calm waters

My child,

We are in calm waters. At last or merely for now I cannot know, but for today, at least, it feels as if the storm has passed.

We cannot always, nor even often, see what is truly occurring in this world, or in our lives. What feels in the immediate to be catastrophic is often corrective; what feels destructive, creative. Try to remember this in the midst of your own turmoils and tumults- though it is during those times that it is most difficult to do so, hardest to hold to the center that knows this – hold onto Wisdom, and Love, and Trust, and the rightness of the Unfolding.

Perhaps that is why the image of being tossed in a violent storm at sea is so potent for us as human beings. (And I wonder, will this metaphor remain relevant for you?) In a storm at sea, there is nothing upon which to set our sights, upon which to get our bearings, and the waters upon which we navigat­­e are too deep to hold anchor.

In those moments, if you can, (and there is always mercy and grace, if you cannot), remember to anchor your identity not in that tiny boat, but in the ocean itself.  Remember this, if you can- that you are a part of that vastness.  Trust that you can breathe there, as you did in your mother’s salt water womb, that those waters can absorb and incorporate both your tears and the sweat of your fears. You can dive into its depths, beneath the unbridled surface of things, beneath even the swells upon which you rise and fall in more tranquil times.

Remember, my child, you are not merely the vessel. And, while the boat, in which you are journeying here, may one day be wrecked, the ocean will wash you ashore, bear you back into life, like a babe landing from those crashing waters in the arms of its mother. Let yourself be received by that Love, of which you are a part, which suffuses your very being.

But this morning the waters feel calm. Perhaps winter has finally come to our world.

What do I mean by that?

I have had the privilege of visiting true North just twice in my lifetime (thus far) during those frigid months, been awestruck by the feeling of stillness I experienced, gazing out upon, or walking across, those waters, which in the summer or autumn are so full of energy. I hadn’t realized just how much lifeforce—motion and sound– was contained in those waters until I witnessed them being stilled by winter. It felt like a sacred hand had silenced the land, rocked it to sleep, bestowed upon it, rest. No way, nor need, to climb into my boat then at all to Be One – with that Great Silence.

Winter, of course, is fleeting. And while it gives us the opportunity to enter that Great Silence during this lifetime, to remember that we are not merely our vessels, but that our humanness is simply the vehicle in which We are carried, in which we bear what is sacred in us into this Life, we must eventually climb back into those boats to continue the journey.  For that is what it means to be human too.

 As the poet David Whyte reminds us, “… to be human is to become visible while carrying what is hidden
as a gift to others…”

We are always both/and—while we are part of something much larger than ourselves, at work in the world, as humans we also require a vessel of some sort. It is perhaps the very definition of humanity.

Wreckage is always painful human experience. It fills us with angst and fear , sorrow and often despair, especially when we cannot see that Beyond.  But somehow, “in feeling our own pain and sorrow, our own ocean of tears, we come to know that ours is a shared pain and that the mystery and beauty and pain of life cannot be separated”* Again, both/and, my love. Both/and.

Life is terribly beautiful and exquisitely painful.

Birth is terribly beautiful and exquisitely painful.

Death is terribly beautiful and exquisitely painful.

We experience its Beauty when we step into the vast sacredness of the moment. We experience its pain when we enter into the intimate sacredness of the moment. And vice versa. Always vice versa.

But oh what wonders we might visit, and might be visited upon us,  as we carry that precious cargo forth.  So, when the storm has passed, Climb back into your boat, my love, and BE that bearer of light.

*quote attributed to Jack Kornfield

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