Our bones know the way of things. Our guts understand what baffles the mind. The soul or spirit is often most clearly manifest in the sensations and language of the body. We feel called towards or driven away by people, places, and things at the gut/bone level. The head can then clarify or obscure this information, or choose to work with or against this body-knowledge.
~ Aidan Wachter, from ‘Six Ways: Approaches & Entries for Practical Magic’
I urge you to find a way to immerse yourself fully in the life you’ve been given. To stop running from whatever you’re trying to escape, and instead to stop, and turn, and face whatever it is. Then I dare you to walk toward it. In this way, the world may reveal itself to you as something magical and awe-inspiring that does not require escape. Instead, the world may become something worth paying attention to.
~ Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence by Anna Lembke
Every year I post similar pictures of spring: the first crocuses, the budding daffodils and trees, the greening of the grasses. How else would I show you spring other than in the outer transformations that are brought to us by earth, rain, wind, sunlight, and warming temperatures? Spring is experienced with all of the senses, but I can only bring that to you via words and photos, and I often feel as though those words and photos are the same old thing. They are not, of course. Every year is different in its way. It’s just that it’s difficult to express that in a close-up of a crocus.
M and I traveled west two weeks ago to visit with family. We hadn’t seen the little ones (the Wookie and Peanut) since October. We haven’t seen our granddaughters since last May. Alas, we did not get to see the girls on this trip. We weren’t there long and the girls — maybe it’s more proper to call them young women now — are involved in some activities (dance and soccer) that are very important to them so we didn’t even try to arrange it this time out.
The trip out and back was relatively uneventful. It was not exactly a spontaneous trip, but at the same time, it was. Weather in February is a big factor when traveling through the mountains of western Pennsylvania. Then there are the Covid numbers to be factored in. It eventually all came together and although we ended up leaving a day earlier than originally planned, there was some organization or planning involved.
It was lovely to spend time with the boys again. They are growing up quickly, both of them in school now. It was lovely to have time with their parents, too. We’re hoping to go back in a few weeks and see everyone at that time. Again, it depends mostly on the Covid numbers and weather. Even in April there’s a good chance of snow and/or ice in the mountains.
We had another Happy Merry Everything party although it was smaller than the first time we did it (last spring, I think). It was mostly a Merry Christmas kind of thing where we exchanged gifts and spent the morning playing with the gifts.
As you might recall, every year on the Winter Solstice I pick a word or theme for the year. I usually don’t go with a big word. If a big word comes up (courage, for example), I try to break it down into something smaller, more manageable. Otherwise, it’s a bit like making a big New Year’s resolution such as “I will lose weight this year” without the smaller steps of how I’m going to do that. It’s too big, too vague.
My word for this year is Love and I thought I’d do a little check-in with how it’s going. Love is, of course, a big word. Bigger than I imagined it to be, even though I had already imagined it to be quite large. One of the the possibilities, suggested by my yoga teacher, was a love project, something I could pour my love into. As it turns out, life is a love project. I can break it down into smaller pieces — and I have, with some small projects — but it is all part of the Whole.
When I decided on this word — or the word decided on me — I was thinking in terms of giving or offering love. Perhaps meditating on love. It didn’t occur to me that part of it would be learning to accept love. In talking with female friends, I’ve come to realize that this is something many of us have trouble with, perhaps because it means allowing ourselves to be open and vulnerable. It’s a surrender or yielding, of sorts. Judging by the number of self-care articles circulating in the world, I think it might be true for many women that it’s easier for us to give than it is for us to receive. Perhaps that is a truth for many men, too, but I didn’t survey men and the articles always seem geared towards women.
It’s so interesting to see where a simple word might lead. Although I’ve only been with the word for almost one season, it’s already taken many different paths. I think it might be more like a tree, branching out and branching out and branching out.
I know I don’t have to explain why I haven’t been posting, but I’d like to give it a try. I’m not sure I can put it all into words. I’ve been doing a lot of writing practice and writing for what I call “my own damn book.” Some of the writing has been deeply personal. Writing vulnerably has made it more difficult to write about surface level things. Add to that world events — the pandemic, Ukraine, all the things including the stupid, stupid “freedom convoy” parked in Maryland this week (they don’t even know what they want other than attention and they’re whining because what’s going on in Ukraine has taken the attention away from them; someone ought to send them to Ukraine and let them fight for freedom there) — and it becomes even more difficult to blah-blah-blah about walks and travels or drawing and painting or whatever I happen to be up to.
On the other hand, as I think about aging and what that means to me, I find myself wondering if growing older can be a more liberating and expansive time of life during which we feel more freedom to explore openly our vulnerabilities and what is important to us. One of the meditations we’ve been working with in yoga class involves asking the question, “What is my role/direction in this season of my life?” Lately I’ve felt that if all I have is this one life, then I want to spend it by being in what is mine to be in. In other words, by living my life as fully as I can. Honing down to what is important and what is worth my while. I can’t solve the world’s problems or stop the world’s wars. I’m not even sure anymore that my small and outward contributions towards the world or social justice or environmental issues make a difference (I will do them anyhow because it’s possible they might and they do). Change is not going to happen without a bigger tipping point and it’s obvious we are not there yet. Maybe we never will be. Have we humans ever lived in a time when there wasn’t greed, violence, and a war machine driving things? If we have, it’s not in the history records (which might only mean — most likely means — that those who wrote the history records ignored those who might have found a better way to live with their fellow humans).
I should note, too, that I am not discounting how important walks and travels and drawing and painting can be in terms of providing a distraction or a feeling/state of calmness. If my photos or words do that, then they serve my intention when I do write here at Ye Olde Blogge. We need beauty and nature in our lives, perhaps more than we know.
There is no more liberating feeling, or better way of deciding one’s priorities in life, than to acknowledge one’s objective insignificance within the immensity of the universe. Change is the nature of nature. Things come and go: species, ideologies, regimes, geographies, planets, and galaxies. Do what you can with what you can but never lose track of the gifts available to you within the blink of conscious existence you get. You cannot save a life; you cannot save a country; you cannot save a place; and you cannot save a planet. You can make life better, more satisfying, and more meaningful for yourself and others. Take a deep breath; appreciate what you have; help those you can; and trust that on the scale of nature, things unfold as they should.
~ Guy Tal
Thank you so much for visiting with me today. Most of the photos are from our trip west. I hope all is well with you and that you’re staying safe and well, and finding ways to dwell in beauty and love. I’d invite you to the Point for the sunset this evening (scheduled for 6:06 PM), but it’s cloudy, chilly, and we have a gale warning in effect. It’s probably not worth the trip unless you just want to take a short stroll on the beach. If that’s the case, bundle up. It’s even colder by the water.
A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy: 1,976) Spending time with family, and spending time with them again, in a way, as I sort through the photos from our trip. 1,977) The beauty of ice and snow and winter. 1,978) Much needed rain. We’ve been in a drought again and it was good to have a long and soaking rain yesterday. 1,979) The branching out of words and ideas. 1,980) Fresh greens from the farmers market. It’s another sign of spring, seeing locally grown baby greens for sale at the market.