I felt deep sadness this morning, but knew that if I got up when the alarm went off, that the day would feel better. This morning I just needed to sit though, no words just yet, and the sky was still dark…I went out to the garden. The moon was still high in the sky, showing the first signs of waning after the full moon. I crouched in the dirt in the dark, noticing that I looked like a hobo. One of those outfits where you wake up, put a coat on over your pajamas cuz it’s cold, realize that’s not going to be enough and put on fuzzy shoes, then socks that don’t quite meet the leg of my pants, and voila, young hobo.
I can’t entirely tell you why being surrounded by growing things, food, fruit, trees makes me feel grounded, but whenever I notice it I know I’m not entirely intended for the urban life. I am more myself, more balanced, more happy, more everything when my feet are in the dirt, or my shoes are in the dirt rather. Dawn is an incredible time of day, so many signs of life beginning. There were birds sitting on power lines preening, other birds began to sing. The sky lightened.
Tangent: I used to get up every weekday morning to watch the sun rise from the top of a bell tower. I had been given the keys by an old church manager when he dreamt that I would help him organize a new business. Then he left, or got fired, and nobody knew I had the keys. I would rise 20 minutes before the sun, put on all manner of warm clothes, a down jacket, snow pants, a scarf, gloves, hat, and again looking like a hobo, but with a nicer jacket, make my way with books, journal, pen and perhaps a jar of tea in hand, to the church. Unlock the door, walk through the large worn but loved hall, up the stairs to another door with a different key, go in and lock the door behind me, and then ascend three and half flights of stairs. At the top of those stairs was a large metal trap door that had to be pushed open from beneath in darkness. Once a pigeon had found it’s way in and was stuck up there. She was flying around, making a racket and scaring the shit out of me. I stood for a moment at the bottom and took a deep breath, knowing what I needed to do. I covered my face with one hand and walked quickly up the stairs opening the door in one motion as the terrified bird flew into my back and then out into the sky. Throughout the year I watched the sun rise further south, and then migrate back up. It was miraculous to see how many different ways the sun could rise, how many different types of dawns, how many different clouds lit with color…
This morning in the garden I felt that again, that peace at witnessing a moment of beginning. If you’ve ever been in a garden, especially when the soil is wet or in the morning, you’ll notice it smells sweet. Tomatoes, broccoli, spinach, lettuce, onions, garlic, limes, crab apples, lemons, chard, kale, dahlias, cempasutchil, and shrubs and trees that I don’t have names for. How incredible, that when you are in a place where food grows out of the ground, the air smells sweet. It felt like receiving the gift of the earth; when you come out to the garden, this deep aroma of sweetness waits for you. It waits to fill the pockets of your body where perhaps the innate sweetness of the day and of your true nature have not reached yet this morning. I came out and those little hurt parts, the triggered child, the rejected feeling, the deep longing for connection, they were each touched with a full loving sweetness. I laugh to remember again this grace, for all the times I’ve forgotten, then to have it dawn, and know I will forget again, and that is what makes it grace as it descends to touch you in your tender hurt parts. Rumi says “It doesn’t matter that you’ve broken your vow, a thousand times. Still come, and yet again, come.” It is a grace. The real sweetness of life…
A hummingbird looks to be collecting droplets of water off the broad deep green leaves of a squash plant, as it turns its little head its neck flashes pink. The cats are moving around in various parts of the yard and I see them in the corner of my eye. Some people pass though quickly on their way to work, out with the dog, and perhaps to take in the dawn as well.
Some sadness panged in my sides, and then some quiet, and a slow, underlying, pervading peace and acceptance.
I don’t have reason’s to be sad, sometimes it is just there. If I don’t catch my rational mind in the act, initially it will set about trying to take the feeling apart and problem solve. What happened? What’s this about? What’s wrong? Where is it coming from? Eliminate the cause, take it apart, understand it, etc. That can work, but I’m not sure how much understanding actually comes from the process. Give up, go inside of it, and feel it. It’s about accepting yourself, refusing to see pain or sadness as failure (a perspective espoused by the reigning psychiatric establishment).
Eventually through this process I find creativity, and a strong feeling of equanimity. Through sticking with it truly, not always, but most of the time, a feeling of silence develops inside that enables me to bring a level of presence to conversation that results in what feels like an incredible power to co-create in intuitive ways that flow.
Perhaps it is because I am willing to go where my feelings take me that this deeper creativity has opened up. I’ve practiced being unafraid of going inside the darkness, and even though I still am sometimes, what I’ve gained is an awareness of the spectrum of emotion. In each of those subtle feelings is a unique resonance, and I’ve learned now to feel and identify those energies in people, ideas, experiences, words, etc. For example, I’m talking to a friend about an activity about sustainability that he gave to a graduate class he teaches. While he describes it I feel in my body the resonance of openness, the grounding feeling of an experiential understanding, I feel a new tool for creation and a sense of empowerment, and a deeper awareness of the connectedness of our world. As I feel those things metaphors and words develop in my mind and I begin to describe how what he’s saying feels, honing in closer and closer until we both understand better why the activity was successful and what it did for people. I then draw outward to see how the structure of the activity engenders those things, and then some of the possible implications I see for how the lesson could be used in different situations when those are the feelings or awarenesses one is trying to evoke. And on we go to talk about these implications, other ideas, and what resonates yes, and what resonates no.
With another person I hear tightness and fear as they talk about their work situation, or a project they are trying to birth. In that closed place people’s energy will change when they talk about a solution they feel a resonance with, but perhaps their rational mind is not accepting this as a possibility. But by feeling that more negative vibration, and then following it, new options develop, new configurations emerge, and movement and creativity can flow more easily Most people want to avoid focusing on discomfort, anxiety, and fear. That is useful when it has to be, but when it’s your work, not a life threatening situation, sometimes those sensations are sign posts for something and it is unwise to ignore them.
It is accepted that accomplishment takes hard work, but it seems taken for granted or perhaps forgotten that the work of creativity and innovation comes from inside, inside the same places where we feel experiences deeply. The subtlety discovered there feels to me to be at the heart of creativity.
Why is that? In the looking at and feeling of our emotional experiences of events or ideas do we discover patterns that inspire understanding of broader systems? Do we inhabit our intuition so fully that it becomes a precision tool that we can focus where we choose? Do we simply clear from our vision what we have carried and as a consequence simply see more clearly? I don’t know.
But one of the ways this has manifested for me has been in the appreciation I receive from well established business people when we discuss and share ideas. Though I do not have a career of my own established I am finding myself surrounded by those who do, and humbly I notice they’ve begun to seek ideas, stimulation, and ways of understanding what they do from my perspective.
It’s fun and I have to say it fills me with some pride, but the feeling of being in that flow disabuses me of the thought that it is mine. I have gotten good at articulating it, and perhaps that is my gift, but the feeling is definitely of stepping into the flow of life and co-creating with others. That flow is inside of me, but I do not contain it.
I think I will start watching the sunrise again… what a beautiful, grounding experience. Thank you.