With all the celestial happenings of this summer, one would be hard pressed not to have great anticipation nearing the end of this cosmic tunnel and welcoming the return of lighter energy. Going into the depths of self-evaluation and introspection can be arduous and exhausting work. I for one am awaiting this end with bated breath. Cooler air brings with it a break from the heated lens of the moment both literally and figuratively.
The long, winding roads and rolling hills of this area speak to me as if the answer was always right here, waiting to be discovered. The hills say, “Lavinia, you must walk the lonely road with a beginner’s mind. No promise will be made, and the destination may never make itself known.” My hope was for some direction, a giant celestial foam finger, pointing me in the correct direction. This recent revelation is disheartening and quite intimidating.
With a sense of humor, my guardian angels have instead let me know I must walk this lonely road ahead, for as long as it takes. No final chapter has been written and no conclusion is in sight. I am acutely aware of the persistence that is now required of me. The wind is my partner, protecting, directing, sheltering and sometimes correcting me. No matter how much effort I commit to traversing the questions, I may never find the answers I seek.
Herein lies the dichotomy. The road to nowhere becomes the road to everywhere simply in bearing the footsteps of a weary seeker. It is so easy to get caught in a need to know mentality. Mysticism gently teaches once again, this simple road may be all I am given, the rest is up to me. The experiences gathered along the way become the destination. The questions become the answers.
What courage it takes to face each day with a willingness to question, seek and learn. The beginner’s mind is forever a seekers mind and one I aspire to inhabit with much commitment and vigor.
I continue to pray for protection from guardian angels as I walk into the loneliness of this eternal road, forever searching, forever seeking. Stretching on and on into oblivion, the peacefulness of this eternity is comforting, the repetition of this task daunting.
Take a few steps each day, no matter the hesitation, on your own lonely road. Let the wind walk beside you and your angels above you. I will meet you when our roads converge, be it in the near future or in the eternity of forever.
“We invent nothing, truly. We borrow and re-create. We uncover and discover. All has been given, as the
mystics say. We have only to open our eyes and hearts, to become one with that which is.”
– Henry Miller
Sitting at the base of Devils Tower in Wyoming, I feel as insignificant as one could. As important as I believe my existence to be, looking at this great monument puts things in perspective very quickly. The igneous rock making up this formation is millions of years old. These millions set aside my age, demonstrate geologic opposition placing us both in stark contrast.
Many times, I have felt out of step with the world, as if having been here before. An old soul perhaps, or maybe just with an awareness that does not allow one to get caught up in the day to day grind without considering the greater meaning. Devils Tower does not make any statements nor share any philosophical approach. Devils Tower simply is and has been for many, many years. Once again, the simplicity of existence is laid bare.
It is far too easy to get caught up in ideas, thoughts and plans. It is far too easy to forget life is so very short. It is far too easy to fall victim to illusions and supposed realities and it is far too easy to forget who we are and of whence we came.
This place is sacred and as such the energy is palpable. Without thinking, I speak with a whisper, listen closely to the wind and bow my head in gratitude and respect. This place demands a certain dignity as a powerful spiritual vortex. Native Americans have been making the pilgrimage to this tower for thousands of years around the summer solstice. I am woefully behind on this account but find myself in good company.
If there is anything to take away from this visit, it is that nothing is ever really new. Not an idea, thought, belief or otherwise. Things are only discovered as one is ready and willing to receive. It is heartening to imagine the many who have contemplated existence in this same location and feeling their energy sustains me. The wind speaks here, if one is only willing to listen.
My challenges and joys will pass as is proven by the persistence of this rock. One must not get too caught up in the worry or planning of an abbreviated life. No matter how much is done, this life will come to an end much sooner than expected. It is in the more important soul work that emphasis should be placed. Are we living a life of service and loving one another while leaving a gentle footprint on this precious planet?
Sitting here in the early morning, listening to the chorus of crickets and birds welcoming the day, I ponder what my words might accomplish. Any feeling of separateness from others is alleviated by the weight of this tower. I am just one person, one voice. When my time comes to leave this place, I pray my voice will be heard by at least one lost soul.
Spending time becoming one with all else, I move one step closer to this end by removing illusions one creates in defining a life. Leaving a small part of self on the meandering hillside below the tower, a prayerful connection is made with those who have taken this same walk before. We are one in the same, in all things.
