Spiritual refills from a big body of water


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I needed a break so I headed up the North shore of Minnesota for a 3 day retreat. I found a place with cabins on the lake and not much else, meaning the people here want the quiet of the lake not the noise of a resort. I can be silent here without it being a political statement of some kind. I needed the quiet and some time without interruption by people animals and thought. I needed to refill my spiritual well.

I love being near the water. I was raised in Florida so I have always had a great affinity for big bodies of water. Here I have mighty Lake Superior. Yesterday the lake was calm and the surface was flat. You could see across the surface and watch the mild ripples move back and forth as the water hit the edge or a partially submerged boulder. Today the water is different. There is fog rolling in and the water is agitated. Reminds me of myself, lately.

I think on the ocean and all the drops of water that make the ocean what it is. The surface just a mere reflection of the depths and secrets kept underneath. Each drop of water can be like I have been, a separated little drop In a vast ocean of drops, completely unaware of all the other drops and really unaware of the field of drops they are swimming in. Or the drops can feel each other and know they are not alone.

The ocean doesn’t care if the water drop is unaware of the other drops, it contains the drop anyway. The ocean is like God it loves each drop regardless. I am a drop in the ocean and I forgot I was surrounded by so many other drops held in a field of drops. Some of the drops try to help remind me of where I am by jostling the water around me. Some of the drops try to remind me by getting really close to me and speaking really loudly. Today I was above the drops, watching them and listening to them tell me even above them I was still a part of them, they could still feel me.

I am a drop in the ocean and I am full. Now I can go back and be the ocean I am, having been reminded of the ocean we are all swimming in.

I am sitting on a platform high in the sky waiting for clarity


IMG_1048There is a sensation in my chest, a sense of urgency. It’s the feeling of ‘have I forgotten something?’ It feels like the sensation of an answer being on the tip of your tongue but not quite in your consciousness. Something feels off. What the hell? I could look for someone to talk to about it, but who? Who can answer such questions? Seeking and desiring answers, is it just attachment? Am I allowed to know what I don’t know? Am I just bored? Am I stuck? Am I in a holding pattern? Am I just unwilling to seeing what is front of my face? So I must go into myself and sit on a platform high in the sky trying to get better perspective. I believe nothing can be seen clearly from where I am here on the ground steeped in the physical world.

Here I constantly want to be distracted. I want to walk towards food, or fun. I do not want to focus or figure it out. I am tired of that. I just want something to take my mind off of what I don’t know and can’t figure out. I have to pull myself up because the pull down to the material world and all of its distractions can be intense. Oh the worry, oh the stress and tomorrow is another day.

I read on social media one after another of these spiritually enlightened messages wondering who is following these wise words. Because if spiritual platitudes made us enlightened the world would be a very different place. I see multitudes of spiritual teachers in video trying to help us see. They say, (they?) spiritual lessons can be learned from a book or a teacher but if they are never put into practice what difference does it make that someone can sound good, but in the end they can’t do any good, not for anyone much less themselves. What difference does it make what I know, has it helped?

We say we want spirituality but most desire money and power and control. The new age has us living far away from ourselves as we thought the accoutrement of living a spiritual life was the path. Dress the part, chanting or no chanting, hair or no hair, meat or no meat, this is what is important, from down here. We are missing the heart of the teachings. I need to see, more.

So I move to my platform in the sky, the one in my mind’s eye. I sit in silence because I am sick of my own voice. I sit with my eyes closed I am sick of what I see, could we have a little more pain on the planet thank you very much. But the thinking does no good. Stop thinking! I am up here to be, just be, just be, and figure out what just be means. The hardest thing I have heard is just be who you are. Just be, just be who? Me.

I am going to sit here on this platform in the sky in my mind’s eye until I see clearer. I going to sit here until I hear clearer. I am going to figure out which voice is mine , you know the one in my head. I am going to force my body to be quiet and quit taking so much of my time and energy. I am going to still the stupid voice in my head so I can hear someone else talk, you know inside my head.I am going to try to hear through my heart not just my head. I am going to sit here until I see God, hear God, feel God. And then I will come back down knowing the voice in my head is the voice of God and the feeling in my chest is the presence of God. Then the words coming out of my mouth will be the wisdom of God.

Where did we think wisdom comes from? It is inside of us accessible all the time, we must desire it. I desire it!

 

The present moment brought to you by Zeus, puppy Guru


IMG_1907I woke up to another grey cloudy day. The dog sensing my displeasure began to desire a walk beyond any distraction I could come up with. Not even a busy bone would do, “walk or die” he said. The ground is wet, the air is chilly, I do not want to go out there!!! For my own peace of mine and the pacing of an animal pushing for his way, I changed my clothes, f*&k.

