Come forth into the light of things; let Nature be your teacher.

~ William Wordsworth

Believe one who knows: you will find something greater in woods than in books.

Trees and stones will teach you that which you can never learn from masters.

~ Saint Bernard de Clairvaux

Saturday, October 17, 2020

The Season and Year of Letting Go


Photo by Autumn Mott Rodeheaver on Unsplash

In this season of letting go, I feel as though we have been living in a year of letting go. That’s what 2020 has been. It’s been about clarity of vision, but this virus, Nature has been teaching us to let go.
What does it mean to let go? The best way to answer that is to look at the things we’ve had to let go of. We’ve let go of a way of life, loved ones, hopes and dreams. Though we are in the liminal space of this letting go, we do catch glimpses of what may be.
Letting go can be a momentary release or it can take months or even years. It’s not easy, but it is necessary for a new way of life and other hopes and dreams to come alive. In the case of loved ones, to let them go helps us move forward and embrace them in a new way.
Letting go is followed by a period of disorientation. It’s that stepping off the cliff into darkness I often talk about. Sometimes we wish we could hold onto the old ways and dreams until the new ones are here, but that’s not possible. Sometimes I wish it were because I don’t like the topsy-turvey feeling of not knowing, of not even seeing the next step, of feeling as though the world has been turned upside down.
But in this emptying out process, that Nature expresses so well in Autumn, allows the old to die so space is made for the new in Spring. And during the long Winter we are given time to linger in the emptiness so we may find what it is we truly want going forward. It’s important to honor the past and let it go. It serves us to hang out in this in-between time in order to let our soul’s desires to sift to the surface.

To let go is to know something else is coming. When we can finally let go, it’s because we trust ourselves, Nature, Spirit, the future. To let go is to trust Life.

If you’d like to delve into this liminal space of letting go and the dreaming that follows, sign up for Honor the Past, Dream the Future – A Seasons of the Goddess Workshop here.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

On the Edge with a Green June Beetle

Outside my window, on the faux balcony a beetle weaved in and out of the wrought iron railing. And as beetles want to do, bumped into a bar and landed on its back. The screen was jammed, and I knew I couldn’t get to it to turn it over, but then I saw that it was nearing the edge as it rocked itself back and forth trying to turn back over. I watched it get closer and closer to the edge and then it fell.

Did it manage to open its wings before it hit ground?

And then it was buzzing around the balcony again. It came over to my window and bumped into it a couple of times before landing.

Was it hurt? It stayed a long time before it began to move towards the edge in its slow, rocking way. I can’t tell you what its plan is. Soon it crawls over the edge and stays there.

We all, at this moment, sit and wait at the edge. We bumble about our lives, running into obstacles, often of our own making. Sometimes we land on our back, unable to turn over. Sometimes we need a helping hand and sometimes we get lucky and are able to move just enough to tumble over the edge where in midair, we can find our wings and rise.

And after all that, we need to take time to rest and wait before we take off again. In those quiet moments, we can begin to understand where we’ve been and where we’re going. And when we’re ready we’ll take wing again, just like the Green June Beetle on my balcony.

Saturday, July 4, 2020

The Seed - Drift and Purpose

Image by HeungSoon from Pixabay

A seed drifts by my second story window. Where will it land? Where will a new milkweed plant rise? And how many butterflies will be born from that one plant?

We can ask all these questions and still not have the answer, ever. Right now, as that seed floats on the breeze, anything is possible.

It feels as though we’re all seeds adrift, at the whim of the wind, waiting even as we’re moving through life. We feel the need to take action, but not all movement is equal and sometimes what feels like taking action is just busyness. And yet, in any movement we can learn, and grow and realize. And drifting can bring us to paths we wouldn’t have otherwise found.

Maybe drifting has its own purpose. The seed floats until it doesn’t. It may or may not take root where it lands. It may be drawn up into the air again and again. It may die before it lives.

And yet, if it does take root, if it does grow into a milkweed plant, if a butterfly lays its eggs on it and those eggs hatch and those caterpillars eat and grow and shed their caterpillarness and finally emerge as a butterfly. If all this, that butterfly will move with purpose and set in motion everything. It is driven to do what it does, to live and reproduce. And it gets carried by the breeze. It lets go.

And sometimes we let go. Life moves us and we move our lives. It’s all of a piece, so we can drift right now or we can make a plan and take action. Mostly we do both. This is how we cocreate. This is us becoming.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

We Are Wild and Divine

We can’t keep out the wild for it is embedded within us and we within it. No matter how hard we try to cover the landscape in concrete and asphalt, the wild bursts through. No matter how civilized and proper we think we are, our reptilian brain rises in the heat of the moment. Our past is ever with us, our nature is nature. The wish to rise above it only brings pain and longing.

We move through our manmade landscape as though lost. We navigate it well enough from practice, but it’s as though we are just skimming the surface and not truly living in the world we made. Our heart and whole body carry a latent memory of another way of being. But when we attempt to go back to nature, we find we are just as lost there. We are beings not at home anywhere anymore and perhaps that is why we seem bent on destroying ourselves and the planet. The only relief from this painful longing is consuming what we long for. Somehow we believe by consuming it, we’ll get back what we lost. But really all we get is a stomach ache and deeper grief.

Maybe we can find home in the eternal. But maybe all we need to do is look within and touch that sore and tender place that misses home. Perhaps we can then grieve what we have lost and in the grief finally open the door we shut long ago. It’s the door to the eternal and present moment. We can’t find our way back by tearing down the world we made or building a new one. We can only find our way by realizing the wild exists next to all that is holy within. They are one and the same. We need not have ever separated them. We are both heaven and earth walking. Dust rising and light becoming. We are life. We are wild, and we are divine. And we are free when we bring them together.

At dusk the other day, a large red-tailed hawk flew by my window. I could imagine it sailing over the valley floor here thousands of years ago as it looked for prey. I could see it gliding on thermals up from canyons. In that moment the past and present came together. In that moment the wild and divine were caught on the wing of that magnificent bird of prey. It was home and reminded me I was as well.

And then it was gone, but I captured it. I captured my feelings in words. Poetry is the bridge between the past and present for me. It’s the way through. It’s the way home.

Wings spanning ages
you grace our street
in this current era.
A shadow gliding
out of the past
becomes ever now.
Red-tailed hawk,
glorious shifter
of time and being
barely glimpsed
caught only out of
the corner of my
eye and mind.

©2019 Joanne Young Elliott