Somedays I am fleeing for my life. The life of my soul, that is.
The tides of inhumanity and the wreckage of my own grief wash over me, my own puny sorrows. I need to reset my inner rhythm. Sit with my soul for awhile. Listen to her wisdom. Let her guide me to what is most important this day. What really longs for my attention?
Today is a #sabbathday. I am at a hermitage outside Albuquerque. I revel in 400 square feet of silence on 70 acres of high desert. It may seem empty, but it is alive with jack rabbits, coyote tracks, a few purring Sandhill cranes wheeling in the cerulean sky, triumphant, twisted sages, and spiring cottonwood trees.
More than the outer landscape, I am reveling in my inner landscape. The one that is neglected for so long, so often.
Yesterday I spent befriending my grief. It was a hard day. Depression was like a dull knife, a razor’s edge gnawing my brain. I could attend to activities and distract my soul for a few hours at a time. But as soon as I was alone, the depression returned.
Finally I sat down alone with my journal and 2 cats. I began to touch the grief. It was like a tidal surge, sucking me into the undertow. I recognized her. She comes every year, about this time, to remind me to pay attention!
Old wounds. Old sorrows. Old Trauma. Darkening days. Winter. It all conspired to draw me to do the work of Soul Tending.
It appears that no penance, no offering, no sacrifice, no amount of suffering each year will erase my contrition
Every year, as the days slow and darken
The trees become stark scarecrows, the bees hibernate
I am relegated to my body’s dark, shadowy prison cells,
the basement of
Perhaps the only absolution is this annual rhythm of
I believe that we live in a culture drenched in the steroid driven adrenaline of grief. Grief that has no place to go. No place to wail. Grief that becomes violence. Grief that is Mindless, endless distraction and consumer appetites, hoping to appease the gods of grief.
All grief asks is that we befriend her/him—especially in this Fall/Winter season, which according to the Eastern system of medicine, is associated with the Lungs, with sorrow, with grieving.
So, I will sit with you grief
you willful, headstrong
destroyer of peace.
I will makes space for you
I will let you come in the door, slide down my bannisters
break into my pantry,
and overturn wastebaskets,
go ahead, break the china.
Do come for a time
and then you can go.
I will latch the door
and resume my distracted busy life.
But you will come again and remind me of what’s important.
I know you will be back.
Maybe I will clear out a space
and be more proactive next time.
Maybe, just maybe, I will welcome you.
As the spiritual teacher You are.
Catherine de Hueck Doherty, one of my favorite mystics and activists wrote:
Acquire inner peace and a multitude will find their salvation near you.
Perhaps that is what is required for such a time as this.