Scars hold many secrets. Hard earned but never displayed in any sort of distinctive manner, they are often tucked away behind locked doors without keys. Scars can be hard fought, forged in territory marked by pain and hardship. A desolate landscape rarely traveled and purposely avoided. Yesterday, while driving in rural Idaho and following a very trying week, I was reminded that scars can be marks of the beautiful as well.
Just about everything that could go wrong this week did. The RV had some power issues, eventually working themselves out only after causing much undue stress. Dylan and I both got very sick from the smoke coming from the California wildfires. Not just a nuisance head cold, but full on respiratory distress. Visits to the doctor and heavy medication where required to even feel a semblance of oxygen circulating our lungs. Steroids are not a good road trip companion and to say that nerves were frayed and emotions high is a grand understatement.
Couple all of this with the looming uncertainty about exactly where and when I will find my little slice of paradise in which to ruminate, write and relax; I found myself in the most perfect of storms.
After leaving Elko and the arresting beauty of Lamoille Canyon, we came across the Hansen Bridge towering over the Snake River gorge. Nestled in the middle of vast farmlands filled with nothing but corn, hay and cattle; the bridge appeared out of nowhere with a startling presentation. Trying to find words for this natural wonder is simply impossible.
The scar, marking one of the largest floods in geologic history was nothing short of stunning. So beautiful in fact, one would be hard pressed to visualize the horrific power of the flood carving out such an enormous section of land. What remains, amid the tortuous twisting of the gorge, is a striking beauty. Set this wonder beside the spectacular strength of Lamoille Canyon, itself forged by a glacier scar, the wonder of nature in all things was exposed in the most intimate of ways.
Thinking of these places, I was struck by the metaphor within. We all have deep and painful scars, some visible with others lurking within our shadow self. My guess would be the deepest of scars, those hidden from others, are strew with rugged edges and steep plunging cliffs. It is these scars that shape use just as the gorge and canyon were shaped many millions of year ago. So very significant are the wounds responsible, that fantastic wells of strength must have been required by the natural world to overcome.
What is clear to me is that scars are absolutely necessary for growth. Without such wounds one would miss out on valuable opportunities for self-evaluation. It is only in the deepest depths of despair that walls must come down, vulnerability be exposed, and true character formed. As in the natural world, I must confess to my fair share of deeply seeded scars continually grappled with. Looking down at the Snake River gorge and walking in Lamoille Canyon, it is evident this grappling will continue indefinitely, and I have to be okay with this process.
Quietly, I thanked all that had come before, both the darkness and the light, allowing me to forge my own gorges and canyons. Without wounds, I would not fully understand pain, happiness, grief or wonder. Blessing each and every one of my scars, both seen and unseen, I silently said a prayer of acceptance for everything I am and everything I am not. This week has provided much fodder for growth, revealing the most sensitive edges of my innermost fears, yet I remain steadfast in my commitment to live as completely as possible, scars and all.
Sun and moon dance together, with no need to defend
Silence surrenders as the silhouette of a moon remains
Softy the wind speaks, all else abstains.
-Lavinia Busch, 2018
I can breathe once again. My soul feels the weight of all that is heavy being lifted and my heart sings with joy. It is one thing to proclaim a letting go of unnecessary obligations, yet quite another in practice. The logistics of this transformation have been suffocating and at times so confounding I thought myself crazy.
Now, a few days after setting down the road of the new, I sit here typing in a place of arrested beauty rather than decay. Nestled between Mono Valley and the vast emptiness of Western Nevada is a place that has ushered in a serenity long in the making. In what can only be labeled an old dilapidated ghost town resides nourishing hot springs for weary souls. The geothermal activity that fuels these deep wells results in a healing tonic of mineral water, fresh air, open valleys, mountain views and a quiet reserved only for the most spiritual of places.
As the sun set in the evening, the heat of the road and the long day of travel melted away. Hypnotized by a crackling fire and a chorus of crickets, the warm water lapped against my skin with a smooth touch. Clothing is optional in this place and as one might expect, I have not been fully dressed since I arrived. The weight of conforming has been lifted and my skin is breathing a deep sigh of relief.
