your moments in all that you do.
~Namaste~
roots

Rain in Summer – A Poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

How beautiful is the rain!
After the dust and heat,
In the broad and fiery street,
In the narrow lane,
How beautiful is the rain! 

How it clatters along the roofs,
Like the tramp of hoofs
How it gushes and struggles out
From the throat of the overflowing spout!

Across the window-pane
It pours and pours;
And swift and wide,
With a muddy tide,
Like a river down the gutter roars
The rain, the welcome rain!

The sick man from his chamber looks
At the twisted brooks;
He can feel the cool
Breath of each little pool;
His fevered brain
Grows calm again,
And he breathes a blessing on the rain.

From the neighboring school
Come the boys,
With more than their wonted noise
And commotion;
And down the wet streets
Sail their mimic fleets,
Till the treacherous pool
Ingulfs them in its whirling
And turbulent ocean.

In the country, on every side,
Where far and wide,
Like a leopard’s tawny and spotted hide,
Stretches the plain,
To the dry grass and the drier grain
How welcome is the rain!

In the furrowed land
The toilsome and patient oxen stand;
Lifting the yoke encumbered head,
With their dilated nostrils spread,
They silently inhale
The clover-scented gale,
And the vapors that arise
From the well-watered and smoking soil.
For this rest in the furrow after toil
Their large and lustrous eyes
Seem to thank the Lord,
More than man’s spoken word.

Near at hand,
From under the sheltering trees,
The farmer sees
His pastures, and his fields of grain,
As they bend their tops
To the numberless beating drops
Of the incessant rain.
He counts it as no sin
That he sees therein
Only his own thrift and gain.

These, and far more than these,
The Poet sees!
He can behold
Aquarius old
Walking the fenceless fields of air;
And from each ample fold
Of the clouds about him rolled
Scattering everywhere
The showery rain,
As the farmer scatters his grain.

He can behold
Things manifold
That have not yet been wholly told,–
Have not been wholly sung nor said.
For his thought, that never stops,
Follows the water-drops
Down to the graves of the dead,
Down through chasms and gulfs profound,
To the dreary fountain-head
Of lakes and rivers under ground;
And sees them, when the rain is done,
On the bridge of colors seven
Climbing up once more to heaven,
Opposite the setting sun.

Thus the Seer,
With vision clear,
Sees forms appear and disappear,
In the perpetual round of strange,
Mysterious change
From birth to death, from death to birth,
From earth to heaven, from heaven to earth;
Till glimpses more sublime
Of things, unseen before,
Unto his wondering eyes reveal
The Universe, as an immeasurable wheel
Turning forevermore
In the rapid and rushing river of Time.

Stories

Rain by Shel SilversteinRain.  Heavy, steady rain.  The dry ground soaks it up as if it cannot get enough. In an old camping trailer the rain drums rhythmically on the roof, making me feel cozy, yet restless.  Rest-less, as in unable to sleep.  A sense of urgency, of needing to be gone from here before the rains turn to snow, yet still uncertain of the direction.

There is no right or wrong, really, in terms of decision.  Any step leads to a new place, new experience, new stories.  Or unexpected repetitions of old stories. Who are we without our stories?  We define ourselves as this or that, some definitions carried forward from childhood, some developed along the way, some evolving out of radically new experiences, some out of a sense of unending sameness.  Day by day our actions are guided by what we tell ourselves about who we are and what we are capable of.  (Never end a sentence with a preposition, goes a story from high school English class.)

Our stories become our identities.

That’s not a bad thing – it is what being human is all about.  Stories, adventures, experience.  “Everyone should write their memoirs,” Tanza said to me once, her point being that every life is fascinating.  We all have a story, multiple stories that have helped shape who we are in this moment, and have brought us to this point in our lives.   Some of our stories have been adventure stories, filled with travel and excitement, while others are stories of staying home, building family and garden and community.  Some have been comedies, romantic comedy maybe, or even black comedy… Romance, drama, mystery, how about a fairy tale?  Horror stories?  Tear-jerkers?  Happily-ever-after stories?

Ok, maybe I am carrying the metaphor too far, but really, if you think about your own stories ~ the places you’ve been, the people you know, the weaving in and out of connections and paths, incidents and co-incidents ~ it is all fascinating.  Step back for a moment from the drama of your life and see it as if you were reading a book, or watching a movie.  If we can step back, become an observer in our own stories,  we can let go for a moment of  “the way things are suppose to be” and see “what is” with new appreciation.

If I step back from this drama of not knowing where I’m going (what i judge as the failure of instinct) and see it all as story, will a new door open up?  will i see possibilities where I had seen none before?  Maybe, maybe not, but I might be able to appreciate it a bit more as Adventure.

So who writes these stories?  Is it us?  The so-called new age movement had us all believing that we create our own reality – and for those of us who bought in to that we eventually found that such a unexamined belief just leads to guilt, and the overwhelming sense that we must not be good enough, or not doing something right, because our reality sucks, and it’s not at all what we meant to create…..

There is some truth to creating our own reality, as in writing our stories, making our decisions, choosing how to face the situations of our lives. But here’s the other thing…. we can’t see with the long lens of time.  We can’t see all possible outcomes from our small human perspective.  We are, in these human forms, limited.  Can you see what’s  around the next bend before you get there?

Sometimes, despite our best intentions, and for reasons we can’t figure, our stories take us in to dark places, and we wonder how we got here, how we will get out.  Other times, we unexpectedly rejoice in the glory of choices well made, stories well written.  Maybe those really dark places hold nuggets of wisdom and joy that we could not come into any other way, or maybe the things we thought we wanted most are not the stories that bring us the most joy.   We don’t know, can’t know before hand….

No matter what stories we live – this direction or that,  this choice or the other – there is no right or wrong.  It’s all an adventure. We are humans,  maybe just many expressions of god experiencing an amazing range of emotion and actions and stories.  Whatever the plot, our storDeuce and the Dalai Lamaies shape us, give meaning to our lives, create ways for us to share who we are.

Maybe that’s the important thing here: stories need to be shared to be appreciated.  We need to share our stories with one another, give up harsh self judgment for self appreciation, and come together in community to appreciate all stories – to laugh and cry and love and share in the full experience of being Human.   Our stories give us food for relationship; they are beautiful no matter the content, and bring out the tenacity and beauty in each one of us.

How do I write my future story?  I cannot see with the fullness of time what outcome my choice today might ultimately have.  My view is narrowed, limited by the current version of my story.  All I can do, all any of us can do, is to make our choices with integrity and maybe a bit of faith, trusting instinct, taking action, being in the moment, and loving the adventure of once upon a time.

Published in: on October 24, 2010 at 13:12  Comments (2)  
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