Author Archives: drawingbackthecurtain

Comfort Zone

It feels like winter, even though the calendar proclaims that it is autumn. We already had our first snow which is unusual for the west coast. The seasons blend into each other more and more it seems. The time change made the days even shorter or at least it feels like that to me as it is getting dark so early now. Its necessity is still not clear to me. It takes a little time for my body and mind to adjust and get used to the shorter days and dimmer light. However I am noticing myself letting go of the resistance and appreciating the slower pace, the coziness of my cabin and the freshness of the air when I do go outside.

Yesterday I made myself get on my e-bike and go for a ride in the fog late in the day. Once I was getting into a rhythm the thrill of the movement, the cool air and directly relating to nature, rather than just looking out my window, lifted my energy and spirit. It felt like I was riding my bike into the unknown. Deciding to ride down to the end of a road that I only knew a little ways was part of the fun. It was downhill most of the way, but thanks to my wonderful Rad Rover I felt confident I would make it back up and all the way home. On my way back I helped a little newt get off the road and it was so precious to hold this little being in my hand for a moment in time.

The fog got even denser at night when I drove to our choir practice, picking up other singers on the way. Instead of talking we got into remembering and singing our songs and we did the same on the way home. The thick fog held us in this capsule out of time as our voices rang out together, slowly but surely finding its way to harmony. It lifted me right out of my own fog into cherishing this moment of connection and singing together.

This year I have spent a lot of time preparing myself to give my first Enlightenment Intensive where people enquire into the Truth in dyad format with two people taking turns to listen and contemplate and communicate. The connection and contact with your partner in a dyad makes this a very unique and powerful meditation practice. It has been quite the journey from taking my first Intensive in 2007 to giving one at the end of September. But I recognized something is calling me and I really had to step out of my comfort zone many, many times over these years. Yet I am so grateful where it has taken me and I am so looking forward to giving my next one in January 2023, which will be a Love Intensive, where everyone enquires into the Truth of Love.

I also recognize now that sometimes in your life you take a big step where you have to take a leap of faith and completely step out of your comfort zone. There are many little steps and jumps beforehand that prepare you for the big ones. And all you have to do is take one step at a time. It seems to me that with each step that I venture out of my comfort zone it brings me a little closer to the truth of my being and realizing my true nature. Yet this is no easy task. My comfort zone is sticky. The closer I get to taking a step the stickier it gets and there is a tendency for me to want to zone out. Too much food and screen time can only distract for so long before I notice how incredible uncomfortable this comfort zone actually is. Then taking a step feels more like moving towards freedom.

This is why I haven’t written much this year. It took everything I had to take this big step. Blessings to you all on your own journey and if you hear that whisper, let yourself take a little or big step out of your comfort zone, whatever that may be for you.

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The Holy Yes

Today as I sat by the ocean listening to the gentle crashing of the waves I pondered about writing a new post for my blog. Having encountered one barrier after another since my last post, announcing that I was moving everything from WordPress.com over to my website on WordPress.org, I have felt suspended in mid air, not able to make a move or complete any writings.

Asking myself once again what the purpose or the essence of my blog is, two words bubbled up into my consciousness: ”Nature and Now”. Recognizing immediately that this is what motivates me as well as satisfies many of my passions: writing, photography, presence, being in nature and awakening to our true nature – clarity rang like a bell in the silence and words started pouring out just like the water the waves were bringing in.

It didn’t take long for the writing to be done, finding the pictures I wanted to share with it and then letting it marinate overnight. The next day I sat down eagerly to put the finishing touches on, thinking it would take less than an hour before it was ready to go out into the world. Well, that is not how it turned out. I spent hours editing and every time I tried to save the whole post the computer froze. I did this over and over again until I had to let go.

