Anti-Anxiety Tool of the Week: A Space of Grace
We are so used to doing. Getting information. Making decisions. Buying this. Trying that. Given our stressful modern life, our fight-flight mechanisms get way overstimulated. And that was oh-so-true even before the pandemic.
So... just pause. Just for a moment. Take a deep breath. Allow beauty...allow peace...allow space.........allow breathing.
The Space Between
We are in the space between--after the beauty of the solstice, before we can see any increase of light. After the generosity of Christmas, before the excitement of the new year. We are immersed in darkness for many hours each day. And when light does arrive it is pale and quiet--almost horizontal.
Winter exposes the bare bones of the trees, bows down the tall grasses in my backyard. Is it trying to shackle our very hearts as well? Or is it, perhaps, offering us a chance to rest in that quiet space of in between?
I am very much in between at the moment. Lawrence and I spent yesterday packing up my Blue Heron healing arts office. So many memories. Such a major pruning. Our house is now crowded with extra chairs and a lovely but huge antique cabinet, with special pillows and blankets and small items of beauty, like pottery and empty shells from the ocean--all the elements I thought might best offer peace and a sense of safety to my clients.
I have no idea what the next step will be. Sometimes it feels like I am in the middle of winter with only a seed catalog to remind me of spring. In the dark with only hope to hold me.
Darkness can be frightening and heavy...bringing with it a bleak sense of loneliness.
But it also offers a chance to view the unique beauty of the stars. Could it be a womb as well? A place of safe and tender presence? Could this silent darkness be one of winter's gifts?
Asking us to bow like the grasses, acknowledging our frailty. Our beauty. Our own bare and basic shape. Our common humanity.
We have lived through a long, long darkness this year. For some it has been darker--much darker--than for others. Perhaps those of us who have not lost everything can let darkness awaken us. Perhaps every once in a while we can get up when the house is still and cold, forsaking the lovely warmth and comfort of the winter bed to explore a bit of starlight, within and without.
Instead of always trying to drown the dark, can we simply sit with each other in the dark light of the womb? Perhaps we'll discover that we are not alone. Perhaps we will discover we are together in our vulnerability. Perhaps we will find the One who is always with us, in darkness and in light.
Here is what Chilean poet Pablo Neruda has to say about stillness.
by Pablo Neruda (English translation by Alastair Reid)
Now we will count to twelve and we will all keep still.
For once on the face of the earth let’s not speak in any language, let’s stop for one second, and not move our arms so much.
It would be an exotic moment without rush, without engines, we would all be together in a sudden strangeness.
Fishermen in the cold sea would not harm whales and the man gathering salt would look at his hurt hands.
Those who prepare green wars, wars with gas, wars with fire, victory with no survivors, would put on clean clothes and walk about with their brothers in the shade, doing nothing.
What I want should not be confused with total inactivity. Life is what it is about; I want no truck with death.
If we were not so single-minded about keeping our lives moving, and for once could do nothing, perhaps a huge silence might interrupt this sadness of never understanding ourselves and of threatening ourselves with death. Perhaps the earth can teach us as when everything seems dead and later proves to be alive.
Now I’ll count up to twelve and you keep quiet and I will go.
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Until next time,
Candle, David Tomaseti, unSplash
Winter grasses, Julie Roth, unSplash
Winter tree and person, unknown
Snowflakes, Aaron Burden, unSplash
Feather, Javardh, unSplash
Ice crystals on window, D. Hunt