untethered

Dear child

I awakened early this morning, a little before 6,  the bedroom subtly lightening into shadows and shades of grey, though still quite dark. The window at my head was thrown open wide – though it is mid-November we are having a warm wave-  so I could hear the gusting wind out there, high up in the trees, the rain’s steady patter on the porch roof below.  Instinctively, I felt the longing to be out there, sleeping in it, not lying here in my bed beside it. I yearned to feel the rain beating on the tent roof, feel the wind rushing above and about me, feel the cool dampness of the earth beneath me, smell the fecundity of wet soil and rock.  It was this feeling of being one with it, immersed and not separate, for which I longed. Ironically, tucked inside my warm house, I felt somehow as if I was on the outside, looking in. Oh, it’s so hard to describe the feeling of oneness that I experience out there to those who have not known it, and so perhaps just as difficult to express this opposite feeling of subsequent disconnection.

Perhaps some of this hunger for more was stirred awake in my belly  by yesterday’s greedy consumption of the tales of a young family’s 30 day trip into the backcountry—their words resonating, echoing in the emptiness of loss within me, as they spoke of the life changing nature of a wilderness life, their acknowledgment that those who ‘visit’ more briefly will  “never experience the peace and serenity that comes with settling into living a life in the wilderness” -what I have experienced as a fullness of being.

But I wasn’t really ‘thinking’ about their story this morning in those wee hours at all. I was simply feeling – and the word that came to me then to describe the feeling was- ‘untethered’.  

I’ve been thinking about how it is that we humans slip off into living an untethered life.  How it is that we have learned to go through the motions, disconnected from meaning, disconnected from Love, living on the surface of life, free floating without an anchor. Perhaps then, this is why the words- “Restore the Soul”– employed by the now president-elect this season, evoked something real and true within me, almost as strongly as the words shared by the wilderness family yesterday.

Reconnect our actions to our souls.  Reconnect our words and our decisions to Love.

Reconnect.  

Yesterday morning,

I awakened to listen to a soul-stirring rendition of Ubi Caritas, performed by 4 young men in a resonant stairwell, the earbuds filling my head with their resonance. Here is a brief translation of some of the lyrics

“Where there is love, there is God.

Love has gathered us into one. 

From a sincere Heart let us Love one another.

Let us be aware, lest our mind be divided.

that we might see the face of God in our midst’.

Yesterday morning,

I sat with an email, a Daily Meditation, which spoke of living a life informed by an Ethic of Love. It spoke of seeking to live our lives from that underlying value, to let our words and our actions spring forth from their roots in those depths. It beseeched me to live a life deeply rooted in Love and to attentively nurture that connection to goodness within.

Yesterday morning,

(it was a full morning!) I was offered this excerpt from Meister Eckhart’s, 13th century mystic’s, writing.

You Ask ,

What is Evil?

It is the good turned around,

deprived of what matters,

of all that really endures,

of all roots,

of what remains after a fire.

It stands outside,

pointing away, dividing,

falling, fallen, broken.

There is always evil lurking in

the good.

In other words—untethered.

Unrooted,

Outside,

Dis-connected from ‘all that really matters’.

We become ideologues, disconnected from the Love that may have first inspired our thoughts. We create institutions, which may have once been rooted in nurture, or healing, or service, but are now free floating, unanchored, caught up by the winds of profit or survival, materialism or tradition. We come to activism, forgetting the Love from whence our anger was sprung, and  becoming that which we say we hate in the other. What is Good, disconnected from source, becomes a soulless, lifeless ‘thing’, becomes evil. 

Untethered.

And so I woke this morning, feeling untethered from the earth and filled with its longing for wholeness. To live a life, not separate, where my humanity (whose root word is ‘Hum’- of the earth) is cut off from the earth, outside of and apart from it.  But moreso, to also be a part of a cultural life that is not disconnected from Soul, which ought to shape and inform it. I thought of the walls that we build, thinking they will shelter or protect us, the loss that is inherent in that walling off of oneself, that separating of self –the hardening, the division between and subsequent inability to feel the other.

I can feel the disconnection from the earth so potently because I have experienced the opposite feeling of intimate and deep seated connectedness – the peace and serenity of which the young family speaks—but I think of all the persons who cannot even imagine what it is that they are missing because they have not felt it.  And this makes me wonder if this is not somewhat true of a life lived disconnected from Soul —a life lived on the surface, untethered from its roots, from that deeper well of wisdom and Love.

 I wonder how we begin to restore the wisdom of soul, to reconnect the broken tether between head and heart, between heart and soul. Could it possibly be that there are those who have forgotten, too, what this feels like, who have lived lives so disconnected that they have no way of even comprehending what is missing? Who feel only the emptiness but know not the way home?

How might I help? If it is true that there are those who don’t know what is missing because they have never felt this connection to Soul, this connection to Love, then I guess the only way I can help, as simplistic as this sounds, is to Be Love for, to, and with them. Perhaps they might then catch a glimpse of it in me. As the wilderness guide leads her guests into their own experience of remembering, I might also take these ones out there with me into Rumi’s field beyond right and wrong, let them feel for themselves what Love is.

Being Love is a tall order for one small, flawed human being such as me, one I feel ill equipped for, one that calls me to do my own work. To practice and practice and practice some more. Each day, each moment, calling myself home, reaching for the rope that tethers me to the depths, trusting in something I cannot see in those depths, but that i hope will hold me fast.

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