If there is a thing or two I’ve hoped to become re-enchanted with over my blogging years it is the way truth rises and returns like the tide. When the rhythm of truth has risen within my world there are times I have lost sight of wonder and rather been at odds, other times I’ve tried to be numb. It can seem a thing to savor to learn how to read the stories within time, and even nature.
Popular author Tristan Gooley has whole books on “How to Read Water” and weather, shadows and shallows. It’s a lost art and lost language he says. I believe him and I like to learn from him, but also, what about how to read our own bones and blood? Is this only for a few or for us all?
What about the complex and fascinating network of information pulsing through us, our bodies, at every moment? How much do we savor these and what worth even do we attribute it is to listen and learn the lost art and language of…us? The tide begins to feel like an irritating rub that’d we’d rather not “let” rise but would rather sooner press down…or would we truly, most satisfyingly? most whole?
“Stars burn clear
all night till dawn.
Do that yourself, and a spring will rise in the dark with water your deepest thirst is for.”
― Mawlana Jalal-al-Din Rumi
What a time in life this is, for all of us! The things that rub have the potential to make us shine, but there is SO much happening, so much friction, and goodness are we thirsty. To burn seems frightful in this light.
I understand. I am traveling in my own places of bruised heart. In these places we are all tempted to think we are not bruised but broken. The showers of life beat down their cleansing rains but we feel the sting of hail more acutely than we can perceive the strength of healing—a force of Mercy that it takes time to understand. I’m still learning, but here are some reflections from some of the places I’ve been of late. I hope it brings some companionship to you in your own journeys:
Friday, June 4, 2021: About a year ago I was lying in my bed and a breeze blew across my face, I felt it down from my head to shoulders and I understood the words, “Stay, in My Breath”. Since that experience I’ve been pondering this, reaching for it in practical ways, wondering and seeking what I do not yet understand. About four years prior to that I had been unwell and a teacher taught me to breath from my belly, deep into my belly, for the first time since I was a child.
A good thing about being unwell at times is in the gift of how much easier it is to perceive what is happening in our bodies—more so at least than it is when we are “strong” and busily going from here to there. This is especially true when the unwell-ness is severe and there is a shift for the better. At these times, we are able to sense it, name it even—we know when we are healing. Learning how to breath from my deep belly was one such moment for me. I felt the shift. It took practice. It took time, time that prior to being laid out on my back I didn’t agree I had. But when it came, I knew it. I was healing.
Recently I was challenged not to try to look so far ahead in my life, not to spin my wheels and burn my energy in wondering what would nor how it would happen next, but rather to take a minute or so and consider what has come before, to not miss what has been and how it has brought me right here, right now. I was asked to look for the progress and growth that has occurred even from five years ago.
It was a timely challenge. I had managed to forget something that upon opening my photo-journal to five years ago I realized was just. this. week. five years ago — my family and I were moving away from our dear Kentucky to the birth state (though not city) of both my husband and I, Missouri (again).
Oh my heart.
We didn’t know how long we would live in Missouri, but the time to come was not at hand yet. At hand presently were garage sales and Goodwill runs, visits with family and friends, counting the days that we would depart from not only a beloved haven-home but from a land that we had grown to know and truly love. I remember that part distinctly.
We still lived in suburbia then, but several times a week as a part of our home-(life)-school rituals we ventured down so many Kentucky country roads to quiet and open places, spreading out our picnic blankets and finding rhythm and ease in our days together as a little family, like no other time before. It was sacred.
The daylight in which we were supposed to pull out turned to nightlight, late night, with precious friends bearing our literal burdens that we would carry to a whole new state, and as much as I didn’t want them or us to be bearing those burdens any longer, as exhausted as we all were, I couldn’t help but feel the ache of the good-bye and not want it to come. But, it did.
We drove through most of the night and then rested a few hours before pulling into our new driveway, in a new suburbia, early the next morning.
And there it was; not a home we had to drive away from to find open and quiet places but a big backyard with an adventurously large hill that rolled right down into our very own, “slice of wilds.”
It was public land but that didn’t matter to us, from that moment on, it was ours.
Pictured above: a snapshot of several of my children the first time they saw our new backyard-slice-of-wilds and one of our first creature friends found there.
I didn’t know then how important this would be nor how I would soon no longer be able to drive us to quiet open places, but I knew it was special. It was provision and a real moment in time of awe for me, a moment that I was invited to see a strip of land and to…
“Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment. Cleverness is mere opinion, bewilderment is intuition.” ― Rumi
“Our goal should be to live life in radical amazement. ….get up in the morning and look at the world in a way that takes nothing for granted. Everything is phenomenal; everything is incredible; never treat life casually.
To be spiritual is to be amazed.”