I try to walk him in the woods even if its wet outside. There’s something wrong with carrying poo in a bag (to me). Not natural when the woods are so close to my house. So we head out. While all I can think of is the mess he is making of his freshly washed hide he continues romping through the tall grass, not caring at all. Finally I stopped paying attention and we just walked it out.

I live in my head constantly thinking and processing. Even as I do daily chores my brain is like a computer on run, always on the job. Often there is no difference in the time spent in nature when I am walking Zeus. The dog is there to wear himself out and I am there to get him to wear himself out. I walk automatically, the walk is for him and I let him walk off leash. It’s the time I allow him to be a puppy and run it out, plus practice being a big dog and explore without getting yelled at every minute. These walks are important for him.

Then we reach the top of our walk where a bridge goes over the creek. He is away from me and I lean over the edge to check out the creek flowing hard from the rain. I am barely on the walk. In a split second that dog jumped up to get on the ridge and about lost his footing as his front feet headed over the edge. He had no idea what he was jumping on, how narrow it was, he just wanted to see what I was looking at. As he jumped my mother brain must have engaged because my arm was out to stop him as it happened. My hair went grey all over again. He didn’t even realize what he had done, up and down he went in a split second and he was off smelling something else. I looked down at what we would have fallen down on and well it wouldn’t have been awesome. Hmm.

Then it happened again. We are walking back down the trail but not before he found a smell to follow and I watched him plow right through the grass right to the edge of the cliff that the rain had washed out, I watched him stop himself as he realized the ground wasn’t where he thought it was. I scream, “wait”. He was already onto the next thing, me grey again. Hmm.

Now I am paying attention. I walk trying to curb anymore suicide behavior and he senses me paying attention, what is with this dog? He runs at me, jumps on me, circles me, and keeps going. We walked like that the rest of the walk, I looked at something he looked at it, he looked at something I looked at it. He would run at me and jump on me. The wind blew leaves on the road he went running to get them, I would laugh he would run and jump at me plastering me with muddy paw prints. Before I knew it we were at the bottom of the walk where the creek is nearest.

I have kept him out of water because I did just bath him and we are walking near the creek edge. I think I have won the water battle as he is interested in the other side when he spied the creek within leash reach. I have never seen anything like it, this is northern Minnesota the water is COLD, he plunged right into it. He dived in it, he ran back and forth in it, he dunked his headed under, he ran and jumped some more, good heavens that boy loves that water. I don’t!

The picture was taken seconds before he lunged at me to share his water experience but this time I was in the moment and he missed me. He was wet and I was in the moment. Guru Zeus had done his work. He settled down and it was a quiet walk back to the house. Nothing like a walk when you are actually in your body paying attention. It was beautiful out there.

Both of us in the moment, the present moment now!

 

The price of independence

The price of independence

This is a picture of my lawn mower. This is a picture of my lawn mower not moving an inch because I couldn’t get it started. This is a picture of where my lawn mower will now sit until my son comes and starts it. This is a moment when I see ever more clearly the price of my independence.

I have been married most of my adult life having started at 20, finishing up around 48. I live alone now which is fine but it is a constant struggle. I hate that. I see more and more my mothers horror of having to spend long days dealing with an illness alone in her house. It is hard being sick and alone. I think of all the years my Grandmother lived alone. Really alone. I can’t believe I left my Grandma alone. She lived in a city none of us did and my brother and I lived many states away. Now as I age living alone in my house, I feel her reality come into view. From the difficulties of getting groceries to the house from the car with 3 feet of snow in front of the garage door, to lawns that need mowers to start, damn it! Sometimes it’s just simply needing a light bulb changed, or help unscrewing a screw left unscrewed, way to long. It sucks to live alone.

This isn’t a I need a husband, a wife would do, a strong do it your self-er, the point is, we all need another body to help us out from time to time and sometimes its no more than holding your hair back when you’re puking your guts out, or being soothed when you come screaming awake from a bad dream. We need others in our lives who can bring us soup we can’t get out of bed and encourage us when we won’t. Why do we make ourselves or our loved ones live alone?

I think more and more of what controlled agriculture has done to us. As our food supply stabilized and we could buy what we want rather than toil for what we need, we somehow lost sight of what was important and became more excited about having fun. No more worry for the future and a passivity moved into us that kept us from eyeing the future. Televisions became babysitters and microwaves cooked dinner. Family members began hanging with peers and the ease of our lives made chillin an option for our young. We have strayed far away from the idea of family and community. Today more and more money is king. So nursing homes take care of our dying folks, who wants that stupid job anyway…and friends are better family members than family members.

