Tag Archive | hope

El Camino

foxgloveRecently I went to the movies to watch “Walking the Camino”. It was the penultimate screening and we had the theatre almost entirely to ourselves. This is how I like it, the dark, the quietening of the breath and the unfolding of the story. As I listened to the stories of the half dozen people (out of many) who were sharing their experience, I was waiting to feel the yearning rise up within me to follow in their footsteps. The idea of travelling light; letting go and confronting change on a daily basis all hold much allure. The transformative experiences abounded and were shared with depth and humility.

Searches for the meaning of life, a new better way to be sat alongside the yearning to connect. One young woman bought her small son and her brother. Her dream; that her brother would grow to understand her Christian values and they would become closer. Loss was also present in the stories of those who had died and were still being grieved. All of the stories continued to unfold along with the road and the vista beckoning the pilgrim onward.

The stories were heart warming. Yet, throughout the whole movie the most powerful player was Nature herself.  In sun and rain the natural world stood out; the bedewed blades of grass; leaves lime green in their newness. Heather, in thick rich banks adorned the roadside,    urging me to reach out and run my hands through it.

I know I would never survive the walk; the shared sleeping dormitories alone would be the end of me. I am a light sleeper and often only manage 4-5 hours a night – in the quietest of spaces. I am not physically able to walk the 790kms, my body would teach me a lesson in humility never to be forgotten. Such beauty along the Way, I would love to experience that; I’d take the chance to immerse myself in it wherever it appeared.

It was almost at the end of the movie; the young women had fallen out with her brother. He had misbehaved – his Pan-ness had offended her values. He wasn’t taking it at all seriously and so she drove him away, thereby negating her original desire for connection.  Poor thing, she was trying so hard to be a good/godly pilgrim. He didn’t seem concerned at all. It seemed to me that he was inherently panentheistic and she was – a fundamentalist!

His lightness of spirit captured me and spoke to the mood that had overtaken me as I drank in the scenery. Right then the camera followed the curving stem of a foxglove, honouring each individual flower. From somewhere deep inside me powerful emotion welled up; the thought “I bow before you” sprang into my mind and my heart opened. For me, all the joy of the Camino was represented in that one sinuous curve.

I know that I walk my own inner Camino every day. The Nature mystic in me takes me on many varied and challenging paths. I hope I walk them in humility; staying connected to all the glory of the natural world, grounding myself in Her.

There is always a gift along the road. A dappled glade, a glorious sunset, a field of wheat moving in a gentle breeze. All these expressions of the Divine enliven me and fill me up so that, just like a pilgrim who reaches Finisterre I am filled with joy and deep peace.

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Gloriously Ruffled Radicchio

radicchioI’ve been hearing people saying lately that Spring has arrived, as if it is a date on the calendar. Well, actually in New Zealand we do describe September 1 as the first day of Spring. Herein lies the truth, it’s the beginning of the process of unfolding and releasing the new emergent energy; it happens slowly, one day at a time. In order to notice the changes I am daily in communion with the parts of my garden that express ‘Springness’. I check the plum blossom and the foliage buds on my oak trees. In my vege garden I check the temperature of the soil. It’s still too wet and cold to plant Spring veges. I know this because my brassicas look so fine; they’re loudly expressing that Winter hasn’t fully released its grip. Which is ok too; greens are good for us & we need to eat plenty – or so I tell myself when I experience resistance to the idea. Fortunately as I stand surveying their healthy vitality I’m nourished by the beauty & elegance of the red cabbages and radicchio. Food for the soul is every bit as important. This radiant show helps remind me that the slow letting go of Winter into the quickening of Spring is inevitable and soon a different kind of expression will take the place of my gloriously ruffled radicchio. Even as I write the first plum blossoms are welcoming bees as they feverishly collect pollen to keep the hives healthy in preparation for a new seasons honey making. So much promise yet to be fulfilled.

A Gentle Farewell.

Nature's fire burning bright.

Nature’s fire burning bright.

Everywhere around me this morning my eye catches the vibrating reflections of sunlight on water, on spider-web filament, the veil-like wings of bee. It is beautifully warm with a crisp gentle breeze blowing quiet notes in the background. I can barely hear the water as it goes over the falls; only the vibrant movement of the sun’s reflected journey through the rocks tells of its aliveness. There is such stillness today; a feeling of lightness and clarity in the garden. Like the wide held arms of a welcoming Mother she gathers me in.

I sit, the sun warming my face and arms, feeling back in time to all those who sat before me experiencing that same golden kiss. I glory in a visitation from the gentle Mother, her quiet presence a harbinger to new and exciting possibilities. At first I think she has held her breath; but no, there is a gentle, even pulsing. Time slows down, the garden breathes in and out in time with Her breath as she prepares for rest. I know that soon, she will withdraw to her bower; days will shorten further and icy cold will be evidence of her unavailability. She leaves us reminders of her love in the glorious reds and oranges of dying leaves, winter flowering Kniphofias and Agaves; the flames of the hearth in lieu of the rays of the sun. She cares for us even in the darkest days as she incubates the new world, soon to be reborn.

The Beloved

oak leavesBalanced on the cliff edge, my acorn shell cracked wide open I look out into the void. My old brain screams in terror, seeing only my annihilation. There is a whispering, the gentle susurration of oak leaves shimmying, calling me forward. I am exhausted by the terror and so I drop into the velvety darkness. The banshee wail fades behind me and I am gently caught in the loving embrace of a compassionate God, manifested through the actions of my beloved husband, caring family, friends and my garden. A tiny shoot has sprouted in my soul garden. Each time I drop I am buoyed up, carried on swells of constancy, love and acceptance. Ebbing and flowing, my emotions toss the boat of my soul. Little by little I learn to find my balance, my sea-legs, more quickly. In this moment I am not that abandoned child sucked down into a whirlpool of despair, drowning in her own shame. A new land is in sight and the waves push me ever closer. It is the unknown; I am a way off yet. I feel its pull, it is the moon, I am the water. Like the new growth sprouting skyward in my soul garden my roots are seeking their home. I am still vulnerable; though pulsing within me is all the potential of a mighty oak and all around me the compassionate manifestation of the Beloved.