Monday, April 20, 2015

going slow ...

An interesting thing happens when when you slow down and commit to uni-tasking  ...  the day feels large, time stretches and snaps like an elastic band and a common response to the inquiry of "what did you do today?" is perplexed silence.

What did I do with this day?  Or more accurately: what did this day offer me? 

Lots.  Just nothing I can quantify or measure in the usual terms. How illuminating that my knee-jerk response is to want to offer some sort of measurement of productivity? As if wrestling with the contents of my world or my mind is a sign of deep engagement? Certainly the rabbits who are frolicking about my yard aren't concerning themselves with how many of my pansies they demolish in a day. (Okay, frolic may be too energetic a term for these suburban lagomorphs who resemble overfed house cats lolling in the sunshine.

There is a natural heaviness to this season of new beginnings.  Through Ayurveda I've come to appreciate that this period of earth mixed with water (rain) = mud. Just the other week I was volunteering at the stables on a misty, damp day.  We took the horses outside to their corrals for some fresh air while we cleaned inside.  Then the rain came. Hard. Fast. Cold and miserable.  We rushed out to bring the horses in but rushing was impossible. Each step in the now-sticky mud coated my boots in a thick and heavy layer so each step felt like I was walking upon slippery platform shoes. The horse I was told to retrieve was even more distressed by the unstable conditions, refusing to face downhill, he slide sideways towards the gate.  At one point, all I could do was circle him around and around because going forward was impossible.

Hmmm ...

I finally just stopped moving. And waited for help to come. Part of my work with horses is to yield completely and utterly to my lack of experience, learning to say I need help, learning to ask for guidance and learning to trust that I am, well, learning.  It is an overdue correction to how I was in childhood and, truth be told, an embarrassing amount of adulthood. Saying I didn't know or understand something seemed to me - as a child -  to be a sign of my inherent lack or incompetence and therefore something I guarded carefully. Understanding the absurdity of this still does not undo a lifetime of habit and fear. But I am chipping away at it.

Sounds a bit like Anne Lamott's famous prayer: Help. Thanks. Wow.  In my case, the wow came once I sat down in my car and took stock of my boots, drenched jacket and hair do inspired by a mix master blender frappe cycle. 

All of this is to say, going forward isn't always the best option and mud demands a delicate kind of surrender. I cannot clomp through mud, it just won't allow it. What is required is a mindful and careful stepping forward and an understanding that things will be messy for awhile.  Learning not to rush, but to linger ... and summoning persistence, stick-to-it-ness seems to be my mode for the season.

Even this wonky little bowl required undo amounts of patience and willingness to start again ... and again ... and again.  It's imperfections remind me that I am not striving for perfection, but instead seeking to learn, discover, grow, and ask for guidance.

Oh yes ... guidance ... seeing who my real teachers are ...

Happy mud days. May there be much comfort in these mud pies of mine.  I am inhabiting out-of-time-ness with these inspirations: 

Taking my time listening to David Whyte's What To Remember When Waking.  The perfect guide for the threshold stages I've been traversing.  
true discipline - reading one poem a day from his collection and not continuing on ... it is hard, just one but then time allows the images to soak in ...

Sharon Blackie ( This post got my mind whirling ... (thank you Mel)

Company in the dark (and the light!) places - The Sacred Pause and my sister in moondancing (more to say about her amazing work on repatterning energetic boundaries, if there is anything the doctor should prescribe, it is this!)

Speaking of the moon ... my moon mandala meditation practice is my contribution  to Spectrum 2015 which begins on May 1st.  26 amazing workshops that compliment and augment each other in magical and exciting ways. I am particularly excited by Hali's offering "Calling on the Grandmothers" and Jennette's offering of Make-To-Mend moon ritual object and moon exilir.  

Finally, this had me in tears ... and filled with gratitude and anticipation as I will be making this very journey next October with Em and Nicole. 

Suddenly, I realize I am soaking in a wonderfully cleansing mud bath of ideas and new perspectives! Feel the energy of sunshine slowly drying things out ...

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