I needed these words tonight and as usual I figured I’m not the only one. Also, here’s some pics from a recent morning ramble around the property…
I woke up the other night and even though I was right there in bed I had the sensation of being in a car, and the car was slowing down. It was a simultaneous sensation of both observing the tires, watching their rotation take longer and longer, as well as a sense of being inside the vehicle and recognizing the force of travel ceasing, one moment at a time.
One of my teachers recently encouraged me to slow down, this visual gave me something to imagine while I consider what slowing down could look like in my life.
Slowing down isn’t always the easiest thing to do, is it?
Have you ever been driving through a heavy fog or even a light mist and as you turn the corners there are times when it’s not quite clear whether there is another car ahead or if your own light is reflecting back at you? Sometimes on the curvy rural and mountainous roads I get to drive there is a split second where my breath catches in that uncertain moment, especially in the thickest and foggiest nights of the year driving next to the river with its heavy clouds hovering just over the ground in the early morning. It struck me, one such drive recently, how sometimes we feel that same startling at our own inner light when it reflects back to us too.
Maybe we don’t always have the words for it but moments of mysterious glory sneak up on us sometimes, don’t they? The nearness of our own soul, like a lifelong companion we haven’t taken the time to enjoy and study the light of, to the point that once encountering its luminance, our luminance, face-to-face we can feel not only uncertain but often afraid.
This is true of our darkness, our brilliance, all of our colours. How well do we recognize ourselves? This question seems most apt especially when we meet our likeness in another.
A strange wonder occurs when a mirror of sorts comes before us in a fellow human. This is often where we meet our strongest attractions or discomforts and even disliking—hard to admit to either of those as it often is—it becomes easier to not think about those things at all.
But have you ever thought of what we lose in that avoidance? Or better, have you ever considered what could be gained in being attentive? Our world, at literal war with itself and one another suffers from this circumventing. Our breath catches, we make it around the corner, experience relief, and drive on.
This time of year, in the hemisphere I write to you from, if you pull over to the side of the road near water there is a quick chorus of Spring Peepers filling the air. The mist has a sense of freshness in it, and the stars are winking bright as the moon has waned dark and has begun its ascent to fullness again.
Maybe sometimes we fear slowing down too because to have a companion to sit in the light of the moon with makes pulling over so much nicer. How deeply we need the goodness of kind companions.
Twelve more times now the moon has cycled telling a story within a rhythm of gentleness, darkness to brightness, quiet-whisper-sliver to show-stealing-orb all in order to come back to its first theme Creator assigned it in memory of—goodness. The Biblical calendar has renewed and the first of the months that the people of Israel were instructed to count as the first of the months to remember the way they had experienced redemption has returned. How do we know redemption without reflection?
We don’t have to know the name of the month or the season to still know, sure enough, it simply is. Within every mysterious knowing (or unknowing) we are invited closer to our own breath and that is an invitation to experiencing the Author of Breath when we drink deep of our own. Sometimes the things we know the names of prove to be the things we know the least about. Sometimes a sip is enough to leave us in awe for years.
Sometimes I wake early in the morning to remember these things, sometimes I stay up late, sometimes I startle at a reflection staring back at me in broad daylight. In all these I sense a quiet whisper deep in my spirit and I pray it be in yours tonight too; Jesus. He is a faithful companion (even when we are not). He is seeing when we are confused—even when we’re choosing to be because it’s “easier”. He is our friend. Our questions don’t make Him leave, our broken hearts do not tire Him, our scandals do not surprise. He is near to the broken hearted, so that seems to be like a good place for us to be too—even if the broken hearted is me and you, even if we startle at the light. We don’t have to face it, any of it, alone. We are not alone.
“I said: what about my eyes?
He said: Keep them on the road.
I said: What about my passion?
He said: Keep it burning.
I said: What about my heart?
He said: Tell me what you hold inside it?
I said: Pain and sorrow.
He said: Stay with it. The wound is the place where the Light enters you.”
Once Paul heard words from Jesus that were confusing and difficult for me to understand for a really long time, now I’m glad he left them there for me to wrestle with and wrestle I have/do/will — but on another note, does it sound a lot like that last line in Rumi’s lesson to anyone else too?
“At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me,
My grace is enough; it’s all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness.
Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Messiah’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Messiah take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.”
—Paul, 2 Corinthians 12:10-13
I’m slowing down to take these things in again. Want to join me? I hope that you have real flesh-and-blood companions in your life, but I know that is often not the case and even when we are trying at it, hard, it takes time to cultivate the kind of compassionate and safe community we each need and want to be. If you find yourself in the in-betweens I’m glad to be with you here in this moment. Thank you for being here with me, staying in the Breath…
P.S. please share with anyone else you know who could use to breath it in today too.
hellooo! I’m Raynna, a writing, photograph-taking, qigong-practicing, homeschooling-mama-of-six exploring the wilds of the Pacific Northwest and me. I write because I know I’m not the only one and because I know we need each other. Subscribe to receive updates directly in your inbox. Stay as long as you’d like, feel welcome to move on when you need. I’m glad you are here, today.