There is little more therapeutic than sitting outside at dawn at this time of year with the mad, competitive chaos of the dawn chorus followed by, on a clear day, the controlled riot of sunrise. You don't even need to try not to think, so overwhelming is the joyful chatter of sound and color, and so short-lived is the show, that you're up and on with your day before long. But what a day that will be, begun in the cleansing, wild meditation of a June morning.
We don't need to know how to keep up. We don't even, really, have to learn. All we need, when we feel overwhelmed, is to step outside and look up. Just look up and watch the tops of the trees against the sky and know that they've made their very quiet way there for many more years than this day's, this week's, this year's particular struggle. Just stand and watch and wait. It can happen in an instant or it can creep in over a matter of moments, but peace will arrive.
And if that peace is temporary? Well. We have our feet and we have the view. The trees, bless them, aren't going anywhere.
One of my ongoing mantras this year has been 'find ease.' I've written it everywhere, left myself notes, and have tried to spend as much unstructured time outdoors as possible.
But still, I think I need to face the fact that I will never be an easy person. I will, apparently, always be what I am in the Chinese Zodiac--the element metal. Unbending and rigid. (Sigh). So it makes me wonder--despite making all the adjustments to our self-nurturing as possible, will some aspect of our nature always win out?
The obvious answer is yes--after all, we are forced to work within the boundaries of bone structure, height, ancestry, genetics. Some aspects of our birth are out of our control. So the question becomes, do we exhaust ourselves to an early grave trying to be something we simply cannot be, or do we learn to work with what we have? Do we learn to say, yes, this is how I was wired. It used to shame me, but here I am: quiet and rebellious, bookish and solitary, only truly at ease in my own co...
Maybe we try to understand too much. Heck, maybe we *try* too much, full stop. This is, after all, the idea behind meditation, is it not? Simply to sit and let the universe do what it's going to do, not with our engagement, but with our observation, our paying witness?
I've never been one for organized activities, which is perhaps why I cannot for the life of me maintain a meditation practice. But I do love taking a spontaneous moment to sit and stare at nothing, to watch the world come about and move around me--and you know, when you allow that space of nothingness, you awaken to the fact that, moment by moment, there is infinite variety and nothing ever repeats itself.
How can we not believe in possibility when it's proved to us again and again, if we could find the generosity of spirit to do nothing but observe for minutes at a time?
This is motherwort--one of my favorite herbs of all time. I grow it in my garden and just love knowing it's there--this protective, supporting herb that feels so much like being called home, then embraced once you get there. I grow so many medicinal herbs in my garden, but more and more, I find I've less interest in harvesting them and more interest in watching them live out their perennial cycles; their riot of blooms; their odd, leggy growth patterns. These days, I've more interest in growing medicine than making medicine.
And I don't know what that means or says about me and the greater scheme, etc.,etc. I'm not sure I care to know. I'm quite sure I'm sick of self-reflection, so perhaps I'll just sit here, in the little leisure time afforded me, and watch the bees visit the motherwort.
Beauty is not exclusive to youth, and while I think this is something we're accepting as mainstream, we seem to believe that we can't maintain the old arbitrary standard without a lot of work. And I wonder, if that's the case, is it worth it? Is the label itself worth the time, the effort, the money, the advertising-induced psychological damage?
They're trying to sell us something we've owned since our first breath. Our definition, were we given time to formulate one before being invaded by theirs, would most likely look quite different. Gone would be the agony of comparison and, in its place, the peace of that same reaction that arises when unexpectedly coming across a field of wildflowers, a forest clearing, a glacier-arranged assortment of rocks, a waterfall.
Nature does not hurry or worry or agonize over this bit or that. It adapts. It takes its time, and it puts on the best show it can, for its own survival, with what it's got that season--wind, sun, rain, early fro...
Here's the insight that arrived last night: we are so buffeted by energy from every corner--whether electromagnetic, radio- or microwave, other people's energy and expectations or a change in wind or weather. It's no wonder we're so dry and tinder-ready--we are blown around, sapped of our own ojas, left to wither in a sun that can no longer feed us.
In other words, we have not sunk into the sweet, deep earth around us. We learn, in energy medicine, in Reiki, and in meditation to ground ourselves--more often than not, we're taught to imagine a tether from tailbone to earth. For me, this was always hard to conceptualize--a thin cord not up to the task of keeping this frenetic and flighty soul held in space. But then I happened upon a meditation by Wendy De Rosa where she invoked, not a cord, but a tree trunk enveloping waist, hips, legs, and feet. It was a revelation.
That enveloped, whole-body anchor is the first step toward self-healing.
I don't really worry about my own heart--if I get too clumsy, drop it, break it here and there, that's okay. It can mend. It's expendable. But I cannot stand to break the heart of this land around me. I cannot sleep for the old, tattered, whispered mourning that floats through my open windows. I cannot settle my stomach or my mind in meditation unless I thrust my hands into the earth, put my lips close to the earth and whisper, "I'm here. I've not forgotten. I promise."
I have no doubt, if trees can tap chemically into their surroundings, healing themselves, healing each other, that they could heal us, too. Not just on a corporeal level--we know plants-as-food, plants-as-medicine, plants-as-lungs can heal us, can, at the very least, supplement us. But what if we could have a little faith in their chemistry, a little faith in their age, in their experience? What if we could sit at their feet and thank them from the bottom, the very cell floor, of our hearts? What if we could apologize from the depth of our confused and churning guts, where we should radiate nothing but light, nothing but confidence, but are, instead, drowning in our own bile, in our own poisonous chemistry?
What if we could do all of that? Would the trees not, in all their compassion, tap their Morse-coded chemistry into the earth and heal her as we save ourselves?
I could be wrong, but I think we all have entered a daily, or at least weekly, battle with anxiety--even those of us who have been blessed with an anxiety-free constitution. It's the nature of the times, I'm afraid. But perhaps that's the lesson of this incarnation--steadiness and an ability to keep one's heart up, full, and beating.
The heart, of course, is at the mercy of the mind, unless we create habits otherwise. On that note, I found a wonderful meditation for anxiety--so simple in its brilliance that, like the best magic tricks, it seems obvious in the reveal. This is it: you don't have to accept every thought that enters your mind. You see, the brain is canny and clever (or a pain in the ass, depending on perspective)--it assumes every thought you have is truth, reality. And because of that 'reality,' our bodies respond in real time--the heart races, the breath dwindles, adrenaline floods, and what was clear sight becomes nothing more than a pinpoint in scope.