To listen to this post being read on my podcast, instead of or in addition to reading it here, please follow this link: https://soundcloud.com/inmindfulmotion/all-is-well
There are some things I would never see fit to write, were it not for the simple fact that I rise early in the morning, when darkness still paints the sky.
Here are some examples, from this morning’s journal session:
It’s 4:12am, Saturday morning.
I awoke at 3:00 and did the should-I-shouldn’t-I dance till roundabout 3:45,
before the I-should won out.
As in: I’m awake, I should just get up.
I knew snow must’ve fallen overnight,
as soon as I stepped into the living room.
Despite the curtains having been drawn,
a brightness perfumed the air.
A light snow falls outside.
Tucked into the warmth of my home cocoon,
all is well.
Only the hum of the pilot light is audible.
Well, that and the gliding strokes of my pen over paper
as I write this.
Everything speaks a different language in sleep mode.
If you have a yearning to foster the sense that our world isn’t a junk show,
or that good people abound,
or that beauty is a thing that exists in every landscape we find ourselves amid,
practice bearing witness to the spell of early morning.
It might very well be the thing that rallies a new resounding melody within you,
in which to sway your heart and feet forward.
The practice of Being Here Now does not disclude us from delving into the past or planning for the future. However, as mindfulness practitioners committed to our practice, we must develop a level of awareness in order to investigate the difference between what is skillful, helpful, and kind and what is serving to further exasperate feelings of attachment, turmoil, and disconnection. (Working analogy: We should only operate a time machine device if we know how to make proper use of all the controls and gadgetry. Otherwise, we risk getting stuck in the year 1985 without the benefit of hairspray and parachute pants.)
In short, we need to know how to visit the past and future without setting up shop there. To apply our mindfulness practice to working constructively with the past and future, we need to effectively use the tools that will bring us back to the here and now.
Jerry Johnson Hot Springs trail, December 25th, 2016, Idaho
Becoming part of a winterscape thick with cedar,
walking tall among elder trunks
and undergrowth buried in snow,
we communed with a part of ourselves
that often lies dormant.
Under nature’s influence
we can be guided back to what has been forgotten.
And when we are ushered
from our slumber to remember,
we will continue to return,
over and over,
back to the woods.
As the winter solstice approaches may we learn well from the lessons of nature on how to rest. Not the sort of resting we may think of initially that we mistakenly label as lazy or ineffectual or selfish, probably even unnecessary. But the sort of resting that contains a great sense of importance, wisdom, and purpose. Nature does not rest without intention. Nature rests to continue its varied and diverse manifestations in order to sustain its dependents – animals, plants, minerals, us. The beauty of the gentle waters, fragrant trees, and penetrating skies relies on the art of resting – on the ability to be set free in the stillness between breaths.
Going with the flow of life for many of us does not come naturally, it’s something we have to practice. Our tendency, more likely, is to fight against what’s happening. I’m seeing this currently play out with many people in town who are dismayed at our recent arctic blast from the north which plummeted our mountain town into an early winter spell.
In talking with my husband Mike about the common, yet fairly ridiculous, notion of complaining about the weather he made a comment that I hadn’t thought of before, which helped to shed light on this rather challenging issue for me (I really don’t enjoy hearing person after person continually gripe about the weather). He said that people tend to complain about the weather because they’re uncomfortable and people aren’t used to being uncomfortable. This was a great insight for me. Many of us can spend our whole lives trying to avoid, cover up, forget, ignore, or otherwise distract ourselves when feelings of discomfort arise. So of course it makes sense that to be inconvenienced by the icy roads, low temperatures, and blasting winds is not a welcomed state of being! I used to think that an insight had to be some new, fancy, grand idea but, more often, insights are more unassuming and involve simply helping to develop a deeper understanding of something or someone.
Avalanche in Missoula, MT. February 28th, 2014
On Friday February 28th an avalanche, said to have picked up speeds of 120 mph, sped down Mount Jumbo here in our mountain town of Missoula, Montana in an area known as the Rattlesnake. It slammed into a two-story house and damaged parts of other homes nearby. The owners of the house, an older couple, and a young boy, who had been outside playing in the snow, were all buried in the wake of the torrent of snow. All three were rescued and still remain in the hospital, one in critical condition.
Avalanche in Missoula, MT. February 28th, 2014