Saturday, December 28, 2013

Where Surrender Lives

“Be crumbled.
So wild flowers will come up where you are.
You have been stony for too many years.
Try something different.
— Rumi


After the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, today is a day for sitting in the quiet. It's a day to pull the shades on the bright sun and rest in dim light. It's a time for stillness, for alone.

The place where I'm laying my head is comforting and familiar. Sometimes my own spin outs bring me here - when the pace of life becomes too hectic and harried and everything in me demands that it.must.stop, when mind and body involuntarily shut down and I find that in order to go on I must be alone with a capital A. 

But today, today I came here of my own volition. I missed my old friend and I phoned her up, as it were, and told her I'd be stopping by and staying for as long as it takes for me to find what I'm looking for. From the sound of her voice, I could tell she was donning her knowing smile when she said what she always does: "The door is ever open. You need never tell me you're coming."

I know the way to her lovely abode quite well. (Even in my fiercest moments of resistance, when I insist I simply can't get away, don't possibly have the time or energy to go there, I know deep down I could find my way to her house on the darkest night.) It's out on the edge of everything, nestled up close to the sea, far from the noise of the city. The light is always on and the smoke from the chimney reveals the fire is never extinguished.  

The door is ever open, but it's a narrow door and only I can fit through. If I happen to bring my big pack of worries, concerns, and questions that I have grown accustomed to carrying, I have to leave it outside. It is, of course, waiting for me when I leave, but it feels at least ten pounds lighter when I pick it up.

I cross the threshold and on entering find that a piping hot cup of tea - steaming from inside my favorite chunky mug - has been set on the hearth in front of the fire-that-never-goes-out. I bring the cup to my lips and plop myself down on the large sofa strewn with fuzzy, soft, white pillows that beckon me to stay awhile. 

Surrender, the lady of the house, is a woman of a few words. I hear her humming softly in another room. She knows I'm there. She consistently knows the moment I enter her door, but she doesn't run out to meet me. For she knows that I've come here in order to meet myself

She knows her job isn't to fix anything. Lady Surrender gives me a soft place to land. She provides the space for me to come when the world around me feels scary or uncomfortable or disconcerting. She provides the narrow door, the feathered bed, and she knows enough to step away and let the magic happen.

She knows that in the midst of the quiet things have a way of reordering themselves; I have a way of reordering myself. She quietly flits about, setting the stage for the renewal to unfold - lighting candles, drawing me a bath, setting my favorite books and music on the sofa where I rest. 

I sigh and remind myself that this is always here, always waiting. I simply must bring myself. To Lady Surrender's house. 

I'm planning on visiting her a lot in the coming year. 2014 is the year of surrender. Keep the kettle on the burner, my friend. I will be warming myself by your fire more than ever.  

For more on choosing a word for the year. Visit here

Thursday, December 19, 2013

For When You are Ready to Revel

The holidays can be tricky, no? They are surrounded by so much expectation (either for the best case scenarios or the worst), and with expectation there is bound to be emotion.

My friend, Beth Morey, a fellow mama who has also known the pain of kissing a sweet baby good-bye, is hosting a series on her blog this month called Hurting for the Holidays.

I am honored to be part of the conversation going on there. So many beautiful voices have extended permission to feel the hard stuff while others are decking the halls. I am there to assure those who have known grief that there may also come a time when they are ready to rejoice. And that's okay too.

Join me? (Click the link below.)

For When You are Ready to Revel...

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Courting Desire

To live with desire, to live in the gap between what is, what could be or what we want to be is what it means to be human. All the best and worst things we do as humans happen when we are trying to close the gap.

I'm still living in the wanting, and as the days pass I'm learning how to be with it in a way I never have before. 

It's very uncomfortable to live with burning desire. In an effort to ease the longing, I get all my engines running. I drum up distractions to avoid the burning.

But last night I decided to try something different. I decided to sit in the middle of the burning, with curiosity as my companion. Together we asked, What is the nature of this desire? What does it feel like? How does it move? Is it static within me? How far do its jagged edges spread?

I felt its prickly heat rise. It's just desire, it's just pain, I told myself.

And then I fell asleep, into the most peaceful, renewing, nourishing sleep I've had in weeks.

I woke this morning and I wondered if the fire of desire had been extinguished. I waited in the quiet and felt the flickering flames begin to rise up again in my chest. Ah, it's still there.

But I laid still while it rose. I decided that today I will sit in the middle of the wanting. I won't redirect my energy away from it. I will direct my energy, my present-ness right toward the center of all that desire.

Will this decision make the burning more intense, more potent? Momentarily, yes. But in my experience the energy of the desire begins to dissipate, metabolized by my own sense of awareness, swallowed up in the vastness of my being instead of (what I've always feared) me being swallowed up by it.

Do you hear that? You will not be swallowed up by desire (or fear or grief or whatever things you run, run, run as fast as you can away from).

You don't have to tiptoe through the woods of your inner terrain, afraid of being consumed by the darkness, for though the woods are vast and expansive there exists infinitely more vastness within you. You are a living, breathing, gorgeous being. So be. Be in the desire. Be in the wanting. Be in the longing. And when the desire and wanting go away, be in the space between. Feel the feelings. Sit with them. You need not be afraid. (This is what I whispered to myself in the quiet of the morning.)

Today I will not only embrace my desire. Come here, old friend, you burning, you. I will let desire, my very own desire, embrace me. I will let myself be held by it for as long as we need to rest in each other's arms. I am big enough to stand beside it without being consumed.