Though the world seems crazy off-kilter and so many things beyond our control, we do have choices everyday. Incremental, small choices of attitude and action. They all add up to shift eventually. Our circles of influence are changed.
Recently I heard my friend, Todd wynward of TiLT, speak at a gathering. He said, roughly paraphrased by me…
We submit to a scarcity of imagination. We give ourselves to things that aren’t life giving or life affirming.
What good novel doesn’t have downtrodden, ill equipped protagonists trying to change the world?
We’re on the brink…a great turning, a collapse, a rough initiation…we have choices to make. We need to make imaginative decisions for a new life way.
Imagination. Don’t you just love that word? I find it very delicious. It rolls around in my mouth and spins worlds of possibilities. The earth is full of inspiring invitations to imagination. How rarely we go outside to visit and listen.
For Todd, TiLT and Taos County, it’s about living within the boundaries of “place” and watershed—which is dwindling every year from a reduced snowpack and development. But he’s not some pariah out on the Mesa, shaming, blaming and wagging a finger at people. Instead, he’s inviting people into a joyful and freeing dance of community, bubbling up and filled to overflowing with new ideas, imagination, and experimentation with new ways of living with less and sharing more!
Everyday choices make a lifetime. And our little lifetimes can have a walloping impact for those around us. We just can’t see it because we become myopic and buttoned down into our small worlds. Every once in awhile we need to take a birds eye view.
Speaking of which, I’m doing just that again this year. This is my third year, of flying northward for a “Winter writing retreat”, of sorts. As soon as I head towards northern New Mexico, I begin to shed layers….skins, the scrum of shiny, bustling city life— filled with a plethora of activity and multitudes of distraction. Those thick blankets of security I try to wrap myself within, I leave behind for unexpected surprises and adventures in both my inner and outer landscape. My initial experience is euphoria, as I release, release, release. I begin to feel lighter. The second stage is the frenetic attempts to fill the dull ache of emptiness that my life in the city usually fills up. I keep reminding myself that I’m here to empty out. I am never disappointed as I finally strip away those coats that other’s would have me wear, coming home to my own body and soul’s rhythm.
This year in January I settled in El Prado New Mexico (Taos County) to housesit. I’m out on the Mesa, near the Rio Grande Gorge. I turn 360 degrees and am wrapped in soaring white peaks and sagey plains. Human activity is a small speck on this landscape. My first Birdseye view companions were a “murder” of ravens, soaring and dipping with the thermals that first morning. I watched them until their glistening, obsidian bodies disappeared into the ether of blue sky.
On these winter getaways, I find myself wickedly joyful. All my sniveling, little aches and digestive pains, all my problematic thinking and sorry narratives about my life, all my deadening habits get re-set. I become aligned again with what is life affirming and life giving. I overflow with gratitude. Many things incubate during these times.
I leave you with John O’Donahue’s poem, “For a New Beginning”, from his book To Bless the Space Between Us: A book of Blessings (New York: NY: Doubleday Publishing, 2008), p. 14
I continue to devour his work everyday. He knows this journey of coming home to the soul— intimately. In 2000, he left the priesthood to move to a little inhabited remote sweep of land in Ireland, Conamara. There he unleashed a torrent of brilliant soul tending poetry and prose before his life was unexpectedly cut short in 2007. May this blessing call you forth for the New Year:
In out-of-the-way places of the heart
where your thoughts never think to wander,
This beginning has been quietly forming,
waiting until you were ready to emerge.
For a long time it has watched your desire,
feeling the emptiness growing inside you
noticing how you willed yourself on,
Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.
It watched you play with the seduction of safety
and the gray promises that sameness whispered,
Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent,
Wondered would you always live like this.
Then the delight, when your courage kindled,
and out you stepped onto new ground,
Your eyes young again with energy and dream,
A path of plenitude opening before you.
Through your destination is not yet clear
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is at one with your life’s desire.
Awaken your spirit to adventure;
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;
Soon you will be home in a new Rhythm,
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.
“Aquire inner peace and a multitude will find their salvation near you” (Catherine de Hueck Doherty)
7 thoughts on “#Re-Set # A New Beginning #Imagination”
I LOVE your post. Thank you for writing it. My word for 2023 is FRACTAL. Inspired by adrienne maree brown’s Emergent Strategy, in how we learn from nature’s beautiful fractal patterns, living in small powerful ways – like nature does – and scaling it up, also like nature. YES!!! Love, Tina
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Thank you Tina. I love the image of Fractal! I will be reading more about Adrienne Maree Brown for sure.
Oh wow, Anita! Didn’t know you were on retreat and doing the solitude thing again. Sounds both delicious and hard. But very good. I’ve been longing for even a few days of that. I may head to a monastery sometime soon for just a reset. Love John O’Donohue so much and have that book. Dipping into when I need something rich with meaning and grace. And I love to read your thoughts and soulful engagement with coming back to your naked self. Blessings!
I think it’s becoming an annual “thing”! Yes, back to my naked soul!
It’s actually wonderful, after the initial readjustment from city life. I hope you head off to that secret inner space for a time, with O’Donahue’s poetry, Brenda! He knows this journey well…
Ohhhhh, so beautiful anita. On every level, beautiful. Thank you. So glad your soul is being nourished on such a profound level. ??????
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I am so very very glad to be on your mailing list and get your e mails!! Helpfulâ¦refreshingâ¦providing energy and light YES to new ways of thinkingâ¦inner peace,,,stripping off of old ways of beingâ¦.new dayâ¦new yearâ¦newness!!! Freshnessâ¦new lifeâ¦.new energy!! Psâ¦Lois and her husband and I fly on fri for two weeks to be with david in texasâ¦30 from the Brownsville/Mexican borderâ¦.goal this year is to help with a 10 by 12 cinder block hurricane proof shelter!! For me the real goal is respect and love and connection. Your cousin by blood and by life experience!!! I recently experienced a sound bowl therapy that released some old junk inside!! Powerfulâ¦healing!! beckie
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Dear Beckie, David is so blessed and beloved! Glad to hear you are going to help him have some stable shelter in case of weather. Still remember our time together with much gratitude! Sound Bowl healing is beautiful! xoxo