I remember reading an interview by Mary Oliver who was talking about her writing Muse. She would be out walking in the woods and the Muse would suddenly strike; the words were floating in her head so quickly that she would have to run back as fast as she could and put them to paper before they flew out into the ethers and be lost forever. The story struck me when I read it because I had experienced the same thing from time to time. I would wonder, having missed chances to pay physical witness to the thoughts escaping my stream of consciousness that those precious baubles were lost forever. And, sometimes, they were. And sometimes, they would come back around because I was the one chosen to deliver that particular message, on that particular speck of time dust in this ever turning world we call our own. It is in the spirit of returning that I offer this.
If breaths make up moments and days make up weeks which eventually are all packaged up into a life, what gift have we made? What gift for ourselves, for our humanity, for our people? Have we left them with a gift of untold care and blessings? Or, have we played the game of “living” so well that people look upon us and mention the phrases, “Bless her heart”, “that’s so sad” or “she could have been something”?
As I sit here at 5:45 am on a chilly late May morning, woken by my Muse who I haven’t recognized in nearly a month, I am struck by this moment, among other seemingly mundane moments. A moment of the mountainscape revealing herself once again; of the seemingly endless bird sounds creating the soundtrack of their morning rapture and of my mind, words and heart coming together in a brief moment of recognition of the present moment. The “now” and the “before” and of futures not needing attention or worry. Just the breath and sounds and state of my heart. Just the warm mug of coffee and the cold glass table top beckoning my senses to step into another day filled with all things just as mundane, and yet, just as temporary, undulating and precious as a rain drop on parched earth.
If you are in a place of pain, I encourage you to turn and stare at it down “between” the eyes. Taking your “unseeing” physical eye and see it for what it is. Temporary. If you are confusion, take a deep cleansing breath and feel the movement produced by a sure, unconscious pattern that your body makes when it inhales and then lets it all go. If you are in a place of love and reverence, BE with it. Roll in it. Get dirty, muddy and blissful with it, allowing every ounce of it to make its mark on your skin.
Sitting with pain can be the easy part. It can be as natural and normal as first light. But, my friends, it is in the luscious, abundant good times that we can question our worthiness to the moment. Stop it. Don’t do it. Let it wash over you like a lover’s touch that has long been absent. Like the soft, caressed breeze of a new morning sky. Like the last gasp of your heart yearning for safety. For if we don’t acknowledge and wrap our arms around the beauty that Life HAS offered, why would it have any interest in returning to us once again?
If we are unwilling to acknowledge and bow to the unbidden gifts from our lives, we will be unable to encourage more of them. We will be numb to lightness and always look for the dark to return. Honestly, almost willing it to so that we can sit in our self righteous stupor and ask for more of the same.
Feel the enraptured spirit of Joy unbound, if only for the briefest of time. Now, after you have, think about this. What if we could transfer that moment into a day? What if we could recognize the light just a touch more than the dark? What if we finally decided to receive the gifts that we have longed for as long as we have been alive? Imagine what that would bring to the door. Recognition, acknowledgement, reverence, love and limitless light. And though we know it’s temporary, I can assure you it will return.