Words, Walking and Making Art

One of the best things about my Spiritual Perspectives class are the projects we’re asked to complete. For example, on Tuesday I enjoyedAsh of a Lost Heart a three-hour walk as a meditation on the idea of ‘journey’. Today I began work on my spiritual autobiography. This project can take any form: song, essay, collage. We were asked simply to be authentic and inspired. I’m using the idea of reliquaries. I’m selecting one or two events from each decade of my life and creating an assemblage from found materials, text and photographs. The project is immensely challenging but creatively refreshing. Thinking in terms of symbols and images instead of words is a tonic for my brain.

It’s easy to look back on life and list by rote, “This happened and then that happened.” The challenge is to look back on life, remember the difficult moments and remember the astounding moments, too. And then contemplate how those moments transformed the spirit. Contemplate how those moments made you a better person. I’ve had so many stops and starts on the path – from a “Jesus-freak” in the 1970’s to a wannabe-atheist in the 1990’s. But in the past few years I’ve learned the lesson that so many of us have: that religion and spirituality are two very different things. I’ve learned that our journeys are intensely personal. I’ve learned that there is no one true path and that it’s all right to wander off the trail a bit from time to time.

I thought I’d share a bit of my essay about the walk I took on Tuesday.

Take ShelterThe wonderful thing about walking is that the rhythm of the foot falls become like a meditation. The chatter in the mind stops and the head suddenly has room to consider new ways of seeing. That happened to me around the two-hour mark. I remembered that, unlike all my other walks, this walk was different. This walk was not about non-stop movement. It was about a journey. A journey’s pace ebbs and flows, just like the tide. It slows down and it speeds up. Sometimes it even stops. And that’s what I did.

I stopped. Pedometer be damned I stopped right where I was. I looked across the water. I examined the banked earth for signs of burrowing owls. My eyes followed the small hawk who took off from the grass in front of me clutching her rodent lunch. And I took photographs of the bloated grey clouds blustering over the East Bay hills.

And nothing bad happened.

On our journey it’s fine to stop from time to time. To take it in. To witness from a fresh perspective. Today I was a witness.

 


Harvest Follows Trust, Not Control

Harvest follows Trust.

I’m great at control.  Trust?  Not so much.  Surprised?  How could a yoga teacher not embrace all that life has to offer with an open heart and unending faith in the Universe?

Easy. I’m human.

Remember eight days ago, when I wrote “I can kick adversity’s ass”?  Well, I’m not really feeling it anymore.

A friend continues to remind me of Rumi’s words “the cure for the pain is in the pain.”  To be honest, I find deeper comfort here:

Oh soul, you worry too much.

You have seen your own strength.

You have seen your own beauty.

You have seen your golden wings.

Of anything else, why do you worry?

You are, in truth, the soul, of the soul, of the soul.

It’s a scary thing, relinquishing control, opening myself to the possibility of disappointment or failure.  But what can I do?  My choices are limited.  I can stagnate.  Keep living the life I am living.  Or I can hold tight to possibility, spread my wings and fly.