So here we are at that time again, arbitrarily designated the ‘New Year’. For me it’s not; hence the use of the word ‘arbitrarily’. For me the year is waning, every day the sun is just that tiny bit less available. It is decidedly the holidays though and I am in full holiday mode. This morning I lay in bed reading a novel whilst outside a gentle breeze caused a golden rain of Schizolobium flowers to fall past my window and carpet the grass below. A jet flew overhead preparing its approach and landing with another batch of visitors to our small town. One more reason to stay ensconced at home – it does get oh so busy at this time of year. Traffic crawls through town from one end to the other as visitors look for parking or just to find their way around. Locals stay out of the supermarket between 10am and 5pm unless they’re desperate. I stay here, in my sanctuary, visited only by the Tui that comes to drink nectar from the Strelitzia nicholae flowers outside my window, a cool breeze and the smell of honey it carries from the hives in the paddock.
As I lie here I feel a deep stillness within; I have a list of things to do, usual at this time of year but I feel no urge to action. It is enough to watch and listen, to breathe in the perfume and to give thanks for all the beauty and abundance that embraces and nourishes me. A thought flicks through my mind from time to time – someone to call, something to attend to. I let it all go. I learned a valuable lesson this last year – that all my feverish ‘doing’ over many years had rewarded me with a burned out body and confused mind. Now that I understand, I see everywhere the obsessive need to ‘do’. The driving energetic of our society is the masculine agentic ‘make it happen’ kind. I’m often asked what I’m doing at home, don’t I get bored? My days are filled with the practice of being, the learning to embody the feminine, a much slower more languorous form of energy. One more suited to our desires and dreams, one that encourages us to indulge in the pleasures that fill our lives with joy, connectedness and ecstasy even. I think from time to time what it would be like if I gave up my meditation and gardening and dancing and just being here when others needed me for the status quo. Every time I go to the city to visit I know it’s not for me, all that busyness. I long to come home to the peace and quiet, the warmth and comfort of my Hortus conclusus where pleasure and indulgence are the norm, where loving connection nourishes and fulfils all who spend time here.
As I look out into the garden the yellow of the Gleditsias and the lavender-blue of the mini agapanthus at their feet create an easy, fresh feeling that generates a heartfelt Ahhh. Life is so very good and I am so very grateful.
Today as I look out my upstairs bedroom window the perfume of the Stephanotis floribunda growing there instantly grabs my attention. I breathe in deeply. Looking further out into the yellows, reds and greens of the surrounding trees a dew drop scintillating in the sun catches my eye where it clings to a leaf. The lime yellow of Gleditsia “Sunburst”, under planted with pale blue Agapanthus accentuates the freshness of this time of the day. We are accompanied by the singing of cicadas, the sound of water over the fall in the river and the faraway drone of traffic. We’ve had some rain so our visitors are feeling a little constrained and are now preparing to make their escape for the day. On the odd occasion I go to town during the festive season I notice how big the lines of traffic are, how busy the shops and how when I want to go to a movie it’s already sold out! This is my version of constraint; bumper to bumper traffic through town, drivers doing 60kms in a 100km speed area as they weave across the road “sight- seeing”. I know they’re great for the local economy and that when you live in such a beautiful place it’s only fair to share with others, but I can’t help wishing them gone. As soon as I can I get myself back home to the peace and quiet that is my sanctuary from all the consumerist madness. Once there I lie around with a book or if it’s not too hot pop out into the garden to pull out all the lettuces that have bolted in the heat, along with the weeds that are massing in preparation for a coup! If it’s very hot I waste the day away lounging in the shade laughing and chatting with my dearly beloved, drinking copious green tea and nibbling leftovers from various festive feasts. I know it sounds profligate and I accept the judgement willingly. Finally early evening rolls around, the heat declines and I can head out into the cool quiet of the garden. This is the time of day that as I work, bent over pulling weeds, digging and pruning my connection to Spirit is refreshed. In the dusky quiet the garden wraps itself around me; night-scented plants soothe with their moth attracting perfumes, carrying me to another realm replete with beauty and wonder. The mystery and magic of this special time, when there is almost no evidence of humanity is such a gift. My body, heart and mind is open to the quiet gentleness and I feel I could continue in just this way forever.
A couple of posts ago I wrote about being all out to sea; adrift on the vast blueness that symbolises the infinite. Although I felt rudderless I was being steered by the gentle but firm hand of God. Most recently I have been on retreat learning about the subtle and magnificent teaching in the 14th century treatise The Cloud of Unknowing. Our very able teacher Cynthia Bourgeault has inspired me with her deep understanding of the writer’s perspective and has made available with great clarity the gift within the writing. It seems as though all my previous experiences have culminated in this deep understanding of what is now necessary. I see my life including all my actions and inactions totally differently. I’m experiencing a sense of greater freedom already and I am as yet to penetrate the cloud. The horizon is rich with promise. I now fully understand the yearning that has been urging me on for some time. Add to this the joy of daily swims when the wind and water turn from cold to warm magically upon submerging your body. The waka shaped roof of the chapel and its attendant Norfolk pines pointing heavenward like fingers pointing to the moon. All this held in the gentle embrace of silence. And so I come at last to land; no doubt I will bide here for a time before the gentle but firm hand of God moves me on.