Monthly Archives: April 2017

The Eye Of The Storm

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Rain is on the way. The calm smooth water and early morning birdsong have been replaced by strong ripples on the water and trees swaying this way and that way. The wind is singing a different kind of tune, one that feels urgent and forceful. The low grey clouds are moving in fast, darkening the sky with their arrival, while raptors high in sky are circling on strong currents. They are so far up, it is not possible for me to tell anymore if they are eagles or vultures. As I watch their effortless flight I wonder what they can see…

Sitting inside with a freshly brewed cup of nettle, oat straw and lady’s mantle tea I listen to the fire crackle in the wood stove and the wind’s changing song. I feel the exhaustion in my body, telling me it’s need for rest and nurturing. I am so glad I took time to carefully choose the herbs for the tea. The response to the warm liquid is a big “Yes” and “Thank you” from my body.

Ah, here it is! The drops of rain are rapidly falling on the roof and skylights, adding their own rhythm to the day. Frodo, my dear old deaf dog, is lying quietly by my side not hearing any of it. I miss our long walks in all kinds of weather. DW-Elke&Frodo P1120504We had so many adventures together: climbing hills, discovering new paths in the forests and valleys, checking out stormy seas while walking on beaches with the wind almost knocking us over. There was always this sense of being connected, even though we were exploring our world in different ways. I often wondered what Frodo was discovering when he sniffed something that had called to him from some distance. He would give it all his attention for a long period of time while I was gazing at the beautiful vista before me or taking a closer look at something I found on the path. I often joked that he must be reading a whole book before he finally moved on to the next smell. Now we only venture out together so he can do his business before he turns immediately back to the safety of home. Food and comfort are now his greatest joy.

Thunder unexpectedly adds it’s bass voice as the wind increases noticeably, bringing the chimes to life. Their higher pitch is startling and really stands out as the storm’s hum increases and decreases in unpredictable patterns.

Life has been rather unpredictable lately. While writing this I recognize that life is ever changing like this storm, even though there have been many periods in my life P1080769that have felt more steady with a certain pattern. Perhaps I have forgotten the challenges each day presented then. Looking into the eye of the storm I see that my exhaustion stems from trying to control what is going on in my life and work, and having expectations of myself that I cannot possibly meet in this endless sea of change.

Gratitude for the wind arises in me as it is making me pay close attention. It’s loud voice cannot be ignored. Listening I once again remember the key is to “trust life”, whatever it brings and that I will never figure it all out or get it all done.

For now the idea of rest sounds lovely indeed. I will give myself this gift of comforting tea and warm fire as I watch the beauty of the storm unfold without me having to do anything. My books and journal like faithful friends lying by my side just like Frodo and the joy of writing filling my heart once again.

 

 

Even though

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Even though it is raining here day after day or so it seems, spring is here and awakens me to fully be and participate in the great unfolding of life. I want to share with you on this grey morning a beautiful blessing by John O’Donohue.

Let us bless the imagination of the Earth.

That knew early the patience to harness the mind of time,

Waited for the seas to warm, ready to welcome the emergence

Of things dreaming of voyaging among the stillness of land…

Let us thank the Earth that offers ground for home

And holds our feet firm to walk in space open to infinite galaxies.

Let us salute the silence and certainty of mountains:

Their sublime stillness, their dream-filled hearts.

The wonder of a garden trusting the first warmth of spring…

The humility of the Earth that transfigures all that has fallen of outlived growth.

The kindness of the Earth, opening to receive

our worn forms into the final stillness.

Let us ask forgiveness of the Earth

For all our sins against her:

for our violence and poisonings of her beauty.

Let us remember within us the ancient clay, holding the memory of seasons,

The passion of the wind, the fluency of water, the warmth of fire,

The quiver-touch of the sun and shadowed sureness of the moon.

That we may awaken to live to the full the dream of the Earth

Who chose us to emerge and incarnate its hidden night in mind, spirit and light.

