One with the Wood

Morning mantra…I don’t remember the day it started, years ago certainly, but its why is another matter. I wanted a way to define being in the moment for if I could confine it, then I could experience it. Ha!

I lost the control and kept the mantra, which doesn’t hold back: mine is to meet each moment with compassion, lovingkindness, joy, and equanimity, which is guarantee that it will happen. I’m not setting myself goals just reminding myself to open the door of each day and begin there.

Just wakening to some days is easier than others. To meet what happens after that and look to the heart and not only the face is never easy. Feelings may not be facts but they are powerful for at their core is pure energy.

Mindfulness, awareness like no other.

It helps me open that daily door, which is sometimes to a forest, rare and rich. Every day is a stroll, indoors or out, but a forest floor with sun shadows is stuff for my memory banks.

It is summertime in the Florida panhandle (although the calendar considers it spring), the humidity almost as high as the 90°+ temperatures, some of my best days.

My walking stick is wood, a live branch now fallen, stripped of bark and varnished clear, its knots remembered. I have added black rubber tips to its top and bottom, one to ground and one to grip, for ease of grasp.

My left side is weaker, so much so my left hand cannot hold the stick with any certainty but my right hand, used to leading, finds the walking stick a useful prop. Sometimes, balance looks lopsided.

I waddle and wobble, a slow stagger sometimes, but an evenness of mind and body down a forest path on a late spring morning just after sunrise is–to me–all that and lots of birdsong.

This greenway is 50 acres of forest and meadow with 12 miles of dusty sand trail but to me it is boundless, yet forests have their limits these days and are now carefully tended not to exceed. What is done is done.

I walk until I tire, reaching a picnic table made of concrete, its bench table tops painted brown for natural reasons I suppose. Still, I am grateful for such tables, as well benches, for there are days I stop briefly at each one but today, it is the second picnic table where I will stay.

Not far along, I know, but in the forest, distance ceases to matter, like time. It’s forgotten. To neither, the forest bends. Rather, it gives its all.

Regular readers of this blog may recognize the above picture of a magnificent live oak split down the middle by lightning some six or seven years ago, not even nanoseconds in its life. See how its heart has sprouted so many new lives.

In the distance, in stark contrast, stands another oak, a sentinel stripped of its bark, possibly by lightning but by life, nonetheless. At the tip of one of its limbs, I notice movement, the shape of a turkey vulture when its head switches to profile, but mostly it is one with the wood.

In awe, I watch as all else disappears.

Not even the heart of the magnificent tree, with all its new lives distracts from being one with the wood. No sound nor single thought or emotion, only nothing consumes mind and body. I am neither on the ground or in the air, only nowhere.

In some moment I return to being a human alive with the energy that animates everything rather than being one with it. Such moments never repeat, not in the same way or same place, and in some moment I became comfortable with that, just meeting the moment I am in, grateful for a day as a human being.

Silence is not the absence of something but the presence of everything” (Gordon Hempton, Ecologist).

Silence is a Response

Life is loud, the constant chatter of a unified life. The more we connect with each other, the more we learn about ourselves. Yet, there are moments when a silent response may benefit us most.

We live with the daily fallout of nonsense that has been increasing over the last two decades but in the last two years, the social and political climate of the planet has completely changed. Hot spots are everywhere. Frankly, we do not know what to do so we text what we do not know.

In this immediate world, an emoticon or single parentheses with a colon is acceptable but the larger fallacy in all this chatter is oranges become apples and then later, as needed, apples turn into oranges. There isn’t a logical fallacy that is out-of-bounds.

I offer this: silence is a sound response preferable to the chatter of logical fallacies. There is nothing new in the virtue of silence but as we reach across, up, down and around the globe, we are connecting with all we can be, and the possibilities are endless.

mairedubhtx.wordpress.com image

How we connect with one another in the ether seeps into our physical relationships, particularly those conversations of the heavy heart, the ones that thud: conversations we no longer want to have much less start; conversations that reveal a truth we never saw until we realize it was there always. Revelation and resonance are pure, often painful.

In a recent blog post, Sabrina Reber tells us: “Understand that when we resonate ‘strongly’ with the pain and suffering in others, it is a reflection of our own inner pain that has not been healed. STRONG REACTIONS to anything outside ourselves are always a reflection of our own inner turmoil.”

Other people are mirrors for us, even when we look away–keep the chatter on them–as we tweet or text a response to relieve our own discomfort.

“When you find yourself having a strong reaction to an external issue ~ STOP. Turn it around and say ~ ‘this is my stuff.’ This is your place of POWER ~ because you are accepting responsibility for yourself/your emotions/your feelings/your vibration ~ and only then will you be able to tap into the underlying truth of the issue so you can create change” (Reber).

A response is a thoughtful decision including whether or not to respond. There is so much chatter in the outer world  but if we listen silently and allow our egos to chatter, judge or interpret inside our heads, then we’ll know whether or not to respond but even better, we will know what to respond.

Silence is a straightforward action, and the fact that silence is a possibility for each one of us in every moment at a cost we determine is the very power we seek in chatter.

Truly, “it is time for us to stop expecting someone outside of ourselves to make the changes on this planet we so desire to see. Our power for change revolves around the SELF……one person at a time” (Reber).

Rhythm of ROW80 Sunday Scheduling:

This week, we examine conflict in the Idea and Conflict workshop with Bob Mayer.  As he says, it will be a challenge. This past week, I struggled with the kernel idea of my novel, which is clearer but not quite there. The kernel idea exercises require the writer to peel back layer after layer of story. It’s quite rigorous, and I have spent about five hours a day with variations on the exercise. In the process, I am writing a lot of back story.

Beyond my workshop writing, I am generating at least 1,000 words per day  for blog posts as well as some creative nonfiction. In this regard, I have exceeded my original word count of writing 250 words per day in this first round of ROW80.