I write to you on this New Moon in June. It’s been a fruitful time for my inner self these days; I’d like to share a little bit of that with you in order for you to ask yourself how this resonates for you. Are you following a similar path, or is this a completely different season for you? How would you describe to yourself what you’ve learned, or realized, in the past few months?
I broke my left arm on June 2, just as I had finished recording my offerings for a Virtual Retreat that I was involved in, and just as I was joining others in the planning of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of that retreat. (On-line ceremony almost seems like an oxymoron —- but one thing humans do is to adapt to circumstances, and so we did, and the ceremonies were, actually, beautiful.) One of the invitations in the Closing Ceremony had to do with articulating, in just a couple of words, what is next in our lives, what next that we are committed to showing up for. The words that came to me were “Contemplative Elderhood.”
I also had spent a month intentionally asking “Please remove from me everything that is not myself.” This prayer I learned from my dear teacher, Clarissa Pinkola Estes. Something has been stirring.
Then last weekend I fell into a major funk: I felt just SO FRUSTRATED by the limitations of my broken arm along with the limited mobility of my “good” right arm, needing to ask for help in all sorts of things I’m used to just doing as I needed, by myself! Things like driving, cooking, dressing, showering, pulling up my pants, etc. So frustrated, and so tired of aching 24/7, slowed down and exhausted because of the constant pain. So I sat and waited and listened and asked for help, and slowly I’m beginning to see how I can live “Contemplative Elderhood” in my day to day. I was reminded of a poem I wrote in about 2017, a poem that at the time I could only imagine as being possible. . . someday. . . maybe. . .
To Know Mystery
To know mystery, dear one,
live the life you long for.
You have more choices than you think. . .
What if you knew that the only thing you have to do
is what you long to do: what is good, useful, holy —-
to drop into, over and over and over, this blessed mystery?
Yes, it is possible to live creatively and sustainably, with grace and joy!
What grows the soul, do this,
and what makes dear body thrive, do that.
To nurture an inner life is your political act now.
Defending the depth dimensions,
your wisdom becomes gift.
Listen for the rhythm: in, down, up, poured out.
In, down, up, poured out.
In deep connection, with word, image, dream, and silence
live the life you long for.
Well, it seems that this is the time to live this. My broken arm, along with the rest of dear body, is telling me to slow down, stay at home more, but to harvest the so much of what I have learned over the years, both from my study (which has been extensive), and from my experience (which I really would rather have read the book about, and not lived through!)
So here I am, following a flexible rhythm in my days:
Sleep as long as I need to, then up, breakfast, and check email;
Go downstairs to my study; do art meditation and journaling;
Work on my book or current projects.
After supper with my family: read, watch some art videos, listen to poetry or teachings from the mystics;
move into silence and sleep.
On the weekends, a type of “Sabbath” — resting, renewing, being a human BEING.
Not so different from what has arisen naturally for me, but here I’m naming it and claiming it. Of course, “LIFE” interrupts the best laid plans —- that’s why I call it a rhythm. When other needs arise, I hope I can settle back into the rhythm with ease.
And so, dear friends, what’s calling to YOU these days?