DSCF0805I get stuck

I get stuck ruminating or obsessing over an idea, a plan, or a problem, and that preoccupation won’t let me go until I explore every aspect and angle of it or, if I’m lucky, resolve it. I could be pouring over a map or a stretched thin bank account, trying to figure out how to best get from here to there. Or I could be lamenting over a decision I’m trying to make, the choices in this oversaturated world overwhelming even the most focused me. More often it’s a slight, perceived or actual, of my own or another’s doing, that I desperately want to make right – that’s the codependent dwelling within me, not quite the same as cohabitating but close enough.  The thing that I dwell upon could be the dismissive language that someone uses, of either the verbal or bodily variety, which burrows itself into my heart as if it wants to dwell there for the winter. My dwelling could be a nagging worry about someone I love or a frustration with someone I struggle to love. It could be information I’m trying to understand, (oh google), which is often so far removed from wisdom that I forget I can listen in a different way for the answers I seek. Often it is an experience in the past or the future—where my fears and anxieties, hopes and desires seem to want to settle in and stick around for a while.

Yes, I get stuck, but these things that I dwell upon are not at all my real dwelling place. Instead I suspect they only keep me from settling more deeply into my true home.

For me, even the word, dwell, has such a rich and resonant feeling, like a warm golden glow in a hearth. Belonging, sanctuary, and deep contentment dwell there. This feels like a place of life, not of death, which if I’m honest is often what those stuck places can feel like, as if they rob me of living fully somehow by filling my days with minutiae or worry.

I have been working this winter at decluttering my actual dwelling place. As I sit here this evening gazing over the room it feels warm and inviting, with space for myself and a companion to sit for awhile. Here, I feel sheltered and welcomed. I know I can create a similar spacious and welcoming place within me when I likewise clear out my internal clutter. It takes some daily maintenance, but really less than I imagined it would.  Just reminders from time to time of my intention to keep the place harmonious, to clear out what is not serving me well or bringing me joy.

I often ponder the simplicity that is my life on a long canoe trip.  I wear what I have on my body. I eat what is next in the barrel. I kneel in the ribs of my canoe. I dwell in the beauty that is laid out before me. There, everything that is essential I must be able to carry on my back and I trust that, beyond those things, I have the creativity and resilience to adapt to what I might encounter. My mind is clear of distractions, my heart is free from worry, my body is fully alive. Right there, where I am, not in some distant rumination of past not-enoughnesses, fear of future failure, or trivial distraction.

It is not lost on me that I have no physical dwelling place when I am out there. A tent is a place to sleep, a transient and  temporary shelter, not a place to live. And yet, I feel at home in that place more than I do anywhere else on this earth because I am fully there. Dwelling deeply upon and with, the earth and my own being, in harmony, without ‘forethought of grief’, my heart and my mind as quiet as those predawn waters.

It is that kind of dwelling I long to bring back with me to my home in this world. Waking with the light. 

Walking in beauty. 

Wondering at the stars. 

That is enough for a lifetime of dwelling upon.

Perhaps I just need remind myself from time to time of my intention to keep the place harmonious.






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