Instead I went to a chanting event and afterwards drove to the ocean and waited for the dark. Stars began to shimmer in the sky and finally the moment came when I walked into the ocean and swam in the bioluminescence. It was the most enchanting experience I have ever had. The night before I went with three beautiful women and it was truly magical. But being there alone in the water watching light being created by the movement of my body in the silence and darkness is beyond words. The water was warm as I swam naked under the stars. Seeing my whole body lit up and creating light with every little or big movement I have never experienced this kind of enchantment with my own body before. It felt both so personal and transpersonal at the same time. While watching the light move like arrows of light when a fish moved below me I recognized how we all are truly beings of light. It is not just a catchy new age phrase.

Nature is important to me. It nourishes me on every level. It reminds me daily that I am not just a part of it but shows me my own true nature. It gives me so many gifts and teaches me about life and death, light and darkness, rhythms and seasons and the relating of everything to everything. We are never separate from any of it.

When fear or sadness around the state of the world and loss of nature grips me I often choose to come back into the here and now, observing what is actually here on the inside and outside: my thoughts and feelings, the story I create from these thoughts, the little fawn that is walking by my window as I am writing this. (No kidding this is actually happening right now.) This is not to escape the reality of wars, Covid, environmental emergencies, heartbreaks in every corner of the world, but to help me come back to basic trust. As A.H.Almaas says so beautifully in his book Facets of Unity: “Basic trust gives us the capacity to surrender, the capacity to let go, the capacity to jump into the unknown.” It lets me return to the goodness of true nature and this is where my trust originates from.

Coming back to the Now never fails to open my heart if I let myself truly contact what is here and allow myself to receive the gift of this moment. I do not want to miss the blossom that has opened today or notice the mystery of the strange irregular sound of the hummingbird flying to my feeder every evening this week. Nor do I want to miss saying Goodbye to a loved one when the times comes or the feel of the computer keys beneath my finger tips as my hands move like dancing light.

Of course I had to run outside and take a picture of the little fawn. It blended in so well that it took me a while to spot it, plus I was carefully looking around for signs of her mother. Mother deer can be quite protective and so it should be. What a sweet gift to receive as I am writing this and such perfect timing!

This spring I was delighted to find a robin’s nest with three beautiful blue eggs right by my front deck. Being so close to the cabin made it a bit difficult to move around normally. Not wanting to disturb the nesting mother I found a different place to hang up my laundry for a while and go through the cabin to get to other side of the deck. Standing on my futon I could look down into the bush where the nest was well hidden and checked every morning to see if the robin was still sitting on her eggs.

Since the little birds that usually nest above my bedroom window did not return this year, this new development made me very happy. I am sure last year’s long and extreme heatwave had something to do with the pair choosing not to nest under the tin roof again.

Then the sweet moment arrived when three baby birds hatched. Surely you can imagine my joy. It didn’t take long for me to notice my attachment and hope that these beautiful little ones would make it to adulthood. Very quickly I also saw how challenging that actually is.

A hawk came by regularly plucking other babies from nests nearby with the distressed parents doing their best, but really having no chance at all. The father robin disappeared early on before the little ones were even hatched. I am not sure if that is normal for robins, but it seemed like the mother bird was the only one working very hard to feed her three hungry ones.

One early morning peeking through the window I noticed she was not on the nest as usual. It didn’t take long for me to begin to worry and imagine the worst, wondering how I would keep the baby birds alive and thriving. I was grateful to see her return later on. Only a few days later two of her babies disappeared, leaving only one little plump young bird with new emerging feathers sitting on the edge of the nest looking a little forlorn. Checking beneath the bush and the deck I saw no sign of the others. When I returned that evening the last robin baby was gone as well. For a few days I held onto the hope that perhaps it had hopped down to the ground and Mama bird was still feeding it somewhere. But there was no evidence of that. So basic trust invited me once again to open to the wholeness of the unfolding. 

