I rose early on this Earth Day.
I had hoped, as I always hope, for the sun to come rising up from the horizon and blanket the day in golden-tangerine layers. It is my very favorite time. But the early morning sky was rinsed clean. Layers of grey punctuated by a flash of brilliant white light. A silent, colorless beginning. Sigh.
The reality of my acceptance to Mineral School this summer is finally sinking in. ( You can read the press release here.
) This opportunity will provide two full weeks of uninterrupted creative time. Let that sink in. Two. Full. Weeks. Mineral School is located 30 minutes from Ashford and in the shadow of the mountain I so love, Mount Rainier. I have had a few different projects in mind for my time there, but they are suddenly up in the air. There is something I have wanted to do for years and it has found its way to the top of the list. It isn’t fourteen days worth, but it is of great personal significance and can only be accomplished with a block of time and some deep thinking.
There are no workshops. There is no structure. No committments. No expectations. I will be free to pursue the things that I am always chasing in my mind. An opportunity of a lifetime. No drone of a television, no dog walks. No painful commuting. No taunts from a garage currently holding boxes full of unnecessary things. No weeds that must be pulled, no grass that needs mowing, no laundry needing folding. And of course, the highlight, no mail to be delivered. Fourteen days free of responsibility to others. Fourteen days in my own loving care.
A gift of time. There is no measure I can think of to weigh the significance of that.
And yet despite this wonderful development, I’ve spent a number of nights lately with an altered pattern of sleep. No matter how hard I try I can’t seem to quiet my mind. I’m caught in a loop of thought that plays over and over like a record skipping on the turntable. And it is not my favorite record. Sometimes this feels like the ‘curse of creatives’. ( In fact, most creative people I know have flashes of brilliance balanced delicately against thoughts of inadequacy, or worse, no thoughts at all ) Active imaginations do not always yield wildly creative outcomes. Sometimes it’s just a tangle in there.
I’m still reading Pema Chödrön’s When Things Fall Apart. Last night I re-read a section that seemed significant the first time around that spoke straight into my
heart. Here are a few thoughts on obstacles:
“Maybe the only enemy is that we don’t like the way reality is now and therefore wish it would go away fast. But what we find as practitioners is that nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know. If we run a hundred miles an hour to the other end of the continent in order to get away from the obstacle, we find the very same problem waiting for us when we arrive. It just keeps returning with new names, forms, and manifestations until we learn whatever it has to teach us about where we are separating ourselves from reality, how we are pulling back instead of opening up, closing down instead of allowing ourselves to experience fully whatever we encounter, without hesitating or retreating into ourselves.”
Be where you are.
In a moment of wide-eyed revelation it finally made sense to me. “Being where you are” is not a place. It’s not a tether. It has no zip code. It isn’t real estate. It’s more about ‘occupying the space you occupy’. It’s about moments and being fully open and present to them as they materialize.
Not my easiest lesson, and yet, something about these all-consuming thoughts will keep showing up until I get it right. Crap. We are certainly a complex bunch.
For Earth Day, we took a beautiful drive to Flaming Geyser Park. It always feels like a big soul-quench to be outside. I think Yoda thought so too.
And finally, a nod today to the mother of a friend. She passed quietly into the unknown ‘next’ and left a beautiful legacy in her wake. Do yourself a favor and read this stunning tribute written by her daughter Gretchen. It might be one of the most beautiful pieces of writing I’ve ever read. You can find it here
Goodnight, Stellajoe. You made the world better. I was honored to meet you. Godspeed ♡