Friday, September 29, 2017

A Little Solitude

A quiet, steady rain this morning - seems to mute all movement and sounds of the city. The air is cool and the light is soft beneath the dove-grey sky. It all seems to be an invitation to stillness, slow movement, and quiet contemplation.

I live alone, and sometimes my health dictates that I do not see others for many days. I have come to love the solitude- the way it encourages me to be honest with myself about my own humanness, to stop outrunning the things about myself or the world that make me uncomfortable.

I think I was attracted to a shamanic tradition because it involved periods of time alone in the wilderness fasting and praying.

As a child solitude was hard to find. My eagle-eyed mother kept close scrutiny on what I was "up to." But at night and in the early morning hours I would revel in the darkness and have what I thought of as conversations with God.

Whatever you call that which is larger than yourself, solitude and empty time are needed if we are to hear that which reminds us of what we are, why we are here, and how deeply we belong. The world will go on even if we unplug for an hour or a day or longer. And if the flood waters are rising (literally or metaphorically) our neighbours will knock on our door and let us know if there is something that truly must be done right now.

I am not advocating abandoning the world. Such a thing is not possible- we are the world and the world is us and so much more. But a little stillness, a turning inward, a quieting of the inner and outer voices before or after all the tasks that hold life and limb together, might just make it easier for us to meet whatever comes with an open heart.

May we each find the moments of solitude and stillness that we need. ~Oriah

I cannot always get down to the lake here in Toronto, but the photos from Karen Davis at Open Door Dreaming always make me pause and slow down to take in the beauty.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Quiet Courage

This floated up in my writing this morning in response to a Facebook post by Isabel Faith Abbott about the losses and grief that comes with having a chronic illness. 
I wrote (34 years after diagnosis): I was mulling this morning how, despite the lack of stable progress and the almost constant presence of pain, I have always thought that "one day" I would get better and be, if not 100% restored at least 80% or so. Is this hope or denial? Is it a way to cope and continue or just postponement of real acceptance? 
There are books I want to write, workshops I thought I'd share, places I thought I'd go. And you are right Isabel- facing that these may (or, at this point for me, most likely) not happen is facing real loss and grief. Life is still good in many ways- and yet most often coloured with pain and prostration, I am waaaay too familiar with the tiles of my bathroom floor. :-) I wonder if my "hopefulness" might sometimes rob me of fully relaxing into and enjoying what there is to enjoy in this present moment? (Yes, even on the cool, supportive bathroom floor where there is nowhere to fall.) . . .
We live in a culture that loves (reveres) the heroic, (and I do not want to take anything away from the heroes who rise when circumstances truly call for heroics) but so much of life is about a more quiet kind of courage. ~Oriah
Gratitude to Karen Davis at Open Door Dreaming for this photo that seemed to mirror my feeling - a sun rising beneath cloud cover, the beauty even where there is no blazing light