Today I received the last piece of the puzzle that hadn’t allowed me to finish this writing before. It was the “holy Yes” that arose in me in a dyad (a form of contemplation with a partner) this morning. Just like I can’t put into words the experience of swimming in an ocean of light, I cannot really explain the immensity of that Yes, but it included everything way beyond the comprehension of the mind. I feel the completeness and wholeness of that Yes inside of me and I knew it needed to be included in this writing as it permeates everything.

Migration – Subscription Change

Action required!

Dear Subscribers or new viewers,

With Spring approaching fast I wish to announce a big change. I am in the process of moving my blogposts over to wordpress.org where my new website www.elkefinley.com is located. I would really love to stay connected with you and this may require some action from you.

If you are following me as another wordpress blogger and would like to continue seeing my posts you will need to subscribe via email. All you have to do is enter your email address in the Follow Blog via email box, press follow and confirm the subscription once you receive an email from Drawing Back The Curtain. And those of you who are already receiving my blog posts via email you will continue to do so, but they may look slightly different.

The majority of my subscribers are other bloggers and some of you have been with me for quite a few years now. I would love to stay in touch with you and will continue to watch your unfolding and wonderful contributions to this world.

With gratitude and love,

Elke

Hibernating And Arriving

One more nudge was all that was needed for me to sit down and finally write another blog post. Having lost my camera charger towards the end of last year had put a halt to all my usual creative endeavours such as videos, blogs or my newsletter. After turning my cabin upside down and finally admitting defeat, I have ordered a replacement which has not yet arrived. There is a sense of loss every time I see something beautiful that I would love to capture and share with you. Taking photos with my outdated iPhone is not the same, but I have begun using it more and even appreciating it. 

However last night as I lay in bed looking back on the day and remembering the friendly nudge from someone asking when I would write a new blog post, I realized that it is time to let go of the excuse and make do with what I have. And I have a lot of photographs in my library and I have a phone. Come to think of it, maybe it’s time to dig out my old camera again considering I located two of its chargers in my desperate search.

I don’t know about you, but I feel like I am still arriving in the New Year: 2022. There seems to be space at this beginning to allow myself to do just that. I welcome this space and the slower tempo. The snow keeps me tugged in deep in the woods and so far this winter we have had a lot of power outages. In fact the power is out right now. I am sitting here in full winter gear, but the sun is shining on me creating some warmth and enough delight to recharge my creative batteries.

Deciding to make all my Christmas presents this year I picked up many of my past hobbies like knitting, crocheting and yesterday I even started using my little rigid heddle loom after a long pause. What a joy! All my wool is spread out over the floor inviting me with its endless possibilities. 

As I sort through the wool to see which I want to keep and which I will give away, I sense that I am sorting through layers of me to see which I want to keep and nurture and which are now time to let go. I am also combining knitting with weaving and crocheting with beading… trying new things and even creating some for sale to supplement my income. I deeply appreciate that I still remember many of the things I learnt as a child and honed over time and can now put to use again. And yet there is so much new to learn. I have to watch that I don’t get pulled into the amazing and also addictive online world which offers so much information and ideas.

One thing I really am grateful for is the discernment of what I spend my time on. It seems I am in a deep process of simplifying my life. And I have to say that I love it. Being without power and without water on and off for a quite a while now has let me to welcome this dark winter season in a much deeper way. I listen to the silence, I read, I journal, I speak to friends and clients, I get water at the well house or out of the ditch if it’s running. Noticing how my world and my mind is quieter I enjoy the simple task of washing dishes or sweeping the floor.

Maybe we are all heading towards a much simpler life, one that is more joyful as we choose with care what truly brings us that and learn contentment with less things but more love and real connection and a deep appreciation for nature and life.

Many blessings for this New Year to you! May it be filled with simplicity, joy, love, well-being and deep fulfillment!

Come Suddenly To The Ground

Crossing the threshold into Fall my curious mind takes me on a journey exploring the origin of the word “fall”. Growing up in Germany I fell in love with the English language in my first lesson in Grade 5. It was instant and it has never left.

