Tuesday, February 17, 2015

My Fasting Time

Tomorrow, Feb. 18 I begin a fast- a screen-time fast, which means for the next while I will not be on Facebook, or this blog, will not be watching movies or television shows, will not be surfing the net.

I am not entirely sure why, but I am feeling called to do this- to create some empty space and time and quiet, and see what emerges within and around me. I enjoy the connections here and the window into the world offered to me by the internet. But, recognizing that I can (and sometimes do) use screen time to distract myself from. . . well, pretty much anything I find consciously or unconsciously uncomfortable, I’m curious to see what will arise (and how easy or hard it will be not to turn on my computer.)

Lately I’ve been deepening my daily practice of prayer, meditation, contemplation and writing. I want to see where all of these things might take me if I give them more space, if I am more frequently truly still and open.

Years ago I did a series of vision quests- times of praying and fasting alone in the wilderness. The longest of these was twenty-two days and nights. Of course, alone in the bush, there are few distractions. Doing something similar at home will be both easier (no mosquitoes or sitting in the cold rain) and harder (no mosquitoes or cold rain to keep me awake and present.) I never regretted any of those quests- some new awareness and direction came out of each one.

More and more I feel myself drawn to a contemplative life- not instead of participating in the world- but as sustainable way to root myself in my relationship to the sacred and awareness of the Beloved- God, the Great Mystery, Infinite Love, Source- that is both what we are and a wholeness that is greater than the sum of the parts, as I offer what I am able.

Sometimes the divine Lover asks us to try a new dance step, to follow that Presence into the dance without knowing where it will lead.

I will hold you in my heart prayers and reconnect here when the time is right. Many blessings, Oriah

(Deep gratitude to Karen Davis for another beautiful photo fromhttps://www.facebook.com/OpenDoorDreaming?ref=br_tf )

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

What I Remember

I remember wanting to spend time alone. I was eleven.
I lay on the forest floor, far from the others,
pinned to the ground by green light
filtered through summer trees.

I wanted to memorize the moment,
to fix in my body the precise scent of moist shadows,
the rhythm and texture of birdsong,
the pattern of branches laced across the blue sky.

I wanted to remember the forest’s soft sigh
rippling through the tree tops from left to right
like something footed and running.
I wanted the details to etch themselves into my brain,
begged the particulars to press into my skin.

But memories of that moment are fragmented and slippery.
All I can remember clearly is my own fierce trying
and my conviction that if I could hold on to the details,
they would save me.

Oriah House (c) 2015

Photo from Mike K at https://www.flickr.com/photos/singloud12/

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

How To Be Here

Those of us who value the inner journey may, at times, forget to orient & ground ourselves in being fully here. Of course, here includes the inner landscape, but it also includes the outer. And sometimes it feels as if the external world is coming at us with too many demands, distractions, and information. But the world around us can also help us open our awareness in a grounded way, particularly when our inner world may be a bit chaotic.

Try this with me now. It doesn't matter if you are feeling sluggish or speedy, this can offer an opening into this moment in a way that does not overwhelm.

Wherever you are, look around and say to yourself (out loud if you are alone) "I see. . . . " naming five things you see. They don't have to be big or small, intriguing or ordinary. They don't have to be anything at all except something you can see. You can do it at any pace you like, but don't rush. Let your gaze be soft and wander, finding what draws the eye in this moment.

Then, name five things you hear, simply completing the phrase, "I hear. . . . ." Then, name five things you feel in a sensory way- the temperature of the room on your skin, the feel of your feet in boots, the support of the chair beneath you. . . .

You could stop there, or you could continue- this time naming four things you see, hear and feel. . . followed by three, and then two, and then one.

I have a deep desire to be here fully, but sometimes I need a little help with how to do this. This small exercise of observation is an effective "how." It lowers any anxiety that may be worming its way into my day, and helps me stay here so I can fully receive the gift of this day, this moment, this life. I'd love to hear what happens for you.

~Oriah (c) 2015 (With thanks to Karen Belfontaine for this lovely restorative pause.)

Another wonderful picture from Karen Davis at https://www.facebook.com/OpenDoorDreaming We often find ourselves most easily present when in a natural setting, and I am always drawn to wild places near water, so this pic seemed like a perfect reminder to be fully present even as I sit in my apartment in downtown Toronto.