Emptiness

Cold and Dry.  The autumn air deepens into winter’s bite at night ~ below freezing temps in the high desert of Central Oregon.  Time moves on:  autumn, just arrived, already merging into winter. In the moving, stillness.  The dryness of this day, in this place, is crisp, cold, unyielding.  Waiting.

I find myself depleted, emptied of purpose, watching, listening. Waiting.  Dry.  My skin is dry, my body craving water, moisture. Even my spiritual center feels dry, crisp, like an autumn leaf that crumples when you fold it in your hands, bits drifting down into the earth.  Compost.

I imagine walking barefoot on the thick, wet carpet of a rain forest  (avoiding slugs) under drips of rain from bright green mossy branches, or diving in to the wild waves of a cold, salty ocean (not that I would really…being the cold wimp that I am, it is more a romantic notion than a practical one, no matter how thick my bathrobe may be).  I crave the idea of moisture, of wet, of wild water, of a fertile flow that might feed some new step, some new force of creativity.

Dry spells are normal, I suppose. This emptiness, this nothing…. creative types know it well.  Writers block that comes after a period of prolific writing, blank canvas that stares back at a painter as if nothing could ever fill it, architects or web designers who lose, momentarily, that creative flow that builds something out of nothing.

And if it happens in creative endeavors, why wouldn’t it also be a natural part of spirituality?  Spirituality is nothing, if not creative (in fact, when creativity is separated from spirituality, there can be no true inspiration, but that is a thread for another day).

Contraction precedes expansion.  Expansion requires contraction.  Perhaps contraction is necessary to integrate creative and spiritual expansion, and maybe emptiness is part of a letting go that allows space to open for a different kind of creative expression.   Yin and Yang, and All that Jazz.

oceanEven the ocean contracts and expands in response to some greater force that we can only marginally grasp.

This dry, brittle spiritual center is, I know, a momentary contraction.  I’ve known it before, know that this too will pass. Creative contraction is always temporary, no matter how absolute and devastating it is in a moment.  The emptiness is not really empty. My friend William used to say: “even numbness is a feeling,”  and Pema Chodron reminds me that feelings are simply energy, they come and they go, none of them are permanent.  Change happens.  Contractions give way to expansions, emptiness invites form, and is filled.

For now, all I can do is allow the emptiness, allow the dry spell.  Here God, this too is yours.  It is all I have to offer in this moment.

doorway

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Published in: on October 12, 2010 at 09:13  Comments (2)  
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