And now I find myself living alone, mightily aware of how hard it would be if I didn’t have my son nearby to start my mower when it won’t, and my daughter close enough to take me to the hospital when my migraines super nova. They do these things for me gladly again that’s not the point, these needs puts me at someone’s mercy. I don’t like it at all but it’s a reality and as a family if I continue to live alone I know we will handle it, I am blessed in this way. But I feel for those who aren’t or weren’t, like my Grandma.

If we had decided to stay in tribes and working communities this wouldn’t be an issue. Cultural models of how to deal with the young, aging and sick would already be in place and not a multi-billion dollar industry worried for its bottom line rather than the care of those we have entrusted to them or sometimes left for them to deal with. We are making mistakes and missing opportunities for our growth as humans. We are losing the idea that we are in fact our mother fathers, brother sisters keeper. Think on anyone older you know who lives alone without family nearby and wonder how they get their lawn done, the car out of the garage with a flat, make it to appointments when horribly ill, or groceries to the house, and broken things fixed. Of course money makes everything easier and sometimes friends but is it awesome to have to constantly rely on strangers to do tasks you did for yourself when younger or tended to for others when older. Who tends to us now and why does it cost so damn much?

It’s hard to look in the yard and see that stupid mower sitting there, dead. The guys who delivered my new chair drove up as I was trying to start it and then walked right passed it, ugg! I am in hopes something comes to me before I get completely unable to do for myself. Of course this is why I stay on top of my physical yoga routine to support my body and meditation for my mind but, sickness comes, headaches stay and accidents happen. And right now I just wanted to mow my grass but can’t. Plus I have furniture in the basement I can’t move by myself, boxes to mail I have to carry to the car and then to the store, small things like that. But enough…therefore by the grace of God go I, at least my kids are still around to help.

It’s a high price to have my independence.

 

Finding peace on the walk, puppy style

Finding peace on the walk, puppy style

The weather around here is awful lately, it’s chilly, foggy, and grey. Nearly summer I am still waiting for the heat.

“Rainy and damp, look the sun has forgotten us”, I lament to my dog Zeus as he pleads for a walk. “Please don’t make me go out there”, I plead right back to him. The last thing I want to do is go out there in that chilly damp horrible weather. He stares at me wagging his tail. He could care less what I am saying. He, as a 6 month old puppy, would like his walk now, thank you very much! Cabin fever has definitely set in. If I don’t figure out a way to help him release his building steam there will be a tornado in my house. The cats hate the tornado!

I changed my clothes and we headed out the door. Grrrr…

I took him into the woods as to avoid other humans and their dogs. I didn’t want to have to play nice with some stranger walking by. I was in a sour mood anyway and now mad at the dog for making me walk in the rain. I would rather have been doing anything else   Soon my breathing was off. He kept pulling me and pulling me. He was driving me crazy. Pretty soon I was pulling him as much as he was pulling me. He wanted to go this way I wanted to go that way.He was making it a game and I was just getting mad. Like having a power struggle with a teenager who is sure they know it all I needed to nip this game in the bud. I didn’t need to be screaming at my dog in the street.

I pull him to make the turn into the woods and things got quite. The road noise which is slight to begin with was gone and the only sound left was the creek running from the all the rain. Though the fog was lifting the green in the budding leaves was nearly electric and it took up lots of space, it was like walking through a movie set. The air was thick with freshness and soon the dog and I were walking in sync. He wanted to go this way and so did I. He walked and ran and sniffed everything all around me and I just walked slowly giving him lots of time to burn his energy. The road curls around, we walked further up the hill and then it cleared up a bit. We stopped at a clearing to look at the rushing water below us. It’s where I snapped this picture of Zeus being king of his rock. We just stood there for a few long moments, watching.

After a while we both started moving and walking back the way we came. We were alone and absolutely quiet on our walk back to the house. His pent-up energy spent and my sour mood lifted. It is hard to feel frustration when surrounded by the natural world. Though the weather had been nasty the beauty of our environment was in evidence everywhere. Scores of birds were singing while flying over head and a deer family waved their tails while running from the dog who never saw them. This place is brimming with wildness. As we reached the walkway to my house I realized we were walking happily along. Both of us smiling. Both of us peaceful. Must be one of those presents from the present moment!

Finding peace on a walk.