Reading through the different definitions of the word, both noun and verb, I come to a halt when I read “come suddenly to the ground“. It feels more like an instruction. Often when I am out in nature especially when I bring my camera along, sooner or later I drop to the ground to closely inspect what is capturing my attention. Lying with my belly and chest pressed to the earth the world looks different up close, clearer and always showing me something new or opening up a different perspective. This dropping to the ground is never planned, it just happens. I imagine creativity just moves me.

I look outside for signs of autumn and wish I was outdoors right now. There are no leaves floating gently to the ground. The Arbutus trees that surround me let go of their leaves in the summer, which is always so perplexing to see yellow leaves gliding through the air and covering the path thick with leaves in the midst of summer.

Yet Fall is undeniably here. Many of the birds are already gone and most flowers are done their blooming. I am delighted to see the little hummingbird sitting on the dead branches near the feeder every morning, wondering if it is the same one that kept me company all winter last year. The squirrel is another being that is here to stay while deer come and go and are rarely seen right now.

I welcome the cooler temperatures and changing weather and trust in the cycles of nature even in the craziness of our current world. I know that nature will continue to ground me and invite me to let go so that change can come from the inside out. My heart keeps me steady on course.

Yesterday I thought of Viktor Frankl, who survived years in the concentration camps and wrote the amazing book “Man’s Search For Meaning“. I wish to end this post with a quote from his book that confirmed what my heart already knows:

“For the first time in my life I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers. The truth – that Love is the ultimate and highest goal to which man can aspire. Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of man is through love and in love.” 

― Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

Many blessings on this Fall Equinox!

Summer Bliss

Feeling the shock in my solar plexus of loosing everything that I just wrote I sit and stare at the empty screen. It is kind of funny to be noticing my own disbelief, the sinking feeling in the pit of the stomach as I press the UNDO button over and over again while hearing in my head: “What have I done?” .

Two hummingbirds come and hover around my head, one on each side. Maybe they are trying to balance my brain. I smile at the thought. Or perhaps they have come to comfort me, which is rather unlikely. But I do like the idea. They sure take my mind of what is no more and instead I breathe in the sweet summer air and enjoy the gentle buzzing as the little helicopter birds check out the colourful clothing hanging on the line. I strung up a long cord between the trees and it feels like I am sitting in a room with walls made of towels, bedding and clothing.

June’s unexpected heat wave brought back something that I didn’t know I had been missing. In my youth I would spend many days and hours just reading novels. Riding my bike to the beach or pool on those long hot summer days you would always find at least one book in my bag. Alternating between swimming and lying at the beach reading, life was full of simple pleasures and endless reading. The epic classics like War and Peace, Doctor Zhivago, Anna Karenina, Beyond Sing The Woods and many others opened my heart and mind to different worlds, different world views and of course the human journey in a story created by brilliant diverse writers.

With no escaping the incredible heat other than dipping into the lake or ocean I found myself with very little energy or motivation to even move in the last week of June. So I picked up a novel from the library and found myself reading for hours and hours till deep into the night not wanting to break the spell of the story. A visit to one of my neighbours who shares the love of reading resulted in bringing back a little more treasures. Just holding these books in my hands and turning the pages brought pleasure. It almost felt like I was slowly remembering an old part of me. How sweet it felt to drop the to-do list and instead read to my heart’s content for just the pure pleasure of it.

Sleeping outside most nights brought more magic. Drifting in and out of sleep only to see the sparkling sky every time I opened my eyes, while hearing the whales’ deep breathing and watching Grandmother Moon travel across the sky were also unexpected gifts. And one night the wind came and cooled me like no fan could. Finally I slept so deep I didn’t wake up till the sun was already high in the sky hidden behind clouds.

The cooler temperatures however brought an army of wasps. These great warriors do not let the hummingbirds return to their feeder and have chased me from the deck as well. I have moved my lounge chair and found a different spot to hang out and enjoy these beautiful summer days. Feeling deeply content with simple pleasures like dreaming up new variations of ice tea, finding more novels to order through the library or reading a good poem or two I pause to take in all this beauty.

