A few weeks ago, I wrote of the banquet table that was spread out before me, as I found myself feasting upon a new stack of books. Well, here I am today feeling abit like Thanksgiving afternoon, all that gratitude transformed into gluttony.

It’s not really the books, perse, that have left me feeling overstuffed and bereft. It’s just that, well, one thing leads to another, with information overload so ready at my fingertips, with the synergy of emails between friends leaping across the synapses in my brain, with the plethora of excellent soulful offerings on zoom or podcast, daily readings, thought provoking essays, self-help advice for a loved one… you get the idea. And it is not lost on me that here I am adding more words to the blogosphere… with these journaling prompts from the latest book on the stack.

It seems I have moved from satisfying the hunger in the belly of my soul, to oversaturating my brain. Words. Words. Words. Thinking. Thinking. Thinking. Ideas. Ideas. Ideas. Solutions. Solutions. Solutions.

I live in a culture that teaches me that consumers are vital aspects of a healthy ecosystem. That consumption will make me happier. That, if I have free access to consuming, then I really ought to take advantage. The hunger for healing and wholeness in me perhaps makes that a potential deathtrap, for I could consume myself into a virtual coma.

But I don’t believe we are made to be consumers of this earth. Nor do I believe we are meant to be consumers of information. In both cases, our souls are starved of what they truly need.

I also suspect that our brains are not made to hold so much information. We have access to too much, more than our physiology can digest. That makes us sick. I have been feeling that — anxiety, inability to process, faitigue, vulnerability. I suspect that , just as we are advised to eat local, our brains are also designed to process- and relate to – the local, the immediate, the present, the actual.

As I hit upon so clearly yesterday, I know I am not meant to carry it all…but to open to Love it all. Ironically i think that is one of the gifts of the internet, if we can ever allow it to simply be so, that it might be a container for our brains so that we can be freed to be human again.

Sometimes, I wish i weren’t so voracious for knowledge. I’d like to look at that. Does it make me feel safe, less vulnerable somehow? What answers am I truly seeking? One very real problem for me (and one that I suspect is an invitation into loving awareness) is my need to respond to EVERYTHING — which is somehow tied to my need to fix to alleviate my anxiety– to be necessary… (to be loved?). The relinquishment of this attachment is a strong Soul pull that I feel, this call to surrender, to accept…to simply fall…in Love. I cannot fix a broken heart …or a broken world. On a deeper level than that, I expect this is a practice to which I am invited into the ultimate surrender– to the Reality of life and death itself.

This morning, I woke, yearning for emptiness, wanting all of these seeds within me to burst from the pod, be dispersed to the wind, to be free of them. Winter is the time to be still, emptied of ideas, emptied of knowing, emptied of reaching and grasping, emptied even desire.

So, this morning, I took a long walk through the snow-covered landscape. I noted where squirrels and deer had crossed the path before me. I noted the way the seedheads of summer’s blossoms were the gathering places for winter’s crystals. I left the turret of my brain to enter the kingdom of my body, and I remembered what it feels like to simply be alive.

And i realized again, that this is why i go… out there, into the wild. To be simple again. To be immediate. To be present. To be real. And I understood that this is the reality i wish to bring home to this place — not another binge cycle, but a steady diet of simple goodness– of quiet, of stillness, of depth, of meaning, of trust, of belonging, of rightness, of Love for this place.

So, the task laid out before me is how to be simple here. How to know what is mine to carry, what food I should eat, how to sit by the water each morning, in stillness, falling in love, and let that be enough. More than enough.

For I truly believe that this is what the earth needs, for more of us to be still, to be simple, and to fall into Love. So, I likely won’t be here in this virtual place again for some time.

I leave you, for now, with this excerpt from an essay from LLewyllen Vaughn Lee, which came upon my desk this morning. May it be an open gate for you to also enter….

