In the stillness of not just rest and meditation but nature as well, I have been practicing how to expand my patience. I want all things to be known, now; I cannot stand the thought of more waiting, less certainty, further scrutiny.
My walks this autumn brought relief from wanting so much and knowing so little. A stretch in my body and soul, fresh air that felt freeing and a reprieve from the endless grief, fear, and numbness. Often times I would cry as I would walk, releasing anything and everything that had ever built up inside of me, dating back as far as you can go. It feels strange to say (words don’t come readily on how to describe it), but I felt like on these walks I was learning something about myself that I had never really known before. I tested my body, walked up hills, took different streets for a change of scenery, waved to new neighbors, and sometimes just stuck my hands in my pockets, turned off my music, and did a 20 minute stroll around the block with just my thoughts. Other days I could go for an hour, depending upon how my body felt that day, and I loved the afternoons returning home sweaty and exhausted, the cool fall air still stuck to the back of my neck.
Now that it has turned bitter cold here I haven’t had the guts to just bundle up and walk, and it feels harder to even do 10 minutes of yoga when you’re freezing and tired and just want to stay in bed all day– and the sun sets so early now. I know that movement is always better, even if it’s not a “serious” workout; I proved that to myself the other day when I felt out of sorts and did a 20 minute yoga video at home. A past wrist injury proved difficult to get me into downward dog but I still tried and when all else failed, went into child’s pose. I always feel somewhat silly when I do yoga because I still judge myself, but in the end, I know that just moving my body was a cathartic thing to do. Sometimes when you feel stagnant just getting the energy (chi) moving is a good thing.
It still amazes me, though I grew up in New England and knows the seasons, colors, and times like the back of my hand, how early the sky gets pink now. In fact, as I write this at 4:15pm a purple haze has already taken over the cold blue winter palatte, and I know that soon it will feel like 10pm, not 5pm. I dread it and do feel that I may have some kind of SAD (seasonal affective disorder), though in reality I think that most of us do.
A herd of deer dance across my backyard, and I pop up out of my writing chair so fast that my cat goes scurrying! I watch them quietly (baby in tow) prance across our lawn and cross the street. I am mesmerized just by deer.
It reminds me of a couple of weeks ago when I was driving into Boston with my Mom and a friend and all of a sudden at a red light we saw a goose looking to cross the street. It looked confused but like it was going for it, and I panicked. I am a huge lover of animals and always have been, ever since I was a little girl. Before thinking and with my Mom calling out after me I jumped out of the car and stopped traffic so that the goose could cross the road. It followed my directions like a “Make Way for Duckling” (and I was Michael the policeman) and I saw people in their cars chuckle as it watched the goose waddle its way across the busy street. It made me smile to see people being patient, respecting nature, and not honking their horns or generally looking annoyed (as most Bostonian’s generally do while driving).
I know it’s quite dangerous to just stop traffic like that, but I just couldn’t stand the thought of the poor little goose trying to cross the street on its own, for what could happen? As I herded it onto the sidewalk I could hear its family squawking (or whatever sound it is that a goose makes?) and I hoped that it would follow the path down to the water to meet them in time for dinner. However the goose looked like it wanted to cross the street back again, despite my protests, so we called the police to ask them to check on the goose and make sure that it found its family safely. In the meantime as the light turned green and we had to drive away I saw it shuffling down the sidewalk like a little old man out for its mid-day walk.
But I digress– these deer! Six of them in total, all traipsing through our yard and then into the neighbors yard, probably in search of yummy plants to eat before bedtime (it’s only 4:15pm but I assume that the doe should be getting ready for bed soon, no? Maybe it will read Make Way For Ducklings before settling in for a good nights sleep). Nature at its finest. Oh how I love the stillness of animals when they stop in their tracks, ears perked up, noses sniffing the air. I love the things that I observe when I’m really present and Kris reminds me in her nightly meditations to be thankful for even the trees, the birds, and the animals. And so I am.
I go into my sun room next, though the sun is setting, and light a candle at my meditation nook. I think about abundance, and love, about certainly and uncertainty. I think about finding a way to continue to live with the unknown of it all, separating my patience into a box marked “Things I Am Trying.” I am trying to stay positive, trying to live in the now, trying to think of all that I do have, instead of focusing on what may be lacking. “I have all that I need” (“and more”) is a loving and soothing mantra to lull yourself to sleep with.
The moon is out now, and it looks just like an advertisement for that musical “A Little Night Music,” where the moon is hanging low against a backdrop of bare branches and just utter– beautiful– winter stillness.
I see the man on the moon and it looks like he is winking at me; perhaps reminding me that I am too much in my own head, too concerned with what will be or could be, with what others think, and the funny moon reminds me of my favorite line from my favorite movie, It’s A Wonderful Life, when George Bailey looks up at the moon and then into Mary’s eyes and says, “What is it you want, Mary? What do you want? You want the moon? Just say the word and I’ll throw a lasso around it and pull it down. Hey. That’s a pretty good idea. I’ll give you the moon, Mary.
Mary: I’ll take it. Then what?
George Bailey: Well, then you can swallow it, and it’ll all dissolve, see… and the moonbeams would shoot out of your fingers and your toes and the ends of your hair…”
I think about how gorgeous it would look to have moonbeams streaming from our limbs and light and energy and hope and abundance and all things loving and beautiful.
I think about abundance because I don’t want to think about fear anymore.
I think about what spring will bring, then breathe in and remember that today– today and the funny moon– are all that we have.