Mustering the energy…
I’ve been working towards this journal entry all day, and now that the time to write has arrived I find myself anxious that I might not have the strength to make it through the piece I had intended.
For a number of days now I seem to be experiencing autonomic distress for little more than a sitting posture.
I thought it could be digestive, which it may, though the discomfort can arise without the input of food. I’ve considered the possibility that the suprapubic catheter dwelling in my abdomen may be antagonizing some corner of my bladder when I’m in an upright position. I’ve also imagined that some organ is getting pinched when I sit up.
Lying down seems to quell the discomfort rather quickly and I had contemplated such an injunction about an hour ago.
Cassandra arrived near 4 PM today, finding me in the middle of some client work and preparing to do an interview with a prospective caregiver (she didn’t work out, I was edging over my discomfort at her seeming absentmindedness when she revealed that she could probably not lift my weight – an easy way out for both of us.)
As Cassandra resettled herself into the space after nearly 4 days away – now regular for her, but after three years of working together, quite the longest we’ve been spending apart – I wrapped up the client work for the day, completed the interview, and tidied a few clerical bits.
Once we had both settled our busyness, we sat down to just breathe, smile, enjoy one another and catch up. At that point in the day the discomfort was substantial but manageable.
I deeply admired the way that she recounted her deepening spiritual practice, having recently taken on a yoga teacher training program. She spoke about her evolving relationship to the field of meditation practices, now having spent three intent years focused on one profound discipline.
As she enthusiastically shared how the new kundalini yoga discipline was working its way into her heart, she also pointed out the importance of her ongoing rigor and concentration with the path she is continuing to carve in that original focus.
I just smiled as she spoke. Cassandra has been a textbook example of the influence that kind of practice has on a person over time. Few people I know have blossomed more fully into themselves and into the world in such a short period of time.
Still getting to that hour ago… As I write, it gets a little longer back…
Cassandra asked if she could share with me a video series that was moving her. Paying more attention to her enthusiasm than to the actual title or substance of the film I happily agreed.
After a few minutes of fussing with screens, the webpage lit up and the image of the mosque expanded full-screen to occupy the wholeness of our focus.
The subject was close to my heart as the first inkling of spirituality to which I could ever place a name in my own path flickered to light… “Sufism and Spirituality” the music of the mystics! My smile spread deeper into my heart and being.
The episode was short, just 25 minutes, but left me feeling renewed and refreshed, inspired to share that feeling in this writing, particularly compounding the story I was looking to tell from yesterday as well.
Now I’m writing in spite of myself. Really I’d rather just go lay down, take a little pressure off my body, take a shower, and rest. But as you know, dear Charles, writing is work, and there is a price to pay! 😉
To quote my dear friend:
“…..playing a game of cat and mouse…’ cliche of the day!
“…..sufficient to well function….” !! How can one expect to be read 100 years from now with howlers like this?
Well, naturally, I took a break to vomit and now feel better, having spewed up a gross assortment of split infinitives, overused adverbs, foul-smelling adjectives, disintegrating cliches, unwholesome participles, dangerous gerunds, criminal pluperfects and a disgusting stench alling under the heading of ‘corporate or sales.’ (Nothing to do with your writing.)
I hope that these efforts here will rise to the value of the sweat and discomfort endured to bring them about. But enough about me… 😉
Yesterday morning as the discomfort began to set in, and let me say something about the discomfort…
It’s an expression of the autonomic nervous system reacting to some otherwise undetected distress. Blood travels, I know not where, but certainly from my brain and any sense of cognitive expansion withers. I am good for technical work, but more creative reflection requires much mitigation in this condition.
Yesterday morning, facing the decline and having wondered the day before when I might again see and feel the fullness of dear nature, I decided to break the spell of over four weeks without visitation beyond the boundaries of human habitation.
Patience and I drove east into the mountains, exit at Pine Valley, right turn and further east to the Sunrise Highway, a long winding road through our local mountain range, cresting along the northern edge expansive views to the desert floors thousands of feet below. Pine trees.
Coming from Montana and the Pacific Northwest, I suspect pine trees will live in my DNA all of the days of this life. It is the pine trees just outside my window now that called me originally to this home of over a dozen years.
Driving along this remote two-lane highway, stopping occasionally to gasp at the beauty and munch a few almonds and goji berries, we eventually came across an open gate leading to a dilapidated single lane “paved” road into the forest.
“Oh yes!” I thought, “let’s go there!”
Sailing along at a brisk pace we had to wait a mile or so to find a vista point at which to U-turn and begin our adventure.
After a brief stop at the vista, a little leg stretching for Patience and some photographs, we were on our way back and a left turn later found ourselves winding through largely untrodden territory.
The road was broken, filled with potholes and gravel, all but weeds growing up through the cracks. We wound our way out along the ridge and down through meadows and open arid pine forest.
… Must continue… Body begging for rest, in distress… Must continue… (This writing of course 😉
Off to the side of the road, up a little dirt track there was a white panel van. A few minutes later, on the other side, another. Likely campers I thought. Other than that it was just us squirrels creeping quietly along on electric motors, the Dalai Lama chanting deep and beautiful over the stereo system and out the open windows, not breaching, but adding to the stillness of this wilderness.
After making our way into closer and closer feelings of remoteness, I spotted yet another promising turn, this time from broken pavement to all dirt and just two tracks winding their way up through the trees. “Oh joy!” My heart tingling with the freedom of these open spaces.
We crept up through the trees, maybe 50 yards or 75 and came upon a small clearing with what looked to be a well-established campsite, someone’s van with chairs around and possibly an outdoor kitchen. I expected someone to emerge, noticing our approach. Indeed at this juncture there was likely not another human for miles.
This was the end of the short road as it was so we turned around and began heading back down the hill. That moment I realized I had just had a new experience. The reason the people did not come out or stir as likely as not had everything to do with the fact that our electric vehicle had not announced our presence in the vicinity, silently rolling along these dirt tracks.
Having spent much time in the woods and wilderness growing up, I was taking for granted the sound of approaching humans, and the sound I had made nearly every time I ventured into the spaces. Grumbling, growling, spitting petrol fumes, shattering stillness as we went.
There, that is the meat of it. It’s been a good couple of days despite the physical detractors. The heart joy of the Sufi musical reminded me the value of all this resilience and resourcefulness that has been living me these past many months.
This life, if I let it, is a spiritual crucible. It will shape and make of me some good for the world. Many have not lived to see the good they made, others have. I feel good today, being touched by and touching those whose paths I am graced to share.
People like Sean who offer the world new disciplines of inquiry, leaning at the edges of our heart connections to all that is. I was happy to sit with him and his forming community around his recent work on an informational call to consider the upcoming year-long training. I was honored to share that call with Faith and her young daughter today, continuing to invite one another to wider circles of embrace and loving the world.
I felt a warm connection when I noticed an old friend, Susan on the call. I had just the morning before recommended Susan’s book to Faith. I mentioned this, Faith smiled.
Finally as the day wound down, I turned to my crowdfunding page to see who else might have decided to join. I found another friend, close in heart, recent in friendship – only just a few years now – and distant in our interaction in recent times given the many compounding contexts and commitments for our attention.
Another wave, and the smile moved deeper from my face through my heart and into my hara… Gratitude. I am not alone. May it be so for all.
Alas my thank you letter that friend will have to wait for the morning as I am giving the very last of my efforts to put these words here now.
Now shower and bed and resting…
God gets to know things, we just get to ask questions…