Sunday, December 26, 2010

Soul Needs and Consequences

This morning I was looking at pictures on Facebook of a group of dearest old friends at a Christmas gathering and feeling love accompanied by a bleak sadness that I am not with them. I have always told my children that our lives are the result of our choices and I do believe that but, here alone on this mountain with ten inches of snow and many animals to feed, it is easy to feel pangs of loneliness and self pity. There is always a certain amount of fear before I start down the hill on ice cleats or, as today, snowshoes. I ask myself what a sixty eight year old woman is doing living alone in this life that can be cold and hard and even dangerous. The answer always is the beauty of this place and the mountain light. I cannot seem to live without those two things neither of which I can touch or capture but are necessities for the life of my soul.

I often wonder how we are each made with such different soul-needs. I have friends who thrive on contact and constant interaction with others, have good marriages to dear deep friends, give service to those who need what they can do.  They live in cities and neighborhoods and thrive on the closeness with friends and neighbors. I have done some of that happily in the past but am absolutely unable to make that choice today. There is some grief, however with the loss of that laughing and touching and loving that comes in daily contact with old friends and family who know my history and can be completely trusted with my unadorned self. I do have wonderful companions here in the mountains, most of whom moved here with the same passion and need for natural beauty and a preponderance of solitude.  I treasure them as well. We support each other through through the tough weather, whether it be physical or emotional. My choices have always had losses and blessings. I cling to the promise that my 12 step program gives me that I "will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it." I do know that I only truly have today and what I choose to cultivate in it. That will always color what adventures in love and life I have in the future. So sending love to my dear ones from all parts of my life, I will put on the longjohns and snowshoes and go off to continue living my (cold) mountain day.

     

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Holy Wandering

Reading a book by Rabbi Rami Shipiro on Ecclesiastes as a lesson in impermanence and how to live wisely in the flow of ever changing life where nothing stands still and nothing is guaranteed.  The title of this post is a quote from her book and challenges us to make of our lives "a holy wandering". I am reminded of my difficulty hiking with friends who plunge up hill and down at a great pace, never lingering to see what is beside the trail or wandering off to explore what is hidden. My damaged lungs from years of cigarettes force me to pause and breathe. I consequently tend to meander, stopping and starting.. noticing, wondering and wandering off track. Hiking with a group, I pretty quickly feel guilty for holding others up, lagging behind and being a burden. In my life I try to honor that pause and notice what is around me. "Try" is the operative word as it is so hard to do in our Calvinistic culture. The travelers ahead do not have to be flesh and blood folks.  I can conjure voices that tell me to hurry, to get-it-done, to accomplish everything on my list and then make a new list..and no one is really here at all. That urgency to get life under control, to get where I am going, so futile.  I am not going anywhere really except to the end of my life in this particular costume. I really want to wander, to loiter, to observe and explore each rich moment that I am allotted. That, I think, is what is meant by "practice".  

Monday, December 20, 2010

Long months since my last post.  I tell myself that this winter will be different. I will keep this journal to chronicle life here in the mountains as it is for an old woman who has finally found her home on this earth.  This morning I stood in the dark on my deck looking at the almost full moon shining below on the pond.  It is cold, that silent cold with no wind, deep and lovely.  I love being awake before the world starts its activity.  Even here in the country, the cars and trucks begin early on the road below.  As a child I felt so powerful waking and going outdoors before dawn..it was safe then in my Louisiana neighborhood for a little girl to wander in the early dark. Amazingly, after many unsafe places in my life, that sense of protected freedom is present here alone on this mountain in my old age.

Tomorrow is Solstice and a full moon.  Strange that the return of the light and the season of winter are simultaneous.  Mirroring nature, it always seems that our inner light is lit in the darkest times of  life.
Christmas and Solstice celebrations are the annual upwellings in which we humans try impossibly to express that return of of hope and love in the middle of challenges and difficulties. I have so often found that a loving Presence is holding my twisting and turnings in a kind of amused radiance. In the early morning dark and silence, I am most aware that I am never alone, always loved and held by the Great Mystery. What an adventure and a comfort.