Ordinary, everyday awareness can return us to a place of balance, where we are part of the living community to which we really belong. A community not of internet bubbles, but of the earth and the clouds and the sun on the water. Whether this is an answer or merely a refuge I do not yet know. I am reassured to find this primal awareness described centuries ago, in teachings and poems that remain outside of time. Today, watching a little ruby-crowned bird looking for food at my feet, I feel true kinship. Focused on her own search, she allows me to come close, without fear or concern. Walking through this gate that is always open, we can return to a quality of consciousness beyond truth and lies, one that is more primal, spontaneous. Here an old man in his garden watching a little green bird can leave behind a strange fractured world of distortions and breathe an air that is not toxic, walk on a land that is still singing.

morning lesson

This is everything I need.

Encapsulating all that I was feeling and intuiting and trying to put my finger on/wrap my heart around as Something in me (or outside of me) was seeking to breakthrough yesterday’s distress . Overwhelmed by the weight of too many words, too much “information”, not enough Wisdom. Understanding, somewhere deep within, that balancing all of this head knowledge, this bombardment of information -science, analysis, statistics, data, facts- with Presence and Depth, is what this world so very desperately needs right now. (There is a vast difference and necessary counterbalance between the understanding of the brain/ego and the awareness of soul) Needing to move my human body out of the darkness of an anxious brain to step into splendor (to remember, humbly, that I am a human Being, not merely a human knowing) moving from being fear-driven to being love -drawn. Surrendering to the truth that there are things too big for me. Hearing the grace in the song’s lyrics to “Let it fall with confidence and grace.. Breathe in” . Trusting the All is Well within the all is not well.

So I share this morning’s gift of affirming grace, from Richard Rohr’s daily email, with you below (Or you can follow this link to the full text.) in case you need it too.

Wisdom of Presence
Thursday,  December 17, 2020

We empty ourselves to let the divine flood us with love. We are empty so we may be full. —Beverly Lanzetta

It seems that one of the most difficult lessons for us to learn is that knowledge is not the same as wisdom. Even sincere spiritual seekers resist this truth: becoming “full” of all the information in the world does not of itself accumulate into wisdom. As Bonaventure noted, “Wisdom is confusing to the proud and often evident to the lowly.” [1] Wisdom is not the gathering of more facts and information, as if that would eventually coalesce into truth. Rather Wisdom is a different way of seeing and knowing. Nothing new—no perspective, no experience, nor even love can come to us when we are full of ourselves, our agendas, and our own points of view. That is why, as Beverly Lanzetta observes, self-emptying is so critical to any expression of authentic spirituality. She writes:

Defined as the releasing of selfishness and ego attachments, loss of self is a central characteristic of spiritual life. Let us for now refer to emptying of the self in a twofold sense: as a breaking down of our cherished self-identities, wants, demands, and ego struggles; and as an openness of being, where all the doors and windows of the soul are thrown back to allow in the splendor of life. Since in a body we will always have elements of personality traits, self-emptying is not an absolute state but the practice of letting go. And this practice of detachment, in which we experience the fluidity of presence [italics added] that is deeper than identity, becomes the medium for the great transformation of being that demarcates a contemplative life. . . .

I would go so far as to suggest that wisdom is precisely the freedom to be present. People who are fully present know how to see fully, rightly, and truthfully. Just try to keep your heart open, your mind without division or resistance, and your body not somewhere else. Practicing presence is the daily task of all mature religious and spiritual disciples. It is our very presence, open and available, that allows us to experience and participate in the life of God in the world. Beverly Lanzetta continues:

True emptiness is also an openness of being. It is an ongoing receptivity to the wonder of life. Having an ability to flow with what life offers, we are able to pass back and forth from the interior chambers where our soul and the Beloved meet into the world. Intimacy with the Divine offers a new quality of heart. The contemplative life teaches us how to sustain this openness that is natural to our natures, and how to employ spiritual disciplines to preserve and protect our vulnerability. Contemplative experience moves us from the intellectual idea of openness that we glimpse in fragments and in starts, to the meditative exercise of openness, and then to the orientation of our whole being toward surrender and receptivity.

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