I hope you are able to fully enjoy this summer and perhaps remember something that makes your heart sing. Sometimes just the memory is enough and other times we may dip our toes back into what we used to love.

And speaking of good poems, here is one that came to me this morning as I sat in the early morning light out on the bluff. I opened a book randomly and this was the poem that greeted me:

Rice

It grew in the black mud.

It grew under the tiger’s orange paws.

Its stems thinner than candles, and as straight.

Its leaves like the feathers of egrets, but green.

The grains cresting, wanting to burst.

Oh, blood of the tiger.

I don’t want you just to sit down at the table.

I don’t want you just to eat, and be content.

I want you to walk out into the fields

where the water is shining, and the rice has risen.

I want you to stand there, far from the white tablecloth.

I want you to fill your hands with the mud, like a blessing.

~ by Mary Oliver (from her book “Devotions”)

And off to the garden I go….

Entering The Night

Settling on my blanket on the bluff last evening I felt so glad that I had packed up my basket with the usual: my camera, wool shawl, journal, pen and glasses. The setting sun was painting the clouds in broad strokes of orange hues. A mountain peak or two were still lit up as I felt the movement of the ocean moving me in some unfathomable way.

It felt heavenly to sit on the earth with solid rock and soft moss beneath me. Having listened to some brilliant story tellers just before I was called outside, their stories, their words, the mystery contained in them, was still alive in me and moving through me in this present moment. My heart was tuning in.

Slowing down to the speed of now I watched my hand move the pen across the page while listening to the birds settling in the last glow of light. Their voices becoming fainter, less frequent, quieting one at a time, until only the sound of the ocean and wind remained.

My body’s need to stretch in the much cooler air made me shift and something outlined in a tree in the distance caught my attention. The camera revealed the shape of a bald eagle also settling in for the night. He must have been there all along, silently witnessing the ending of the day from his perch. It suddenly dawned on me that this is probably the same eagle in the same tree that surprised me a few weeks ago while I was looking at a beautiful new house being built not far from me. As I was admiring the new creation something suddenly had made me look up in the tree beside me. Yes, something in me just knew that this was the same eagle.

As the first stars appeared in the darkening sky I appreciated his presence. It was lovely to share entering the night with him.

Still Celebrating

Wondering how to celebrate May Day on my own this year, I listen to the orchestra of the chimes ringing in the soft spring breeze with birds singing near and far, each taking their turn of listening and singing. I realize quickly I am not alone. Far from it. The buzz of nature around me reminds me that I am very much a part of this aliveness. Hummingbird hovers in front of my face letting me know that I am being seen. No, I am not alone. Soaking in the warm rays on this first day of May a little bird catches my attention before it flies to the forsaken nest above my bedroom window. My heart rejoices: they have returned. It looks like the cycle of life continues on. Yes, there is still much to celebrate: these little moments, this aliveness and the deepening sense of belonging.

Happy Beltane and May Day Blessings to you!

First New Moon Of Spring

Today we have the moon and sun joining together in Aries: a great day to set new intentions or make New Moon wishes. I can’t help but feel the excitement of spring in the air and joyfully discover each day new greens and plants that are waking up from their long slumber. The sun is promising more warmth and making the new greens look even greener and of course the garden is beckoning every day.

Bright New Moon Blessings to you on this beautiful spring day!

Sparkly And Fresh

It is the New Moon in Aquarius today. I can’t help but feel excited about this one. This wintry, sparkly New Moon holds so much potential. It is inviting us to allow something new to emerge in our consciousness. I wonder what new dream is growing in you? Where do you feel called to move forward in your life?

There is so much energy helping us tap into a new vision with the Sun and Moon and four planets all in Aquarius. May this New Moon show us new ways and new ways of being that bring us together and allow our true nature to shine.

Bright New Moon Blessings to All!