At the intersection of global pain, midlife, children not so little anymore, work and marriage and friendship in more flow than blockage (for which I’m endlessly grateful), I find myself drawn more to slowness, to spaciousness, to real life and local connections, to less teaching and more sharing, to less words and more silence – and even more space between words. Less prose, more poetry, more song.
I scroll through Instagram, which is becoming more like Tik-Tok, and within seconds my soul shrivels and all I hear is static. I walk more in quiet and less with something in my ear, which also allows for spontaneous meetings with neighbors and a few moments of real life connection. I sit in the garden, sometimes gardening, sometimes just sitting, trusting in the enoughness of being without having to do. Inspired by Carina Lyall’s podcast called Becoming Nature and her interview with Rachel Corby on Plant Whispering, I take time to get to know these plants. Pea’s nature is quite different from kale and chard. How have I never known this…? How much we have forgotten…
I sit at the creek as often as possible, knowing that she needs me as much as I need her. She needs my song, my witnessing, my gratitude, my awe. The silent conversations I have with squirrels are often the highlight of my day. Sometimes I wonder as I watch them scamper along tree branches, “When is the last time someone sang to you?”
In our mad rush to climb and achieve and produce and generate, we have forgotten how to sing our song. It’s so simple, but the song and dance that are uniquely yours may be one of the things that saves this world. Not the grand song that millions of faceless people follow. The private one. The one that exists between you and the immediate world that shares your sidewalks and grass and the birds and trees you can see outside your windows.
My journal entries are more spacious as well; less about process and more about witness. The pages carry dreams, prayers, gratitude, art, and poetry. As such, what I’d like to share here this week is a simple poem that I wrote a few days ago. It’s a moment in time, a moment of slowness, of connection, of music, of gratitude, of purpose – again, not in the grand sense of “life purpose” that has become emblazoned laced with guilt into our psyches, but the pared-down simple, quiet purpose of tending to our gifts.
Perhaps the poem will spark something in you – some awareness of your goodness and that the simplicity that being fully you is all the world asks. I’d love to hear anything that arrives in the comments.
One more note: the line where I talk about the Omer reading is expanded upon in this week’s podcast Gathering Gold podcast episode on World Pain.
A video that my son, Asher, made:
In the Middle of Picking Oregano
In the middle of picking oregano
Grass beckons me to lie down
and when I do
she enfolds me as if she’s made of foam,
rising to meet each bend and curve
to receive this human form.
Piano melodies drift through open windows
as our son learns a new song,
notes like water cascading through the
stories of our lives.
And the gratitude for this one moment –
a bed of green below,
an endless blue dome above,
a bouquet of oregano in my left hand,
the sun burnishing beyond skin,
cat sidling close –
like warm spring breeze
The lines from yesterday’s Omer reading that Moon sister shared come back:
We must only do what we are called to do,
the things we do well,
the origin of passion.
Our only task is to tend to these domains,
not the whole world
not the places that arise from should and do not belong to me.
Water the garden of our gifts and
bring these into our aching world.
That is all.
And it is enough.
May 30th, 2022
** Music Credit: Where the Heart Is by Dan Phillipson **