This last week I’ve been listening to the still small voice inside me that says, “receive”. Instead of taking each moment as a “what do I have to do?” moment, or a “what should I give out right now?” moment, I’ve been allowing a more quiet, subtle gift to breathe into my pores. “Receive”. I find that when I open myself to receiving, I am able to take in the gifts that are available in the delectable now. Gifts like acceptance, beauty, openness, and possibility. I have also found that when I breathe in the “receiving air”, I am miraculously able to give better! I know that sounds counterintuitive, but as a “receiver”, I’m able to take in others’ words, thoughts, and actions much more “present-momently” (my own vernacular), and that is a gift.
I had this image of a purple geode- all hard and craggy and dull on the exterior, all twinkling and purple and crystal on the interior- somehow full of magic when it opens and the light hits it. And I asked myself, “what would it feel like to be held inside like a geode?” Hmm, “Well”, I thought, “I imagine it would feel like I’m surrounded in a bowl of love. A place where birth can take place. Encapsulated, but precious, with the spaces of potential freedom all around. Warm wafts ribboning around me from the inside. Held.” And then I asked myself, “What does this look like today? How can you feel out the practice of held-ness and freedom? What would you like held today? What disciplines could give you even more freedom?” And then I thought, “if each moment were a geode, how would it like to be held? How can I open it up with discipline and delight?”
“Sciureus minimus”. Listen to it for a couple of seconds. One. Two. It sounds like “scurry-ous minimus” doesn’t it? It ‘s my own combo of the scientific name for a chipmunk (sciureus) and the specific species of tiny, adorable, toylike characters that run and bounce along our front porch (lesser chipmunks). I don’t know about you, but I have this inbred need to be doing-doing-doing so much within only a few square inches of time- perhaps “Protestant work ethic” is a good term… for it. I wake up, scurrying to get things done, which feels like a good thing, but then feel spiritually bereft to continue on, which doesn’t feel like a good thing, and then guilt sets in which really doesn’t feel like a good thing! See, even the words here feel like scurry-ous minimus! So I slow down and think the better question is, what does experiencing meaning look like? How can I craft each segment of my day from “scurry-ous minimus” into “meaningous maximus”? Then I take a deep breath, take off my ears and tail, and slow . . . down . . . .
Take refuge in your senses, open up
To all the small miracles you rushed through.
Become inclined to watch the way of rain
When it falls slow and free.
Imitate the habit of twilight,
Taking time to open the well of color
That fostered the brightness of day.
Draw alongside the silence of stone
Until its calmness can claim you.
Be excessively gentle with yourself.
Stay clear of those vexed in spirit.
Learn to linger around someone of ease
Who feels they have all the time in the world.
Gradually, you will return to yourself,
Having learned a new respect for your heart
And the joy that dwells far within slow time.
– John O’Donohue
“Slow time” is a pair of words I like to linger within, when I can remember to slow down long enough to do so. It reminds me of a Japanese phrase- “mono no aware”- the heightened, yet transient ahh-ness of things. What comes to mind right away when I think about this are lifecycle moments: a peony at its peak, ready to drip its plethora of petals, a moist forest carpeted with the plums and browns of decaying leaves just before the snows come in, or a young fawn on spindly legs still speckled with the soft signs of just being born. I remember having just discovered the term “mono no aware” on a hot summer day in Palm Springs, California. Looking up at the sky for the first time with this new awareness gave me such a fresh perspective. It brought me immediately into a place of gladness, presence, and the present. How long would the sky remain that shade of blue? When would that cloud formation change into a new form? I didn’t know, but in that moment, I granted myself the time to appreciate every second before me- each tinge of perfection and change in its own current and unique state. I had somehow entered into “slow time”.
During the “Spring Soul Bath” I co-Iead recently, I read this haiku by Aberjhani: “Dare to love yourself/ as if you were a rainbow/ with gold at both ends.” We had just bathed ourselves with the resonance of Tibetan bowls and the sun-yellow images of forsythia and daffodils, when the words of this profound truth struck the group following the striking of the tingshaw bells. What does it look like to be a rainbow with gold at both ends? What do you look like spun with color and light, a bow of promise in the world, holding a bucket of brightness and value in both of your hands? What would it look like if you loved yourself this way whenever the light struck the prism of your awareness?
Saint Flannery. That’s how my daughter and her college mentor referred to her one day when I was delightfully listening in on their lively conversation. Sharp as a double-edged sword slicing the smallest sliver of light into the darkness with just a glimmer visible. That’s how I envision the work of Saint Flannery. She’s a good reminder to look closely at the beauty that spills out from the unseemly places. “I can, with one eye squinted, take it all as a blessing”, Miss O’Connor once said. What can you find today “with one eye squinted”? How about taking an “Adventure into the Surprising” and see what you come up with? What is now lurking in the most unexpected places? Enjoy!
The intriguing portrait shared today is by Ande Cook.
Join Energy and Sound Healing Therapy Practitioner Karen Calhoun and Poet, Author, and Spiritual Director Gina Marie Mammano for an afternoon of soul bathing in the waters of soothing sounds, guided poetic meditation, haiku, and submersion into the rich hues of the art of creating the finger labyrinth. It is an opportunity to pull away from the tumult of daily life and the stresses of our current age and spend a few hours in a sauna of self care as we move into the earth’s renewal into spring.
Registration limited to 25 people.
The Afternoon Includes:
Hand pan and singing bowl sound bath
Poetic guided meditation
Creating a finger labyrinth
Crafting a spring solace haiku
Materials Fee: $10
LANGLEY UNITED METHODIST CHURCH FELLOWSHIP HALL 301 Anthes Ave, Langley, WA 98260
To reserve your spaces, contact Gina Marie Mammano at this site in the comments section, and I will direct you to how to register. Hope you will join us!