Wednesday, September 3, 2014

An Update From Oriah

Words spilling onto the page, the kind of writing that comes from the sweet ache at the centre of my bones, always takes me home. It helps me catch up with myself, discover the state-of-the-union (or disunion) within, find healing and meaning. It opens me to sorrows that have been avoided and, as these sorrows are allowed, fresh joy in the ordinary and the extraordinary is felt fully.

Making room in my life for this kind of writing cultivates an otherwise often elusive and always delicious indwelling in my own body and heart. The words take me, make my breath catch. I find myself scrambling for pen and paper as I move past dark glossy eggplants and feathery white mushrooms in the grocery store. Turning on the light in the middle of the night, I scribble words on the pad always within reach at my bedside. After I have turned off the light, I lay in the dark grinning and whispering, “Thank you, thank you, thank you.”

I’ve been off social media since June in order to turn my attention to writing a new book. I miss our exchanges but it has become apparent that this truly is the right (write) thing for me to be doing now.

Oh, it hasn’t all been chuckles. Life always has its little challenges. For some of the days and a couple of the weeks I have been housebound or bedbound with frustratingly unpredictable flare-ups of the chronic illness I’ve had for over thirty years (CFS/ME/FM.) Enjoying time at a friend’s cottage despite symptoms, I joked that the new book could be titled, “My View From the Bathroom Floor.”

And, at the same time, the needs of my aging parents (both with Alzheimer’s and increasing physical challenges) have required time and attention.

But still there are moments, hours, and sometimes days when the words flow. The writing I love flourishes in slow-paced, open-ended, inwardly turned time, time that allows me to wander where the words can find me. Regularly checking my emails, blog, and Facebook cultivates a speedier, outward focus that pulls me away from the story that is unfolding.

So, for now, I will not return to regular posting although I will drop by with occasional updates. I decided to post now because I will soon be heading up to northern Ontario. Knowing I will be alone in the bush at a cabin on a lake where there is no phone or internet connection, I can sift through comments today sure that I will not be tempted to slide into the delightful distraction of daily connection during the week ahead.

Next week is my birthday and although I will celebrate with others when I return, I will spend the day doing ceremony alone in the wilderness. I will do prayers for myself, others and the world. I will sink into the silence. I will stretch my body on the massive sun-warmed outcroppings of pink granite and creamy quartz. I will listen to the voices of Grandmother Earth. I will swim in the dark water beneath the light of the full moon and let the stars sing me to sleep. I will align with the wilderness within and around me and open to the Great Mystery, the Sacred Wholeness that holds it all. I will dream for myself and my people- knowing that on the level of soul, all sentient beings are our “people.”

And, of course, I will write.

Sending much love and gratitude, Oriah


  1. Oriah, so nice to hear from you, and I'm happy that you are as well as life and your body permit. I wish you the most beautiful and fulfilling birthday! May I give you the virtual present of a poem that came into my mind when I read where you are going to be?

    by David Wagoner

    Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
    Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
    And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
    Must ask permission to know it and be known.
    The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
    I have made this place around you.
    If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here.
    No two trees are the same to Raven.
    No two branches are the same to Wren.
    If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
    You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
    Where you are. You must let it find you.

    That's why I'm in the woods as often as possible: I never get really lost, but my inward search always gets support and answers.

    Love and gratitude - Nora

  2. Nora, thank you- one of my favourite poems- one I have recited often- partly I think because I grew up in the bush and my Dad literally would take us out until we were lost and then review what we should do if we were every truly lost. Those lessons always began with "Stand still," as he would point out that in warm temperatures (summer) and with the plethora of lakes and rivers no one should really die out there for a long time- and those that did generally did so because they panicked and frantically went in circles. So, for me, this poem is about not letting fear run me and having faith that there is something much larger than myself that knows where I am. Lovely to read it again today. Much love and many blessings, Oriah

  3. Oriah,
    So much gratitude to you for this piece! Like you, I also write; and, like you, I have a deep need for solitude in order to nurture myself and whatever it is that wants to flow through me. During my morning writing exercise yesterday, I tapped into the connection (for me) between living what I call a small life (close to home, rooted in the land, few distractions) and living the big life of my heart, where I know my connection to Spirit and to everything. For me, the big living of my heart is only possible through the "small life". And as I wrote that, you popped into my mind. I sent you huge gratitude for the model you have been to me . . in so many ways, but particularly during your hiatus from social media. And then to awaken to your post today was a sweet little gem of connection. I send you love and blessings for a beautiful birthday retreat ~Amy

    1. Lovely Amy- so true- sometimes the life of Big Heart and Spirit requires a small grounded outer life. :-)