Following the wisdom of my ancestors, I walk the words to find the truth. Words are a path, the spaces between are the destination. To find a way between the words, you must walk the path and hear the deafening roar of silence.

"Who has not listened to hear the secret
stories of the land whisper from ruins or
forests, or the pages of ancient texts?"

Ari Berk~

Friday, April 15, 2011

Mirror, Mirror...Who am I?

It is infinitely heart-breaking to meet her glance
Who was it that said that "An unexamined life is not worth living."? Oh yes. Socrates. It's a phrase that has served as a lodestar for me my entire adult life, a philosophy that set me on a journey of self discovery that began when I was about twelve years old. Naturally at that age I had a fairly limited idea about what formed the concept of examining oneself. But I began the process of looking about to see how I felt about things in general. The sum total of my efforts at that point culminated with the knowledge that the entire smorgasbord of organized world religions had absolutely nothing to offer me whatsoever. I was astonished by the revelation. And so I was off, discovering this, that and the other thing that I didn't like, and as time went by I became increasingly vocal in my opinions, particularly about what I found wrong with the world around me. After all, wasn't I examining myself by evaluating the world in which I lived? I found that a healthy dose of self-righteousness mixed in with intelligent critical thinking was really the way the world should be viewed. And not just by me. But by one and all. And according to my principles.

I'm not sure when the slap in the face. came. It might have been in a drug-induced haze in my 20s, or possibly as a bolt of lightening that shot through me from a simple phrase in a book I was reading at the time (which is not at all an unlikely way for enlightenment to come to me). Whatever. I found myself suddenly struck by the absurdly painful notion that a self examined life meant that one actually examines oneself, looks under the hidden rocks, opens the closet doors, digs through the primal ooze of ego, shame, blame, and a lifetime full of false beliefs. So I responded to the whole idea in the only way that made sense to me. I began to drink. And kept on drinking for the next 20 years. Drugs fell by the wayside (too paranoid), cigarettes were life threatening (I accidentally set my sweater on fire when I was shit-faced one night). It was only after I stopped drinking (another story altogether) that I started reluctantly tried to put into practice the concept that had so horrified me years earlier. I had help. Lots of help. Good friends. Good therapists. Great lessons from the universe. Then, at some point I learned that this was an ongoing process, that I wouldn't wake up one morning and say "Right, got it, all examined, all fixed, let's go for tea". Depression set in. And stayed for a long, unwelcome visit like a bad house guest. 

After this had gone on for a bit I began to hear an annoyingly persistent voice, whose origin I couldn't quite identify, keep whispering in my ear, "Go for a walk in the woods." So I did. Then I went again. And again. Soon it became a regular and remembered cherished habit. I started to reconnect with nature. I had been a park ranger for nine years and had switched careers to be a graphic designer. I had spent less and less time outside. Big mistake. As I started listening to the voices of the natural world outside all around me I began to find my own inner voice, waiting patiently to be heard... And that it was worth actually listening to. I was hearing with my inner self - my spirit and my heart. When I discovered that all the voices were coming from the same source I was joyously mystified. Mystified. Steeped in Mystery. I love both of these states of being as one directly reflects the other. I love the world's mysteries, and I love the fact that my own inner mysteries are always, always somehow connected to the outer mystery presenting itself at the time. I learned a new word to describe this phenomena - synchronicity. A truly self examined life meant reflection. Inner meet Outer. As above, so below. Socrates....very cool, dude.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Fast Forward

So much can happen in two years. We all know about the big stuff - the natural disasters that change the face of our planet, the environmental catastrophes that threaten to wipe out large ecosystems, the horrific acts of violence and terror that human beings inflict on one another, the surprising new faces on the worldwide political stage, the riveting acts of heroic ordinary people determined to help one another survive despite seemingly insurmountable odds. These are the things that engage our collective attention.

But the day-to-day happenings of life for most of us of are generally made up of smaller scale dramas, the mundane events that make our small worlds go 'round. "What, my invitation to the party got lost in the mail?"  "No, I am not driving all the to the mall to bring you your cell phone." "They want how much to fix the car?" I have been away from this blog for two years living out my own scenarios. I don't want to spend a whole lot of time and detail about what has happened, so here's..
The Nutshell: my friend (who originally inspired this blog) survived her cancer and is doing well. Sadly, our friendship did not survive. Sometime during the rehabilitation phase of her illness things became completely unglued. The reasons are complex and really, the less said the better. Leave it at that I am sad for the loss. On the totally opposite end of the spectrum, I got married to a wonderful man I have known as a friend for the last 10 years. This joyous event has also served to alter my personal landscape in unexpected ways, catapulting me into a new life. I now have step-children, mostly grown, thankfully. I have acquired a large new musical family, as he is a musician. I have been married before, as has he, but we are finding that middle-aged love is vastly different than young love. It feels like it has more emotional, spiritual, and intellectual "meat" and less hormonal "heat", if you will.  Needless to say we are both delighted with the "meat:heat" ratio and are very much in love. Despite, or perhaps because of, sagging bellys, bad backs, and worn out knees.

Finally, factor in some rather unfortunate and severe health issues that I've been visited by in the past two years and life just went whizzing by while this blog lay fallow - patiently awaiting a new Spring when long-awaited tending would begin anew. Well, Spring has arrived! This blog was begun in Spring two years ago and is being resurrected again in Spring. The wheel turns and brings us back to new beginnings. So rambles will again be recounted, cat tales may abound, and my love and stewardship of the earth will devotedly continue....maybe even more strongly than before. Time has a way of altering the lens though which we perceive what is important to us. And I now know that this Earth is who and what I am most connected to in this life. I love my family, I love my friends, and I love the new opportunities that await me as my mental foliage unfolds once more.

It's an "Oh Auntie Em, there's no place like home" moment.