All the natural movements of the soul are controlled by laws analogous to those of physical gravity. Grace is the only exception. Grace fills empty spaces, but it can only enter where there is a void to receive it, and it is grace itself which makes this void. The imagination is continually at work filling up all the fissures through which grace might pass.
~ Simone Weil, Gravity and Grace
.. along with the other animals, the stones, the trees, and the clouds, we ourselves are characters within a huge story that is visibly unfolding all around us, participants within the vast imagination, or Dreaming, of the world.
~ David Abram, The Spell of the Sensuous
As you might have already noticed, I have been spending a great deal of time outdoors lately. I’ve been in the woods with the trees, at the edge of the marsh with the water and grasses, and in the meadows with their mix of dried grasses and flowers that whisper of last year as they fade away for this year’s growth.
I have been watching, listening, opening up my awareness, seeing how the light and shadows dance and play in the trees and with the wind, noticing the feel of the earth beneath my feet, step by slow step. I have been listening for the stories that this land might want to share with me. I am not listening for words, but for songs and poems, hymns and prayers, scents, tastes, and the feel of things, the humming of wind and stars and moon, the dance of my own cells and organs and systems that make up my body.
We have been given this pause. Perhaps it could be called a sacred pause, if we’re willing to use it as such. Within all the scariness of the situation, there is a kind of grace. As so many others have been pointing out, the birds seem louder this year. Spring, at least where I am, has had a slow and quiet beauty to it. (For those of you in the southern hemisphere, I’m sure this takes on a different look. Perhaps your autumn has been mild, slow, in no rush to get to winter.) It is almost as if Mother Earth is pointing out her gifts, asking us to look here, look here, and look over there. Take your time. Sit with the flowers as they gradually open, the leaves as they unfurl, the grass as it grows. Grace. A balm to soothe and calm the nervous system. Grace. Reflections on water. Grace. The chorus of birds at sunrise and sunset. Grace. And more grace.
It is humbling.
I had a Zoom chat with a friend this morning. We discussed this and many other things. We talked about how years of yoga and meditation made us think, in the beginning, that we can do this. It’s what the practice prepared us for. And then, much to our chagrin, we fall apart, maybe over and over, and discover the arrogance in thinking we were prepared.
It is humbling. And in the humbling, there is grace.
So. Where are we in the 40-day self-care challenge? Day 16, if my numbers are correct. How are you today?
I started my day with a mini-retreat. I got up early, before the sun. That was part of my daily rhythm for a long time, rising before the sun, but the last few weeks have been about disruption and that included my sleep schedule. I find myself wanting to snuggle down under the covers and sleep late, maybe sleep all day. My sleep has been incredible, most nights. Early to bed, late to rise. Deep and dreaming sleep. It is surprising. I would have expected insomnia. There is some of that, from time to time, especially when I wasn’t feeling well and I let my mind roam towards all the worst case scenarios. But mostly, it’s been a deep sinking into sleep and the night.
I’m digressing, as usual. The mini-retreat was lovely. I did a 30 minute yoga asana practice, followed by the personal practice I was given (movement, breath, mantra). Then I tuned in to the first part of the Half Day Retreat with Tara Brach and Jack Kornfield that included a little talk and a meditation, ending with instructions on how to take a mindful walk. I found a good space outside, between a redbud tree and a clump of dandelions, just long enough to do the instructed back and forth, stopping at each end before turning around and walking back the way I came. I don’t know if it was the sitting meditation or the walking meditation or both, but everything was so intense: the colors, the sounds, the scents, the feel of the wind, the connection between my feet and the earth.
I would like to do the full half day retreat, complete with being silent. Today was not the day to do it for a variety of reasons. I did enjoy doing as much as I did. I think it was about a third of it. It was enough for this day.
Before I go, here’s a little something: The Turning, a poem by Rowan Mangan.
Thank you so much for visiting with me today, for joining me on another meander. I apologize for not keeping up as well as I could/should. I’m finally starting to get back into a blogging rhythm after all that time of intermittent blogging. If I haven’t been around to your place lately, I will be there soon. In the meantime, let’s watch the sunset this evening, from wherever we are at the time it happens. Sunset is scheduled for 7:31 PM here. It’s a relatively warm day on the Eastern Shore. I might watch from the dock.
Be safe, be well. ♥♥♥
A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy: 1,331) Finding some kind of rhythm, or getting into the grove of a new rhythm. 1,332) Bumblebees and redbud blossoms. 1,333) Watery reflections. 1,334) Time spent with a friend. Zoom, for all its faults, is still a marvel to me. 1,335) Reading old stories and listening for new ones.