In a crazy hopeful desire to escape the oppressive heat of June in Arizona, I packed my car with camping gear and headed due east towards a remote hill and mountain landscape in eastern New Mexico where some friends were homesteading. It wasn't alot cooler there, but there was a knowing in my bones that though there might be heat, there would also be heart, and that could make all the difference. I needed to put the "r" back into the heat I was experiencing that was melting me down.
Near the Continental Divide and the border of NM I drove through a landscape where the land yawned wide, where jagged rock teeth sliced the wind from unimaginably velvetine swaths of blonde grass. As I drove, that open mouth of silent distance invited me to ask questions that matter even with the knowing that they most often cannot be answered. There is something in all that is so much vaster than our concepts of us and mine, that demands that we swim in the deep waters of the larger questions. And the asking demands the quiet and slowly delivered pondering of those same questions.
Dowsed by smoke from a huge fire raging in wildlands to the south, I felt called to sing for the rain as I continued east. I had just driven through a charred swath that had leapt across the highway...the tracks of a previous burn on those plains.
Thirty miles later rain began to fall and I was amazed to be driving through a downpour for nearly an hour. Suddenly, the monsoons had begun in this huge open landscape and we were drenched and catchment vessels were filled to overflowing each of the following days.
Open space....be it in the gaping desert panes of land or the tumbling tundra devoid of humanity or the never ending sky from a mountain top, or in the space hollowed out in the broken open heart.... liberates us to become larger and more open ourselves.
Open space invites us to find ourselves in the niche created just for us...the place to stand that is ours alone that keeps calling us to return and to know it again.
Just standing in that space opens our eyes to create places for possibility and a perspective unrivaled by the boxed in views that so often accompany our days.
Space in time and space offered to our senses opens our minds to more.
This morning Mystery gifted me a viewing of just this notion wider than I have known through a 20 minute video that I'd like to offer to you as well. As I watched it, I felt my cells shifting....please open your space and time and cells to this provocative gift: Overview Perspective
I can’t remember when it started…I have no idea where this seed came from that sprouted in me, but somewhere back in my twenties or thirties was born some kind of strange and unbidden fascination with aloneness and the mysteries that lay within those times. I read stories and bought books a-many about human (mostly women) who chose to take time out and journey into the unexplored territories of themselves. These people went the distance…not just going in for 10 minutes, though it may have begun there, but rather they went for longer periods of 10 days…21….30…a year…3 years. Something about that captivated me. Clearly I had much to learn in this space. Isn’t it strange that it is available to every single human and yet, it is a expedition so rarely taken….at least with consciousness and intention. Of course in the spiritual traditions these stories abound if we look for them. So many teachers dwell in these remote chosen regions of focus.
The unfolding of my life continued and with it came an added attraction…that of taking alone time in the wilderness. Where exactly did this come from in me? I cannot say. It is not in my known history, but it is indeed in my ancestry, even if only known through distant and foreign stories told. It is in all of our ancient and spiritual lineages when we consider that we all come from the original peoples…the land based/nature linked tribal ones of the world. Most all of humanity came from this place of wisdom that had them always returning to their aloneness in the wilds to reflect and contemplate what lay inside, to pray for vision, and to see themselves mirrored in the world around them. Seekers abound in this world…those who ask questions of the world that are greater than what the every day visible world can answer.
In following what strangeness called me I learned how it was medicine for me…somehow I needed this even though at times I felt (and feel) myself to be an exile and that subjugated me at times to loneliness in that vast and beautiful aloneness.
The other night I dreamed of trying to guide a huge group of children into a night alone…and it was nearly impossible, in fact. The children had no exposure to such a strange idea ..and the adult helpers had perhaps less!! This ritual muscle that grows us is withering on our collective vine.
Yesterday after being with 10 other dogs and their people in a dog training class in the local park, I came home bewildered. I felt strange and could feel an emotional swell beneath my experience. I couldn’t quite identify it, except that I felt utterly disconnected from these people…AND the other dogs. In fact, we were offered no interaction with the other dogs, which of course was on purpose. But more than that… I felt a little like I was in outer-space…each human there felt like they were separate planets, orbiting in space somewhere. I felt exactly alone and with no connection with the others. They seemed to be in space with little grounding…many needing to be taught how to connect with their dogs. It was odd and my own feelings were just out of reach to me while I was there and that got in under my skin. I could feel it needling me for the rest of the evening. Where was the connection for all of us? Did it lay with these incredible creatures called dogs?
I wonder about you. I’m so curious where you are. Where is your point of connection with yourself and others? With nature and the animals? With mystery? There was so much in the dog training about focus and distraction and how to keep the animal focused on the humans. And yet, I wonder if what is more important is for we humans to live our lives with as much focus on our deeper selves rather than on the unending distractions of the world. With the so muchness of our world, have we lost the ambition to focus within? or on nature? To be curious about our connectivity inside with life. Have we lost the understanding that it is in these places that we actually find something worth living for?
In my aloneness I have found great grounds of connection at times and in times of togetherness I have felt absolutely alone. What I focus on is the way-show-er to the gifts of my relationship with Mystery.
I would love to hear from any of you reading here that would like to go further in this exploration. If you feel yourself as a lonely un-named planet spinning in some outer orbit with little conscious knowing of where you are in space or who you are or why you are here, write to me…better yet, write to YOU! We could make this a forum of connection from the loneliness of living in a world of disconnected velocity and distraction, into a kind of focused exploration.
And in addition, I invite you to take a minute today…or an hour…to sit on a rock or lie on your back under a tree and be in focused wonder at the monumental mystery of who you are and what is calling you that is beneath your busy mind.
1. Becoming Seed
2. Blooming Forth