I have often not done this well and this is why I want to keep coming back to it. Why I want to stay in the Breath. This invitation rarely seems to come in times of peace. Yet, perhaps, there it is again, a mercy… a good thing about being “unwell” at times is in the gift of how much easier it is to perceive what is happening in our bodies—more so at least than it is when we are “strong” and busily going from here to there. We can perceive healing, in its many forms, even grief.
I’m gonna step away from writing for the evening, it’s shabbat soon, time to light the candles and enjoy space around the table with my family. Will write more soon…
Saturday, June 5th, 2021: Fast forward five years and I sit writing you from the foothills in the Cascade Mountains. A long ways from Missouri and our “slice” as I call it has become acres with a rushing river flowing through it.
Yes, when I consider what has come before, when I seek not to miss what has been and how it has brought me and my family right here, right now, I see much progress and growth and wonder. This is good, not to hold on to any of it, wish for what was or to dread what may be…but rather to simply be here now… I mean, whaaat?? Amazing. And as I stand amazed there is little room for much else—not because of circumstance though, because…life!
There have been troubles, many. But we are here. Here we are. Sustained by Breath.
The Hebrew word for breath, wind, and spirit is all one word: ruach. When I speak to you and write of Breath, it is to me the very Spirit of Creator given to us each at birth.
I am watching a doe as I write to you now. There are few things prettier and more elegant than a doe stretching her long neck up to eat from a weeping willow tree, raising her front left hoof, bowing her back and softening her back leg joints as she does. It quiets my heart as I recall thoughts from this week. I ponder again the differences and likenesses between animals and humans. The way they live their lives between definites and the way we are given the gift of living with myriad possibilities. Who we want to be, how we want to be, where we want to be—all a canvas waiting for our art.
Lately, I’ve most thought about the way we often suffer from this rather than joy in it. I don’t want to suffer this anymore, I want to savor and live into it. I want to look around and see the good world that we’ve been given by a good Creator and enjoy it, because I know now that brings the Eternal One joy, crowning creation as it was intended. This would be to live as a queens and kings, sure of our inheritance and birthrights and purpose. (amen)
I said to myself once this week, no energy to write. Then, I proceeded to write 13 pages in my journal.
Kinda the way of it sometimes, yeah? Often I have thought I don’t feel up to doing my Qigong (an ancient practice that in China is called the study of human potential) but then I do it and remember, one more time, the way it heals.
Whew, we get things turned around. Often, like me jumping to ideas and worries about what is to come, we all will jump to some kind of physical activity to “get healthy” and we lose sight of beautiful realities such as recognizing and appreciating the very things that have brought us so far, even at times without our conscious participation or any care at all, things such as Breath.
I’ve been thinking about how one of the quickest and surest ways we’d die would be if our oxygen supply was cut off. It stands to reason (and read) how that makes breath significant, yes?
It has carried us, provided for us. What would happen if we stayed there awhile, in the Breath, ceasing from our busy to and fro? Why do we avoid it so? Perhaps there we feel a little breathy ourselves. I do. I feel at times I could float away, and that scares me when my mind begins to calculate all the things. But then I remember again, as I am there like a leaf trembling in the wind, the way we often suffer from LIFE rather than joy in it…
And I remember… I don’t want to suffer life anymore, I want to savor and live into it. I want to look around and see the good world that we’ve been given by a good Creator and enjoy it, because I know now that brings the Eternal One joy, crowning creation as it was intended. I know you and I and all of this was intended, wanted.
I remember the way we have wings to ride that wind, those breaths that come and we think they will suffocate or choke or in anyway otherwise essentially torture us, but they don’t. Even in our ragged breath through fears and worry and anxiety and grief, they don’t because we’re still here…
We’re alive, with breath from the Eternal One.
This is our time to live as a queens and kings, sure of our inheritance and birthrights and purpose, to stay in the Breath and live.
“Just to be is a blessing. Just to live is holy.” -Abraham Joshua Heschel
“Stay in the Breath”— I’ve been holding these words for awhile. I do not give them to you lightly. I’ve been holding them up to the light carrying them with me in my backpack on all my travels. They are strong words and a good place for me to keep my focus, so I’ve renamed my blog for the first time in seven years. As always, thank you for traveling with me, and anytime this ceases to feel like a place for you to grow please know that it is entirely okay to slip away. I want the best for you each. Travel onward, always.
P.S. What about you? Rather than looking ahead in questions yet unable to be answered, what do you see when you look where you’ve been and how you’ve have been sustained to reach where you are today?
Again, thanks for being here. If you’re new to these parts you can subscribe HERE to stay in touch.
(whew, I know this one was long…but so many words in my heart that I’ve been gathering and want to share with you all…I’m posting a few more quotes below…oh! also a song…)