moon in the desert

Last weekend we traveled to Peach Valley to experience the moon in the desert. It was gorgeous. It serves something in me deep and wordless in a different way than other experiences. Maybe it’s the quiet or the vast openness that you can see. When I arrive in the desert I can imagine vision quests that take me to the essence of myself.

Pictures do not capture the experience. . .  moon rising. sun setting.

moon in the desert
DSCN0852

 

My prayer is that you too would know and be able to access the landscapes and the experiences that feed deep aspects of your soul.

Our hike the next day was lovely, and beautiful and I’m very glad that we went early in the morning before the desert was blazing hot.

black canyon

 

 

 

And back at home, the milky oat tops are ready and the echinasea is blooming. I’m thankful and loving the summer abundance.

DSCN0834

Advertisements

balance

This morning I harvested mullein flowers for mullein oil. I gathered culinary sage, lemon balm, red clover blossoms, and a bit of chamomile all for tea – or rather for infusions (more plant material, soaked longer). The garden is so abundant; it’s almost overwhelming. It feels like such a dance – this freedom that is created by growing and making my own medicine and the dedication and consistency that is required to plant, water, tend, harvest, preserve and use the medicine.

We were thinking about going backpacking this weekend, but I panicked. Too much calling me here. I’m in the market for day-long hikes where I still get to come home and water the garden. I love the woods, but it feels like my work is here this season.

Lately, and more than usual, I feel fragments of my personality/being asking for different things. There are parts that want to stay on silent retreat in my home for weeks, parts that want to go out clubbing in the city, parts that want to stay in the woods for as long as possible, parts that want to host house parties and play music. I’m not sure how to sit in the center of all these parts and navigate what is most true for the wholeness of my being. How to give myself the nourishment being asked for without sacrificing other aspects?

Yesterday in our writing circle I wrote this:
Open the window; the howling begins. Howling and keening and dancing. I want bonfires and I want the end of self-consciousness. I want to wander in the mountains and live on berries and bark. I want to set down my pink polyester backpack and my pink polyester raincoat and strip down to my birthday suit and “c” words all about: caterwaul, careen, carbone, caper, cartwheel, chitter, crawl, and cachinnate. But there are mosquitoes and I don’t like to be hungry and I don’t know how to take down the boundaries of this technological age and let myself be taken into the woods for vision. I’m not sure what true freedom would look like or how to get there from here.

I also wrote this poemish:
Outside I say yes, sure, find.
Inside I hunker down to find a soft warm hole to slip into and sing myself lullabies.
Outside I look, or try to look, confidant, composed, alert, on top of it, present.
Inside I am dreaming of magic, of self-cleaning kitchens, Thai food ordered in, and a bed so comfortable I never have to leave.
Outside I’m getting it done, crossing if off the list.
Inside I’ve set it all aside and will spend the next ten years diving inside the sound of the willow leaves rustling against themselves.
Outside willow nubs are dropping into my lap.
Inside I am dropping up into the willow, swimming in layers of leaves. Dancing and tiptoeing my fairy feet on the branches. Catching a ride on the cottonwood fluffs and allowing myself to be taken by the wind over to the next horizion.
Outside I wake, I eat, I bathe, I sleep.
Inside mostly I breathe. The heart beats. And this is enough to fill my whole universe for eternity.
Breath. Pulse. Here.

nothingness

Reflected in my computer monitor is my face, behind that the blue and white of the sky and the green of the apple trees. The scene is nearly distracting in its realness and clarity. Human, sky, clouds, trees. She makes faces at me. Smiles. Sighs. Focuses beyond the image to the words.

In my reports on gardening and being an aspiring herbalist I have this exercise – take an herb in your mouth – start with plants you know to be edible – and eat it. Name three words that come time mind. Basil for example brings to mind: cooling, clarifying and present.

Yesterday I sat with Jeannie Zandi in satsang. I highly recommend it; you can find out more here: www.jeanniezandi.com

As with most spiritual teachers, she recommends bringing our attention into the present moment. All of it. Here. Letting it be simple like the ocean beating against the shore. She quoted Mahatma Gandhi, “Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.” I find myself longing for and avoiding slowing down enough to actually bring my full presence to each experience. Listening even more fully.

This morning, this nothingness that I am (alas my mind is the last to know), sat in the garden and listened to the birds, felt the wind, watched the grass and leaves moving. Then, tried to figure out if I’m going backpacking next weekend or not. Found lots of conflicting feelings. Cried. Ate breakfast.

A habitual belief passes through: I am afraid I’m not doing enough with my life. In this moment, I can also see the other side where that is impossible, a habit of the mind to keep me from feeling this: tiredness, warmth, peace, and a touch of constriction in my belly. Nothing to do? Is it possible to trust the moment enough to stay here and see where it leads? There are those who would say, “yes.” Without ambition I will simply tend the garden and play and rest. My whole being has been calling for less doing, more sitting. I want to be cool and inspiring, but why? So I can feel good about being American? So I can justify my existence? To make me more significant than the movement of a wave on the shore? To save the world? Bless us, and bless us, we are all so afraid of being nothing.

Last night there was a thunderstorm. I lay in our tent listening to the crash of the thunder, watching the flashes of light, being thankful for dryness, feeling the bit of fear that rain brings (childhood panic of always leaving toys out because it never rains here) and snuggling against my sleeping husband. It was a very alive moment, in and out of sleep. Very sweet.

morning

It’s morning here. Cool. There were sprinkles of rain on the tarp over our tent in the night.

I notice a tenderness here in my heart. It seems like it might just be part of being human. There is so much beauty and so much sorrow in this world and all that adds up to a tender heart for me this morning.

I’ve been reading,”Finding Your Way in a Wild New World: Reclaim Your True Nature to Create the Life You Want” by Martha Beck. I highly recommend it. Instead of starting with what do you want? It starts with Wordlessness and Oneness. Teaching techniques for dropping out of the verbal mind and into the present moment and into our connection with all things. From there it asks the question – “what is wanting to move through you?” I like this version of “Creating the Life You Want” way better than some of the others people talk about. I am such a strong believer in the potency of Presence! Of course our vastness is more intelligent than our isolated personalities.

We’ve been experimenting with some of these techniques in the yoga class I’ve been teaching and that’s been lovely. I love the moving practice and dropping into the body. I love the possibility that unhelpful patterns could just melt away.

I’ve been attempting to bring more of this state into my gardening – realizing how I get caught in the “things to do,” which keeps me out of connection with with garden. It’s been sweet to slow down and offer more attention. Slow down and see what is wanting to happen next. Slow down and notice that one of the trees looks a bit wilty and be able to set a hose. Slow down and notice the miracles of flowers.

Asking the question – what would bring more joy for all beings? How can I play more? What brings me deep satisfaction and joy?

I’ll keep you posted. Today it is yoga class with Amy Williams at BIJA in Paonia – she’s so amazing. And perhaps some water somewhere. And some garden time. And some time for art.

And you?