following the path you can’t see, part 2

A few months back, I wrote about the challenges of following the spiritual path, which more often than not involves long stretches of not being able to see where you’re going or why, climbing and climbing an uphill route with no idea what you’ll find when you get to the top and can finally glimpse the next leg of your journey. Sometimes when you get to the top, you’re no more enlightened: you may find yourself standing at the top of the hill looking down at a fog-filled valley, unyielding and inscrutable.

The curve balls (lessons?) along the way can be jarring and disorienting, making it hard to keep one’s footing and stay on the path—especially the big ones, like divorce or the loss of a job, the ones that really turn your life on its ear and make you wonder, How the hell am I going to get through this, and what is my life going to look like when I do? Continue reading

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time warp

I popped in here last night and was surprised to see that I hadn’t posted anything in more than a week—not even a quote du jour. Then again, my schedule the last couple of months has been morning til night, seven days a week (plus a house guest for ten days)—and this coming on top of a 6- to 8-month period that’s been pretty intense emotionally. No sudden, earth-shaking events or anything, just a lot of emotions coming up, recognition of patterns and realizations about my life, about where I’ve been and where I am now and where I want to be. Big life stuff…yet outer things have demanded my attention and left me little time to sit and sort and assimilate these thoughts and feelings.

When I finally got past a big deadline on the 12th (opening night for a show I’d choreographed), it all fell down around me, so to speak. I felt heavy and sad and listless and overwhelmed, depressed and unable to focus. The ice storm and single-digit weather last week didn’t help, keeping me mostly indoors for several days running, layering cabin fever on top of the cloud that was already hanging over me.

Now, ten days later, I’m finally feeling a bit more normal, but there’s still a sense of “Now what? Where do I start? What do I think? How do I feel? How do I sort this all out?” I’ve been pushing hard the last few months, but now that the pushing is over and I have some breathing room, I don’t know how to act.

So…I’m trying to give myself some time to adjust, to find my center (which has been AWOL for some time now) again. I need some long(er) walks in the woods, less time on the computer, more time reading and writing, a lot of time in the garden, and a lot of time just being. I need to find my inner rhythm again, to find the middle ground between fast forward and full stop.

Thanks for your patience in my absence. I am (sort of) back now, and I’ll be posting quotes du jour and sharing random thoughts on a regular basis soon.

the truth about morning ~mark nepo

There is a vastness that quiets the soul. But sometimes we are so squarely
in the midst of life’s forces that we can’t see what we’re a part of.

The truth about morning is that it is the small light of the beginning breaking through, again and again. It is a wisdom so large and clear, one which carries us through our lives so quietly and completely that we seldom see it.

Day after day, we are covered with the dust and grit of what we go through. It tends to weigh us down, and then we think and scheme and problem solve. Then we worry if it will all really work, and if it is the right thing to do. It all makes us dark and cluttered.

But despite our stubbornness of concern, we tire and must turn what has happened over to the hammock of night. This is a good thing. For no matter how unfinished we seem, the letting go into sleep is nothing short of a quiet miracle.

This letting go into sleep is an innate, reflexive form of meditation, no different than a fly rubbing its face or a doe licking its fawn. Sooner or later, without discipline or devotion, despite our resolutions and mistakes, we each must sleep. We must surrender to the quieting of all intent and regret, so that the small light of the beginning can rise in us, again and again.

There is no escaping this profound simplicity: what happens covers us like dirt. It covers our hearts and minds, till, at the shore we call exhaustion, we slip into the waters of sleep in a daily sort of baptism, so we can begin again.

So whenever you feel urgent or overwhelmed, whenever you feel pressed to figure things out or to rethink the unthinkable…rest…so that the endless beginning—which some call the voice of God—might break through what has happened. And you will wake feeling like dawn.

~Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening