Life offers so much material lately, doesn’t it? We’ve got the beauty and magic of winter solstice and Christmas. We’ve also got the dreaded tightening of the sheltering-in-place order and a new strain of the coronavirus that’s even more contagious. So much to contend with. Where do we assign our attention? Is it possible to, just for a few moments, quiet the chaos and focus all our attention on the solstice? This dark period is coming to an end. Soon we’ll be on the other side, the side where there is incremental light and brightness each day. Perhaps a season of hope is upon us, if we just cultivate the patience to wait a bit longer. I’ve been reading Sue Monk Kidd’s WHEN THE HEART WAITS: Spiritual Direction for Life’s Sacred Questions. I read a few pages every night in bed, thus making it a slow read and something that I savor. The author writes about the importance of cultivating a practice of waiting as part of our personal transformation. And she’s not talking about a boring, passive type of waiting, but a passionate and vibrantly contemplative type of waiting. She writes about how our own evolution mirrors that of a butterfly; how we begin as a caterpillar and we take time in the chrysalis before we eventually emerge (later in life) as the butterfly. She would argue that there’s a spiritual art of cocooning.
I’m going to mix metaphors here, but stay with me. She writes, “To create newness you have to cover the soul and let grace rise. You must come to the place where there’s nothing to do but brood, as God brooded over the deep, and pray and be still and trust that the holiness that ferments the galaxies is working in you too. Only wait.
“And somehow the transformation you knew would never come, that impossible plumping of fresh life and revelation, does come. It manifests itself in unseen slowness. So it would happen to me and so it will happen to all who set out to knead their pain and wounds, their hopes and hungers, into bread. Waiting is the yeasting of the human soul.”
Friends, it’s necessary for me to believe there’s something good to be had from all the difficulties & hardship we’ve endured over the last 9 months. Perhaps, with the slowing down and the contemplation we’ve arrived at some new insights. What have you learned over these many months? How has this experience shaped you? What are you waiting for? Butterflies? Bread? Or simply to dance with one another again. To wrap our arms around each other and surrender to a warm embrace. I miss you, Sweet Dancers. And I’ve got to believe the waiting, all this waiting, is leading to something bigger and brighter and better than we could have ever anticipated. What’s the harm in believing that might be true? For one thing, I’ve learned to be more grateful for the little things, the small & unexpected gestures of kindness, the basic goodness of people, the stark moments of beauty. I’m grateful for your presence in my life. I’m grateful for the dance, for this amazing community, for a healthy body that moves, for connection, for dazzling possibility.
I look forward to dancing with you tomorrow.
I’m thrilled to tell you that our own beloved Stacey will be holding the space for us and creating the soundscape. It seems like forever since Stacey has been our guide and I look forward to what she has to offer.
Here’s the link: https://www.openfloordance.org/community-dances
We begin at 9:45am.
And here’s the poem I’ve chosen to share with you. I know it might seem like a contradiction to all I’ve written above, but again, stay with me. I’m embracing the notion of “both and”. This is yet another one of Mary Oliver’s love poems to life, written in the wake of a terrible diagnosis.
THE FOURTH SIGN OF THE ZODIAC (PART 3)
I know, you never intended to be in this world. But you’re in it all the same.
So why not get started immediately.
I mean, belonging to it. There is so much to admire, to weep over.
And to write music or poems about.
Bless the feet that take you to and fro. Bless the eyes and the listening ears. Bless the tongue, the marvel of taste. Bless touching.
You could live a hundred years, it’s happened. Or not. I am speaking from the fortunate platform of many years, none of which, I think, I ever wasted. Do you need a prod? Do you need a little darkness to get you going? Let me be as urgent as a knife, then, and remind you of Keats, so single of purpose and thinking, for a while, he had a lifetime.
Dear friends, I hope this lengthy period of darkness might be a service to the soul in some way. I believe there’s much for us to learn in this period of chaos and challenge. I’m trying to stay open and curious. I hope you’re with me. We’ll get through this----together.
Sending love & squishy hugs,