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What Have You Learned???…

As discussion begins to formulate around going back to work, I find myself in deep reflection. What did I learn about myself during this time? How do I feel as I stare down the barrel of returning to the 9-5 game established in this society?

My family and friends would easily share with you that I have never been very good at staying within the lines of “societal expectations”. Since I was a child there is a different drum that beats in my heart, like a far off voice, it beckons me to follow my heart’s desire, or as Joseph Campbell’s famous quote wisely shares, “Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.”

What a tightrope tap dance it has been for me. Like doing the “Hokey Pokey” I sometimes put my little foot in, however, more often I am yanking it out quickly, fearing it will get sucked into the quick sand of society. So many times along this journey I have quietly wished that I could be “content” with the cookie cutter society we’ve established, “just “Baaa…” along Fawn, follow the flock, be happy with what is, stop walking off the path,” I whisper to myself. The voice of “reason,” as some would call it, became even louder when I brought children into this world. In reflection, I wonder at moments, what if, I had chosen a path more in line with my values, like the movie “Captain Fantastic”. Of course part of my dream involved not doing it alone, I wished for that partner who also desired a sustainable life upon the land. Sooo.., I gave up on that dream, or better stated, I put it on the shelf where it has collected dust and cobwebs for years.

This unexpected time to truly just be with myself and my children has graced me with the opportunity to dust off the values and characters on the shelf; informing the spiders that they will no longer keep them company. In complete honesty, I started to dig into the protected chambers of my heart and soul when my son left for college three years ago, for his his sister was not far behind him. What did I desire for my second half of life? Where did I wish to live? Create, share, explore..? That time is now!

Pulling out my tightrope dancing shoes, gathering my dusted off values, passions and dreams I sit down to visit. Like grass erupting through concrete, the lusted for aspirations blossom anew. Pulling out pen and paper, my forever best friends, I make a list. What did I love about this “stay at home” time?

  • I loved not commuting to work.
  • I relished the quietness, listening to the layers of silence as they expanded.
  • I fell in love all over again with putting words to page, allowing my muse to dictate the flow.
  • I joyously celebrated the dream to “work & live” in the same place.
  • My body, mind and spirit relaxed into the beautiful simplicity, the washing away of chaos, stress and worry.
  • I celebrated the chance to only let in what inspired me, stirred my desires and ignited my passions.
  • Relishing the completely present time with my children, sharing meal creations, conversations, movies, games and walks.
  • Letting my body move without an alarm clock or tight schedule.
  • Sinking more deeply into the grace that nature offers in her infinite wisdom.
  • The gift to stay away from the chaos of the city, keeping my distance from the negative energy created by stress and angst.
  • The chance to play with new ideas, free of demands and interruption.
  • Allowing my quiet introverted soul to breathe deeply, embracing the peace that always is…

What did my list tell me? Certainly I can go back to “normal”, get back on the merry go round of commuting, punching in and out on the time clock, maintain a home, car, blah, blah, blah… Or I could begin to seriously listen to that far off voice. Encouraging the whispers of my heart and soul to rise in serenade, to crescendo into the new future.

I am curious, as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 phenomena,

  • What are you learning about yourself?
  • What is important?
  • What are your desires and dreams?
  • Do you want to go back to normal?
  • Were you happy?
  • Is this a new opportunity?
  • A chance to reflect, dust off forgotten wishes?
“Life is without meaning. You bring the meaning to it. The meaning of life is whatever you ascribe it to be. Being alive is the meaning.” ~Joseph Campbell

I shall conclude today with another powerful quote from Joseph Campbell –

“We’re so engaged in doing things to achieve purposes of outer value that we forget the inner value, the rapture that is associated with being alive, is what it is all about.”

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Paradoxical Mirrors…

I had a dream…

I gingerly stepped out onto the effervescent ice. Shivering in my nakedness, the breeze pricked my skin to life, while it soothed my heart. Stepping fully out onto what appeared to be ice, I realized with shock that it was actually a two-way mirror. In the reflecting light I could see myself, my raw vulnerable body lit up by sunlight, my graying hair floating with the winds sweet caress. As I gazed down I could see through the mirror, taking in panoramic scenes of life upon earth. A movie reel of humanity.

I stopped frozen in place. Forgetting my exposure. Losing all sense of place and time. I watched the scene below me with a raging desire to understand. The movie played on, the cast of characters filled the stage, humans and the natural world. Scrutinizing with focus through the flash of my own reflection, I witnessed the world of paradoxical mirrors.

An invitation…

What I witnessed and grew to understand marveled me. Nature played us, even though we thought ourselves mighty and smarter, it merely mirrored back to us our own behaviors and way of being upon this land.

A paradoxical crystal ball…

It is the predator and prey – the lion and gazelle…

It is the convulsing spew and soothing balm – the volcano and gentle warm breeze…

It is the fierce earth altering storm and gentle nourishing rain – the hurricane and dancing dew…

It is the destroyer and healer – earthquake and lavender field…

It is a killer and life giver – drought and sprouting plant…

It is light and dark – sunrise and obscured moon…

It is destructively ugly and enchantingly stunning – tornado swath and meadow of poppies…

It is harmonious and hostile – a forest ecosystem and inferno fire…

It is inspiring and disheartening – a rainbow and infestation of locust…

As I sat upon the shimmering surface, engrossed by the unfolding action below me, I felt tears, laughter, joy, sorrow, hope, despair… The breadth of my human emotions spanned the galaxy of possibilities. Never before had I been so keenly aware of natures paradoxical dance. It moved me from within, it frightened and fascinated.

All of sudden everything went black, a curtain pulled over my eyes. I blinked furiously, hoping to find light. An intense spark from afar expanded across the infinite space, clearing the slate before me. No longer did I see nature playing on the screen below, now I witnessed humans…

I gasped at the scenes, the human actors mirrored nature or was it nature mirroring the human?

A man beating his wife – predator and prey

Sludge from a factory, a mother caressing the face of her child – convulsing spew and soothing balm

A massive garbage dump, a woman watering her small garden – fierce earth altering storm and gentle nourishing rain

The bulldozing of a farm, the harvesting of herbs – destroyer and healer

The murder of another human, the caring craft of a surgeon – killer and life giver

The acceptance and love of another, the hate and judgment of others – light and dark

A child being molested, a child being cradled with love – destructively ugly and enchantingly stunning

A family dining together, a riot in the streets – harmonious and hostile

A person creating homeless shelters, a person ignoring a starving child – inspiring and disheartening

Again, I found myself swooning with a kaleidoscope of emotions. I sat frozen, unsure of what to feel, do, or say… The darkness swooshed in, this time I was calm, welcoming its closure and end. As the light presented itself, I quietly watched it expand, fearful and yet curious. The surface below me was solid now, a frosted, smooth white surface that went on forever. Above me the sky illuminated in glorious shades of blue, while the sun warmed my skin.

I stood up, allowing the gentle breeze to clear my mind. Then it struck me, like a bright shocking lightening bolt,

“What if human beings changed? Would the natural world mirror our choices? Could we begin a new cycle of cooperative co-existence? If nature mirrors us or vice versa, then it was possible, right?”

“Can humans change? Can we learn to live upon this planet with respect, gratitude and honor? Can we peruse our past to change the future?”

I had a dream…