But mostly I just stand in the dark field,
in the middle of the world, breathing
in and out. Life so far doesn't have any other name
but breath and light, wind and rain.
If there's a temple, I haven't found it yet.
I simply go on drifting, in the heaven of the grass
and the weeds.
(Excerpt from What Is There Beyond Knowing by Mary Oliver)
I've spent a lot of time wondering and worrying about purpose - my purpose to be exact. Wanting to be of purpose: to contribute and to help ... to heal and repair ... to inspire and support and of course, to fight the good fight.
It feels rather daunting right now. I suppose it has always been so and now there is some clarity in perceiving the immensity of the situation before us. Definitely the lid has been blasted off and we see clearly (and painfully) the dark and ugly trends in our society, the gaps and the divide.
One thing that stands out for me is the tendency for helping out to evolve into mucking up. Each side of the political divide would argue for their intentions being The Good Ones. I'm not suggesting apathy or inaction, but I am taking this time to tend to that which is mine to care for: the hygiene of my spirit, my heart, and my home. For if any real change is going to happen - and honestly, the change needed to course correct is epic, and it will require immense reserves of resilience and determination which for me demand a stable inner foundation, and a clear and strong inner light.
So what do I do right now? I walk.
I walk and I try to listen and learn. I try to understand the message of the trees shaking in the wind. I listen to the geese and the stories told by their wings as they beat overhead. I watch the muskrat glide across a pond and open myself to his wisdom of his life. I speak my prayers daily to my backyard bushes and grasses, birds and chattering squirrels. I bury the rabbit's legs (yes, two so far) retrieved by my dog and offered to me as great gifts, which they are. The leg bones picked clean, the delicately tapered feet left intact. Lucky rabbit's foot. Well, luck is a matter of perspective and time, but I am reminded that my daily practice puts me in a mindset to perceive and act upon opportunities of grace and good luck.
I try not to do so much as undo ... the fears, the overwhelm, the doubts, the I'm too small mindset and limitations. If ever there was a time to Be The Light, it is now. These days my spiritual practice (which can look a lot like a creative practice) feels like a daily load of laundry: soaking, washing, and spinning my inner field of thoughts and energies. Each days there is gunk to clear out and parts of me to mend and strengthen.
Yes, darning the holes in my soul. Embellishing the elbow patches of my heart sweater. Doing what I can to support groups tackling the big causes and throwing myself into local action. This past week I stepped up in my volunteer position, taking on a more edgy (for me) task. It felt good to stretch myself. I know the challenges ahead will demand more stretching, more pushing myself past my edge of comfort, and that the edge will continue to shift and move as I grow. So starting small is okay. Just start, right?
There is a young mother I see every week when I volunteer. She shows up for her son in ways that stretch my heart to the point of cracking. And yet, she often expresses feeling helpless and uncertain, frustrated and afraid. I get it. We all feel that feeling about some aspect of our lives right now. Work, community, the environment, teenagers ... the list goes on. But I believe the way forward is what I hear inside my head every time I see this mom - Just Love. It sounds so trite, so banal. But past the sappy sentiments, Love can inspire fierceness (think of the goddess Durga.) it can motivate us to take action and stretch and grow in ways beyond anything we could imagine. I know I cannot imagine a possible solution to the woes before me ... but my heart does not think. It feels, it holds, and it transforms.
My intention is to show up here to share this journey. It feels important to me to communicate and share where I find Light in my life and how I work to support it. I get lost when I think "Does this matter? Does this help in any concrete way?" I cannot control the outcome of any action ... I can only attend to the gesture itself, taking care to act from the truth of my heart. I cannot judge whether it will be enough. I only know that showing up for Love each and every day brings me in alignment with Hope and Possibility, and those are not small things.