where we find stone

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The antidote to despair is not to be found in the brave attempt to cheer ourselves up with happy abstracts, but in paying a profound and courageous attention to the body and the breath, independent of our imprisoning thoughts and stories, even strangely, in paying attention to despair itself, and the way we hold it, and which we realize, was never ours to own and to hold in the first place. To see and experience despair fully in our body is to begin to see it as a necessary, seasonal visitation, and the first step in letting it have its own life, neither holding it nor moving it on before its time.

We take the first steps out of despair by taking on its full weight and coming fully to ground in our wish not to be here. We let our bodies and we let our world breathe again. In that place, strangely, despair cannot do anything but change into something else, into some other season, as it was meant to do, from the beginning. Despair is a difficult, beautiful necessary, a binding understanding between human beings caught in a fierce and difficult world where half of our experience is mediated by loss, but it is a season, a wave form passing through the body, not a prison surrounding us. A season left to itself will always move, however slowly, under its own patience, power and volition.

Refusing to despair about despair itself, we can let despair have its own natural life and take a first step onto the foundational ground of human compassion, the ability to see and understand and touch and even speak, the heartfelt grief or loss of another.   ~David Whyte

settle into that space of nuanced intention…….where do we get lost between intention and the journey?

The unknown a newborn faces upon its birth She wails in anticipation with her first breath

. . . mystery

like cacophony from geese in the sky heard during spring migration.

 

The unknown the teen confronts upon his introduction to the adult world He craves the call to independence

. . . mystery

like the feeling of wind on his face while racing downhill on his bicycle.

The unknown a betrothed embraces in a life-partner commitment Neither knows where this excitement will lead

. . . mystery

like the delight of running with abandon in an open field.

The unknown of choosing one’s life-path The final outcome beyond understanding

. . . mystery

like experiencing starlight glitter across the sky.

The unknown in accepting divine guidance Hope and trust guide the sojourn

. . . mystery

like the fulfillment of longing that was always deep within, but secret.

The unknown of letting go of the familiar Conflicting feelings create confusion

. . . mystery

like choosing between sweet and sour, both enticing.

The unknown of saying good-bye to a relationship- once loved or not Sometimes great sadness, sometimes great relief, perhaps both

. . . mystery

like sitting by a runway seeing an airplane vanish into the sky.

The unknown of relinquishment of the earthen body to its final rest A new level of living is the hope

. . . mystery

like deep sleep before awakening.

. . . mystery- The Call of the Soul

~Patricia Campbell Kowal

all is a dream

There is a beautiful rhythm of rise and fall found in every breath we take, in the rising and setting of the sun each day, in the balance between work and Sabbath time each week, in the waxing and waning of the moon each month, the flowering and releasing of the earth through her seasons, and of course the seasons of our lifetimes.
Discernment essentially means to distinguish between the life-giving and life-draining voices calling to us and learning that our lives each have their own unique rhythm.  I like to think of life as a continual process of discovery, a pilgrimage through time and space.
One of the greatest gifts of the seasons for me has been this profound insight into the nature of the world around me.  My mother died in autumn twelve years ago and those weeks following her death, when I ached with grief deeper than I had ever experienced before, I would walk among the trees.  And as autumn’s journey of letting go moved into winter, the bare winter branches, the pale glow of the sun, the long shadows all spoke to me where I was.  When the first signs of new life began to sprout I was still deep in my pilgrimage through the landscape of grief, however the fact of spring did offer me solace.  It would take another cycle of the year before I could enter into my own springtime.  And in the years since, the seasons have become a source of great wisdom for my own life.
In the monastic tradition, we follow the Hours of the day.  Dawn, day, dusk, and dark each become a prayer station inviting us into the gifts of this moment.  Over and over I am immersed in this rhythm of rise and fall.
This rhythm of rise and fall calls us to remember that time is not always linear, moving us toward an end goal. Time can also be spiral, moving us in cycles of regeneration, growth, release, and stillness.
~Christine Valters Paintner

2 thoughts on “where we find stone

  1. We so often do not understand, nor are we encouraged to see that life, as nature, has cycles, and our despairs are as natural as our joys. Even in equatorial states there is winter and summer, the sun still follows it’s ecliptic in the sky. The words in this post teach us to sit with all lessons life offers us. The is as much to learn from sadness, as there is to learn from joy …

    • Sometimes to be with change is like not being able to take a deep breath…..here we can know how big the sky really is…..how change and loss fill us up so that we can offer more to others……dream big g.f.s…..

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