“I, the fiery life of divine essence, am aflame beyond the beauty of the meadows, I gleam in the waters, and I burn in the sun, moon, and stars …. I awaken everything to life.”
~Hildergard of Bingen. (11th century)
Absolutely nothing brings one closer to self than communing with the natural world on its own terms. This place has settled my anxious mind and soothed my restless heart. Quite a feat given the preoccupations of late. I hear the wind speaking to me as if to say, “Breathe in, breathe out…you belong here.” The trees seem to hug me as they gently sway in the softness of this system.
After a restful night, I begin the morning by floating in the hot tub listening to the rustling leaves as the sun stretched its rays between the branches. The most glorious natural piece of art appears as the light dances among all else, a symphony of spectacular beauty. I could stay in this place forever, if only the world could stop the constant beckoning of the busy. The hot springs have been rejuvenating in reminding me of this connection. The trees do not compete to see who has the strongest and best-looking branches…they just grow. I too must remember, I am enough simply because I exist. My life has no binding rules, expectations or constraints unless I allow them.
Just as in the natural world, I must continue to forge a balance between obstacles and my true self. The trees are confronted by all types of elements, yet they continue to thrive by stretching their limbs to an ever-clear blue sky. Each one is beautifully unique and impressively resilient. I leave this place knowing how important resilience will be moving forward. Let the trees be my inspiration and my salvation. Listening to the wind speak among a gallery of natural wonders, the message is clear. Breathe…just breathe.
Life is funny. Everyone hopes to be seen in some small way. Moving through life feeling invisible is such a state of separateness, debilitating to both heart and soul. The dichotomy being we are all “seen” each and every day just by being ourselves. Lest we forget when dwelling in the space of obscurity, being here right now is profound and creates a spectacular energy. We are all a bit of magic, pixie dust, elemental and soulful. Our desire to be “seen” has already come to pass simply by being in this moment. There is nothing left to be gained, we are given all we need and will ever need.
It is so very easy to forget what a miracle it is to live this very human experience. How fortunate that yet another day of a messy and unpredictable life is upon us. Many leave this world far too early, a sober reminder of the value of life despite the many peculiar and sometimes unforgiving detours it may take.
“If a man is to live, he must be all alive, body, soul, mind, heart, spirit.”
― Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude
How do we best live with this knowing? I believe the only way to honor this universal connectivity is to be true to self and share this truth with a loving heart. Living in a modern and fast paced world, the simplicity of this becomes blurred in the busyness of a task-oriented lifestyle. The ease in which we forget our magic is astonishing. As in the zombie movie trend of late, we are all the walking dead unless we stop to really “see” those around us.
“Many of us have made our world so familiar that we do not see it anymore. An interesting question to ask yourself at night is, What did I really see this day?”
― John O’Donohue, Anam Cara:
How do we see others? Stop this culture of busyness and breathe into your life. We are all wonderfully unique and a rainbow of precious personalities. I simply adore the weirdness, quirkiness and uniqueness of everyone I meet. As a subject of the human condition, it is perennially fascinating to hear stories, observe interactions and get a sense of another. Each time I do so, I learn more about myself in the process.
You see, in this magical tapestry, threads of myself are intrinsically woven within the seams of all else. I cannot help but marvel at the complexity of these interconnections. Be it the way someone catches my eye, speaks to a friend, walks to the store or holds a child close. Both the light and darkness of another have gifts of self-discovery if I choose to look closely.
Take a moment and look for the beauty in others. See the rainbows of colorful energy and honor what you see reflected back at you. Just as a mirror gives face to name, so too does the act of “seeing” another as part of self. Look for what is familiar and what is not. Remind yourself how absolutely special you are in your very own configuration. Don’t let anyone take ownership, criticize, assign blame or look down upon you as you are meant to be. Find your magic and carry it with you always. Shine brightly.
Full moons can be intense experiences for me. I feel everything ten fold and usually end up diving deep for a few days. Afterwards, I am often surprised by what I have written.
This poem reflects back on some challenging times when disappointment was a constant companion. Bringing people close calls for vulnerability. It is sometimes easier to stay somewhat isolated even though this leads to an unwelcome loneliness. My proclivity is to go to a place of solitude when in need. It was and is my sanctuary. A space in which I can process all the emotion and information being receiving, then let it go.