Friday, November 15, 2019

Revelations on a Mist-filled Day

Image by Pexels on Pixabay

Every morning I stand in Mountain Pose, a foundational yoga position, and think of the San Gabriel Mountains across the valley. I draw on their steady presence. I feel their power; their gravitas binds me to them.

Today those mountains are shrouded in fog. Still they ground me. They are earth rising to the heavens and yet deeply present. They are silent messengers of the Divine. Where their namesake’s messages came with trumpets and bright lights, these mountains reach out to us with their quiet presence, their message no less important. Even behind a veil of thick, moist air, they call to us body and soul to be here and now.

It’s funny how the mountains seem more prevalent on a day they are hidden. That which is secreted allows the imagination to pass through the mists and wander into Avalon or Shangri-La, some mythic world that exists on the edge of time, space and psyche.

The past is one of those magical places. It is grounded in memory and yet shrouded by it as the fog grows thicker over time. But the past is ever with us. A looming presence built more of feeling than an exact replay of events. The mountains I look to every day, over time, change. My memories, though powerful, shift through the years, become more made thing than recording.

It’s dusk, and the fog has not lifted to reveal the San Gabriels. I suppose today they will remain hidden as darkness makes its way over the valley. Some days the past remains hidden, too. And that’s okay. Just as I know the mountains are there, I know the past stands forever in my memory whether I can recall it or not. Those I’ve lost are always there. Those moments we had together are just beyond the veil.

The sun has broken through the clouds illuminating the houses across the street. A day without sunlight ends in revelation, not of mountains or memory, but of a moment before memory. It’s the now the mountains remind us to be in. The sun becomes brighter just before it slips below the horizon. This moment is as bright as it will ever be. Tomorrow it will be a memory and the mists will slowly cover it. But like the mountains, this memory, this feeling will always be ever present with me.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

In this Moment

Photo by Guillaume Bleyer on Unsplash

I let the wind take away my thoughts. Only the palm fronds moved by Santa Ana breezes remain. Lit by sun, they gently wave back and forth, rocking my mind into a poetic trance.

The wind's fierceness now calmed, no longer gusts raging through valleys, whipping up dust and fire. This spirit of the desert named for the mother of the mother of compassion holds my attention by what it touches. In this moment all is well and yet beneath the surface of this calm, sorrow rests.

The sun is setting and the tree casts its shadow over the terrace just as smog or smoke veil the mountains that were bright in this morning’s sun.  Everything moves or is moved. The morning drifts into evening. The winds die to breezes to stillness.

But right now the wind picks up a little as the air passes over the heated land. There is still life in the world. Life still beats my heart and the wings of mourning doves. Though ashes may ride on the wind from some not so distant fire, though smoke may hide the mountains, the sun will still set and rise. And because of the wind and fires and smoke and ash, the sun will be more beautiful as it slips below the horizon.

Saturday, August 31, 2019

A Stirring Season

Image by prettysleepy1 on pixabay

Restless. Unfocused. Spinning. Drifting. I feel stirred up inside. Sometimes I can reach the calm center, but just beyond this place my thoughts are scattered and in a swirl. Maybe this is just a reordering process. Maybe I should just go with it for bit. I keep it stirred up by worrying about it. What if I relax and let it settle on its own?

The whole world feels stirred up and our fear keeps it that way. Things are changing. They have to, but our fear gets in the way of the process of order to chaos to order again. We need to become the calm center at the eye of the storm and wait until we know what is ours to do. We need to float and not tread. Life will support us if we let it. And when we’re calm enough, we’ll know what to do.

As I focused on writing this, I came to the conclusions I needed. I’ll relax and keep things as simple as possible. I’ll float and listen. Maybe what I needed was at the bottom and the only way to find it was for things to get stirred up. And with a calm, focused mind I’ll more easily see it.

Friday, July 19, 2019

The Existential Storm

Photo by Mysticsartdesign on pixabay

Each day passes into the next. As the Earth spins round, facing the sun and then turning away, a day passes. We put numbers on this and call it time, but it’s really movement.

Music moves us and in long pieces, is broken into movements. There is movement in stories as they progress and we call collective action for change a movement. And change itself is movement. It is the act of becoming something else.

And so the day becomes night becomes day. We come from light, become flesh and pass into other forms and into light again. We are ever becoming. We are the light of being moving through the Universe in this form and then that form and then…

All is movement except the stillness at the center of everything. What moves is born from stillness and so I find myself rendered still by so much passing. Maybe it’s just that I’m getting older and feel the passing more. Maybe there simply is more passing, more leaving, more changing than us humans have ever experienced.

Stillness is being. Sometimes we just have to be with what is. What is moving through my consciousness? What is moving through my life? I can’t know unless I’m still for a moment. Then it all comes rushing in and it’s like I’m in the eye of some existential storm. I see all that is happening and yet, if I remain still, I’m in peace and all I need to know rises to meet me right where I am.

I’m passing, too. I touch the stillness to know it’s okay. I let the stillness move me and having known it, I am able to pass into the storm, join the story and ride the feelings that come with all this passing away.

And day moves into night moves into day…

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

The Call to Rise

Photo by Andressa Voltolini on Unsplash

The sunlight rests on my keyboard and I’m reminded of all the things I’ve seen or read on how we all, all of the animals including us, are drawn to the rising sun.

I just saw a story and photos of a black bear leaning against the rail of a hotel patio watching the sun rise. I’m reading Normandi Ellis’ memoir, Dreams of Isis: A Woman’s Spiritual Sojourn. In it she talks of the Ancient Egyptians love of the sun and how they saw the baboons watching, almost worshipping the sun as it rose. They even built statues of baboons doing just that. Carl Jung commented on the baboons in Egypt as well. And in a two-story apartment I once lived in I watched mourning doves on the roof next door stand together facing east as the sun came up over the houses across the street.

When I get up early enough, I open the east-facing blinds in my writing nook and greet the sun. It’s as though we’re born for this moment, that we are born in the moment the first rays appear over the horizon. The horizon is a place of possibility. All of us beings on this planet recognize a new day. In those first silent moments we realize the sun isn’t only rising over the horizon, it’s rising within us. Our heart is a horizon over which the light of awareness and compassion ascends if we let it.

I highly recommend you wake early, face east and watch the sun rise. When you do, know you join all of Earth’s creatures in a shared act of awe. We share this. We are not so different across culture or species. For one moment, at various times on this planet, we all turn to the sun, we turn within, we open to a new day in silence. Though our understanding may be different, we all feel the warmth and renewal of a shared star. Even those beings that live beyond sunlight deep within earth or ocean, even they are affected by the power that moves us all. May we realize this and the infinite possibility of a new day.