Mysterious Connections

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A Great Blue Heron is sitting perfectly still on the walkway to our little dock. It has been there for a few hours now. The possibility of capturing this rare sight made me rush outside in my nightdress early this morning, only to find that my camera has stopped working. As I stood there shivering in the breeze, I noticed my resistance to accepting the reality of my camera having died without warning. It had served me so well. Then I remembered my commitment to trust life. Making my way back to the warmth of Elkenwolf cottage I considered the joys and possibilities a new or slightly used camera could bring.

Watching the sun illuminate the tidal water, the vibrant spring greens and the Heron’s feathers in the most magical way, I gratefully witness this morning’s offering. As I find a picture on the computer that I took last summer (see above) the Heron starts walking up to the land, talking softly with each careful and graceful step. Spreading it’s wings for a moment, calling now loudly, he then turns around and goes back to the same spot in the middle of the walkway hovering over the glistening water. There he begins his preening ritual, calling every now and again. I can’t help but wonder if he is calling for a mate on this unpredictable Spring day. Silently watching and writing, I feel a deep sense of connection and being a part of what is here.

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Last week I began walking to my car which I park over two kilometres from our home near where the pavement ends, rather than driving our old pickup truck on the off-road section. On one of these walks I noticed myself being caught again in the torrent of thoughts about work and the busy-ness of my mind, almost missing what was actually there for me in that moment. So I looked a little closer at a ditch filled with rainwater and a leaf beneath the surface beckoned my attention, as did a robin on a storm-topped tree. We gazed at each other curiously in the stillness of the morning.

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However it was the bubbles in a little creek further along that were the most unexpected gift and reminded me of a favourite childhood delight and the mystery of blowing bubbles out into the world. As I entered fully the here and now, the discoveries were numerous and some astonishing like the face that stared out from the rushing little stream. If you look closely perhaps you will see it too. P1160149 A sense  of wonder spread through me and I became aware of another strong memory, one I’ve been getting glimpses of on these walks.

It is a fluent memory of a walk last May to the Panau-nui Pu’u Loa petroglyphs on Hawai’i. Pu’u Loa, means the “long hill” or “Hill-(of)-long-(life)”. It is a sacred place with over 23,000 petroglyphs carved into the hard lava stone. The hike to the petroglyphs had a very special quality to it. It was something I knew I needed to do on my own. As I hiked to the site I met a few tourists on the path, but soon found myself completely alone. It felt like each step took me further into timelessness and something so ancient and yet so vibrantly present. I remembered reading about the old custom of the Hawaiin people that were connected to this sacred land whose families brought the umbilical cords of their newborn babies to this ancient site, leaving each in a carved hole covered with a rock and special symbols praying for a long life for the child.P1100165 I couldn’t help but wonder how many had walked this path in reverence and had prayed here asking for their child or grandchild to be blessed with a long, well-lived life. I felt myself being called here and there, standing before each carving and just being completely present in the mystery and the story that each one contained. One of these carvings stood out in particular and spoke to me in a very deep way. I heard myself speaking words of prayer and gratitude with tears filling my eyes. It was hard to leave, but when I finally turned to go, I heard people arriving filling the stillness with their voices. To this day I have no idea why this particular carving spoke to me in such a way. But on these walks to and from my car, as I put one foot in front of the other, the memory of that particular hike on the black lava stone and the mysterious connection I felt there, comes alive in me, leaving me in the great wonder of how it is all connected.

The Heron is still here, gazing now quietly out over the bay while standing on one leg. It’s complete calmness and balance calls me into the centre of my own being. May the wonder of these mysterious connections stay alive in all of us, open and guide us on our individual and collective journeys.

And once again a poem wants to be shared. This one is called “Stone” written by David Whyte.

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 The face in the stone is a mirror looking into you.
 You have gazed into the moving waters,
 you have seen the slow light, in the sky
 above Lough Inagh, beneath you, streams have flowed,
 and rivers of earth have moved beneath your feet,
 but you have never looked into the immovability
 of stone like this, the way it holds you, gives you
 not a way forward but a doorway in, staunches
 your need to leave, becomes faithful by going nowhere,
 something that wants you to stay here and look back,
 be weathered by what comes to you, like the way you too
 have travelled from so far away to be here, once reluctant
 and now as solid and as here and as willing
 to be touched as everything you have found.
  
 ~David Whyte