I spent some time listening, this morning, to this essay byCraig Childs https://emergencemagazine.org/story/on-being-alone/, about his experience of solitude while paddling the Green River canyon inUtah. And while, from my few visits to Utah, I can picture the Red Rock cliffs through which he and his canoe meandered in concert with the river, it is his experience of being alone, out there, away from conversation with others but in a deeper conversation with life and earth, that echoes its resonance like a healing tone waved over the cells of my body, causing them to vibrate inharmony.

Earlier, I spent some time paging through a photographic site. Like slowly turning the pages of an old family photo album, I was transported by memory and feeling. Dedicated to images from Algonquin Park, my own beloved landscape, familiarity flooded my vision with joy and peace. Like this one, for instance, taken along the Arowhon Road

photograph by Sarah Tee

 I can feel the silence in it, the crispness in the air, the cleanbite of fragrance. I see the beaver dam in the foreground and know well the pond that lies still,  behind it, frozen over and blanketed, surrounding a beaver’s lodge.

I am transported to that flooded plain, drawn into its invitation.

As if I am actually there, each of these virtual realities carries me to some place deep inside of me where I am flooded with the medicine of wilderness solitude. Sometimes, I think it must be oxytocin that has been released during my times in a canoe, particularly in Algonquin, for the bond in me to (mother) nature floods my being with the bliss of falling in love even in recalling it.  As if it is setting all things right in my body around my primal bond with my physical/biological mother,this bond to my true biological mother, including the watery womb in which I once was bathed, re-minds me (or should I say, it re-bodys me?) of my belovedness.

This is a flooding that is not at all about being overwhelmed. Overcome perhaps, by peace. I am re-aligned with love and belonging. I feel it in my heart, closing my eyes, breathing it in. 

I once read that the vibration of the earth is the same one we mirror in our bodies when we are engaged in prayer or meditation. Perhaps then, my trips to those wild places … within and without….are one long act of prayer.  

This morning, I also read a brief essay on the value of hibernation for the human animal. (**see below). With these feelings of healing resonance swimming in me now in the quiet of a slow, attentive morning, I am, even moreso, affirmed in my instinct to pause, be still, listen, receive. Upon awakening this morning, I’d felt something I suppose I could describe now as ‘dissonance’, before I followed by body’s pull- its alerting wave of fatigue, or was it sorrow, that swept over me (or did it rise from within me?) , compelling me to sit awhile. 

This time spent, rooting out the stories of shame and unbelonging, feeling them fully and then flooding them with the balm of love and deep belonging (for self –and theother, though I am not ready to do that quite yet) may allow me to lay to rest, at last, those residual unresolved, buried alive, griefs in me.  No longer fearing that darkness, perhaps I might also bring forth gifts, less blemished by pain, that I have been blessed with by their presence. Gifts transformed by healing.

This feels something like waving a magnet over a field of chaotic iron filings. My wounds, my sorrow, and my pain has disturbed the field of my self, shaken it asunder. These experiences of deep belonging put them back in line with Belovedness.

Perhaps that is truly who I am.

**We are approaching thethreshold of winter.
Life is being drawn into the earth, painlessly descending down into the veryheart of herself.
And we as natural human animals are being called todo the same, the pull to descend into our bodies, into sleep, darkness and thedepths of our own inner caves continually tugging at our marrow.
But many find the descent into their own body ascary thing indeed, fearing the unmet emotions and past events that they havestored in the dark caves inside themselves, not wanting to face what they haveso carefully and unkindly avoided.
This winter solstice time is no longer celebratedas it once was, with the understanding that this period of descent into our owndarkness was so necessary in order to find our light. That true freedom comesfrom accepting with forgiveness and love what we have been through andvanquishing the hold it has on us, bringing the golden treasure back from thecave of our darker depths.
This is a time of rest and deep reflection, a timeto wipe the slate clean as it were and clear out the old so you can walk intospring feeling ready to grow and skip without a dusty mountain on your back& chains around your ankles tied to the caves in your soul.
A time for the medicine of story, of fire, ofnourishment and love.
A period of reconnecting, relearning &reclaiming of what this time means brings winter back to a time of kindness,love, rebirth, peace and unburdening instead of a time of dread, fear,depression and avoidance.
This modern culture teaches avoidance at a max atthis time; alcohol, lights, shopping, overworking, over spending, bad food andconsumerism.
And yet the natural tug to go inwards as nearly allcreatures are doing is strong and people are left feeling as if there issomething wrong with them, that winter is cruel and leaves them feelingabandoned and afraid. Whereas in actual fact winter is so kind, yes she pointsus in her quiet soft way towards our inner self, towards the darkness andpotential death of what we were, but this journey if held with care isessential.
She is like a strong teacher that asks you toawaken your inner loving elder or therapist, holding yourself with awareness offorgiveness and allowing yourself to grieve, to cry, rage, laugh, & facewhat we need to face in order to be freed from the jagged bonds we wrappedaround our hearts, in order to reach a place of healing & light withoutgoing into overwhelm.
Winter takes away the distractions, the noise andpresents us with the perfect time to rest and withdraw into a womb like love,bringing fire & light to our hearth.

•Italicized words Brigit Anna McNeill•

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