Tides and storms, the patterns of seasons and migrations, the quality of the soil and the air – all of these continue to influence and are influenced by us; they remind us of the intricate web from which we cannot disentangle ourselves, try as we might. Also, some of us are still lucky enough to live in places where we are awakened by birdsong in the morning, where at night we can see the Milky Way spilled across the sky. These things are part of our daily human experiences. As such, these phenomena – like anything else – can take on particular meaning, both original and universal.
Such meaning depends on authenticity, which often depends on engagement. This is the case whether we are talking about authenticity between people and people or between people and nature. We must be attentive; we must give our senses over to the other.
~ Hannah Fries, In Defense of Wonder
I’ve been in a semi-hibernation, peeking out every now and then to see what’s happening in the world outside of the Wabi-Sabi Ranch. I’ve been reading (including some blogs now and then), writing, taking walks, and honestly, doing a whole lot of nothing much as I recover from the virus that knocked me for a loop (and kept me sick for over four weeks). The whole lot of nothing included naps and early-to-bed. Early-to-bed often means early-to-rise so I’ve also witnessed and marveled at some amazing sunrises. The sunsets, not to be outdone by the sunrises, have been putting on some good shows, too.
As another autumn winds down and the winter solstice approaches, I’ve taken some time to go within, to look at the year that is passing, and to think about the year that is to come. It’s been a good year in many ways, filled with love and family and friends, with beauty and wonder, and with magic and awe. There have been insights and epiphanies (similar but not always the same), synchronicities and coincidences, and the occasional serendipity. Challenges have come and gone, some were abandoned or put on hold, and somehow the inner road keeps leading back to the same place. The heart.
Words have been auditioning for their turn at becoming my word/theme for the new year. Surrender showed up and I shooed it away. Too challenging, I thought, imagining where it might lead. Perspective and perception beckoned for a while, reminding me that my favorite saying during a Difficult Time (years and year ago) was “if you change your perception, you change your reality” (a saying that went hand-in-hand with “you can’t change anyone else, but you CAN change yourself” because it was that particular kind of Difficult Time on the road of Life). Perspective is everything sometimes, don’t you think? So is perception. (Yes, they are similar but not always the same.)
Gratitude came back around and has been a serious contender. It doesn’t matter that gratitude has already had a turn at being my word/theme for the year. Gratitude, I think, is always in vogue. So are Love, Peace, Kindness, and Joy.
Listening recently began hanging around, asking for a turn. Then this showed up in my email, as part of a newsletter:
Healing is a listening.
~ Karin L. Carlson
I received Ms. Carlson’s recent newsletter (you can find her writings and other offerings here) after I’d been toying with Listening or rather, listening to Listening. Think of that: Healing is a listening. Wow.
Listening is attractive to me right now because I realize I haven’t been listening. I relapsed because I wasn’t listening to my body. I resist listening to those whose politics are so drastically different from mine (re: supporters of the current resident of the White House). I go for walks and get wrapped up in listening to my thoughts rather than to the world around me.
Listening is an attitude of the heart, a genuine desire to be with another which both attracts and heals.
~ L. J. Isham
I would like to learn how to listen without my mind preparing a response to what the other person is saying. I would like to learn to listen without my mind shuffling off to Buffalo, to the past, to the future, or to some other planet. I would like to hear what my body has to say, listen to the songs the earth and her seasons sing, and discover (re-discover?) the melodies and mantras of the wisdom of the heart. I would like to learn to be deeply attentive, present, in the moment.
Listening is about being present, not just being quiet.
~ Krista Tippett
Normally this post would appear as my Solstice Greetings post but I’m going to be busy this weekend. So, an early Happy Solstice to you! Thank you so much for visiting today and meandering with me through a few sunrises and this morning’s early walk through the future woods where the frost was twinkling and sparkling like Christmas lights. Our sunsets have been spectacular lately. I’ve been observing them rather than capturing them so I have nothing to show you. If you’d like to observe with me, let’s meet at the Point. Sunset is scheduled for 4:47 PM. It’s a little chilly today, but not too bad and not too windy. A fleece jacket (or something of that nature), hat, and gloves will probably suffice.
Be good, be kind, be loving. Just Be. 🙂
A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy: 976) The sparkling lights in the meadow and future woods on frosty mornings. 977) Frosty mornings. 978) Deep practices (walks, yoga, meditation, listening) that bring healing. 979) Releasing. 980) The gifts of the past year.
The winter solstice has always been special to me as a barren darkness that gives birth to a verdant future beyond imagination, a time of pain and withdrawal that produces something joyfully inconvceivable, like a monarch butterfly masterfully extracting itself from the confines of its cocoon, bursting forth into unexpected glory.
~ Gary Zukav