Lately, life has been in winter lock-down under a permanent cloud cover. And yes, this visual metaphor speaks loudly for all that has transpired this past week. How will we survive? Clueless actually, but still, my way is this: create some healthy routines. Those Sunday to Saturday, day to day rituals, that cause you to exhale and remember your center; whatever those activities are, you need to foster and maintain a few. Hold on to those when you feel tempest-tossed.
I have been thinking about the 12th night of Christmas, that moment when following the Star of Bethlehem the Three Kings arrived at the stable bearing gifts for the baby Jesus; and this Epiphany has left me pondering not only the event, but the word itself. I recall biblical stories as interesting tales whose metaphorical interpretations can lead to spiritual growth. The word epiphany originally referred to insight through the divine, which sounds truly vital to me right now, as I look forward to this 2017, and try, with all my might, not to imbue it with a mountain of fear and river of dread. Instead, I’m calling upon the divine, shifting attention to the upcoming Feast of the Epiphany and creating a list of my own guiding stars.
A course more promising
Than a wild dedication of yourselves
To unpathed waters, undreamed shores; most certain,
To miseries enough: no hope to help you;
But, as you shake off one, to take another:
Nothing so certain as your anchors; who
Do their best office, if they can but stay you
Where you’ll be loth to be: besides, you know,
Prosperity’s the very bond of love,
Whose fresh complexion and whose heart together
Affliction alters. (“Winter’s Tale” Shakespeare)
Not sure what crazy fun you’re planning for your holiday weekend or week or day but my list is growing into a steady passion of joyful dreamy moments cascading in my mind as I drive back and forth to work. My biggest hope? Time to recover from the hustle and bustle. Time to not do anything that I have to. Now that sounds like a Happy Holiday!
Her voice broke into my dream state like a prophetic warning. My eyes opened to an empty bed and a racing mind. Did I sleep through the alarm? Was there something worse awaiting me? As tempting as it was to languish in drowsiness, I pulled myself awake. She called my name again.
“Do you need me?” I managed.
“Can you come down stairs? Come down right now? The cellar is flooded.”
A goal. A destination. A purpose. Life is filled with markers for all of us, from birth to death we move along a continuum of time, looking for meaning. In the beginning, unconscious or conscious, we encounter a string of firsts. First word. First step. First big tumble. First day away from mommy and daddy. The list goes on and on, seeming to stretch far into the milky way with possibility. At least that is the idyllic version we all hope for in life, that doors keep opening while our drive pushes us higher and higher along our projected paths.
My students were a bit alarmed when I mentioned what a glorious Indian summer we were having this September. Yes, alarmed. They were concerned I was using a derogatory term. Perhaps they are right, but it was a term from my youth and I was only remarking on the extraordinary warm, gloriously warm, days we are experiencing. A glorious string of days that I am taking full advantage of by spending afternoons outdoors. As they sat in my classroom peering at the blue beyond the bank of windows I encouraged them to do the same once the last bell rings. Get out and breathe in the prana.
How many times have you stopped to say thank you to this spectacular earth? As I sailed along the smooth pavement and perfectly engineered bridges along the miles of bike path, I thought, how is this planet so so so so giving and available and wonderful and yet, still taken for granted? These days, these gifted days, are all opportunities to stop. Savor. Be appreciative.
Food too. Eat fresh and take advantage of seasonal delights. I carried two sweet lemons back from my last Los Angeles trip, plucked from my brother’s backyard trees, now squeezed over fresh eggs, local sausage and veggies, making for a fast and fabulous al fresco supper. A sweet lemon? Yes, there is a simplicity in such a miraculous delight.
Eat light. Eat local. Eat one ingredient foods. And bless your good fortune. Seriously great fortune if you eat half this deliciously.
Raise your glass and salute this splendid planet we inhabit. And revel in all it offers. Air. Water. Soil. Do what you can to keep it spinning without your footprint slowing it. If you have the great fortune of reveling in such a spectacular Indian summer, why not enjoy it to the very last? Let that golden orb perform its magic over your mood. Watch it sink beyond the treetops and spill into violet and crimson and never forget you are among the lucky. Never. Do let me know what Autumn joys you experience! xxoo