Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Being Home

Sitting at home reading, I paused to stretch for a moment and thought, "Ah, it's good to be back home." The thought startled me because, well- because I haven't travelled anywhere. And clearer than the thought was the feeling- that feeling you get after a long trip. No matter how well the trip has gone there is a lovely letting go when you return home and sink into the scent of familiar rooms, notice the way the late afternoon light brings out the dark wood grain of the tabletop, the way your bed feels warm and welcoming.

I'm curious about this feeling- why it arises now, in what way I have perhaps wandered from my "home" - inner or outer. If you've read any of my writing you know that I have faith in our deepest longing. And perhaps all soul longing could be described as wanting to go home- to ourselves; to a sense of belonging; to knowing our own belovedness and feeling the presence of the Beloved that never ceases to reach for us.

I don't know what made this feeling arise when it did, but I do know that we don't earn our homecoming- it is a gift, grace, unearned and unconditional. For reasons I do not understand, in that moment, as I set my book aside and sat quietly I became available to something that is possibly always there. And for this, I am deeply grateful. ~Oriah

The wonderful photos of Karen Davis at Open Door Dreaming always remind me that this earth is my home.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Bearing The Unbearable

My dear friend, Peter, who recently lost his wife, Diana (also a friend,) sent me this quote. It takes my breath away with its honesty about the hardest moments in a human life:"To have finally dealt with suffering is to consume it into yourself. Which means you have to, with eyes open, be able to keep your heart open in hell. You have to look at what is, and say 'Yeah, Right.' And what it involves is bearing the unbearable. And in a way, who you *think* you are can’t do it. Who you *really* are, can do it. So that who you think you are has to die in the process.~ Ram Dass

For myself, in the worst moments my only hope of doing this comes when I can be very still and drop into a sense of being held by a Sacred Presence that is larger than and yet within all that is. My willingness to even try is encouraged by the incredible resilience I have seen in others who have borne the loss of children and partners, and severe pain in body and mind. My prayers in those moments are simple- are, for myself and others, "Help," and, "Thank you." ~Oriah

Deep gratitude for this photo of a thawing lake from Karen Davis from Open Door Dreaming. It reminded me of what happens when part of the body that has frostbite (for me growing up in Northern Ontario, part of my face, and once, a few toes) thaws. It can be a painful as feeling returns, but the sensation is what lets you know it will be okay

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Finding a Way Forward Together

Sometimes, if we can be very still, eyes wide open, silencing the inner commentary for just one moment, we might see somethings we're missing.

Like the crazy beauty and unbelievable resilience of human beings,

The resurrection of the sun each morning,

How even those we oppose- those with "positions" different than our own- love their children.

Oh, I'm not hoping or wishing for endless harmony. I never really was a Kum ba ya girl.

But, I try not to protect my heart by pretending the children who are dying in the war in Syria, and schools in America, and the young indigenous man shot on a farm here in Canada are not all "our" children.

And what would we not do to protect our children?

There are times to stand up and shout, and times to be quiet and listen deeply. Of course I've sometimes gotten that wrong-  had something to say when I needed to listen; hesitated to speak up when something needed to be said, or shouted, or sung by a solitary voice or in unison by thousands.

At night as I drift into sleep something touches me- a larger Presence, the Beloved, the God whose Love I have known since always- and I know that in some way, deep at the core of Life, everything is and will be okay.

Knowing this, I can see without fear that here and now, in this shared world, there are things that are not okay, things that sacrifice children, things that we must change.

Decades of experience has eroded my certainty that I have the solutions, but deepened my conviction that we can find a way forward together. ~Oriah

Gratitude to Karen Davis at Open Door Dreaming for this image of the early morning light, illuminating the darkness.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

A Gift for You

This link to a TED talk by Valerie Kaur is my Valentine's Day gift to you. In it Valerie reminds us-"Love is more than a rush of feeling that happens to us if we are lucky. Love is sweet labour- fierce, bloody, imperfect and life-giving; a choice we make over and over again." Her stories of being a mother, a person of colour, and a civil rights lawyer help us see that the love that refuses to exclude ourselves, others and yes, even those who oppose and hurt us, is revolutionary. That love can transform our shared world. 
May it be so. ~Oriah 


Wednesday, January 31, 2018

To Love What Is Mortal

My friends, I had truly thought I would rejoin you here on Monday after my break from being on line. However, a dear friend unexpectedly died on Saturday and my heart has been fully engaged with that deep loss. I will return when I am able. The words that keep going through my mind like a mantra are those at the end of Mary Oliver's poem "In Blackwater Woods:"
"To live in this world you must be able to do three things: to love what is mortal; to hold it against your bones knowing your own life depends on it; and, when the time comes to let it go, to let it go."
May death, when it comes, remind us to live this wisdom with open hearts and minds. ~ Oriah
As always the beauty captured in the photos of Karen Davis at Open Door Dreaming slows my breathing and helps me be in the moment.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Sitting with the Silence and the Snow

I am going to take a little time off line. The body is asking to be unplugged from the world -or at least from the flow of electronic information- for a little bit, and I have learned (the hard way) not to ignore what the body needs. In the meantime, I leave you with the latest poem I have had taped to my bathroom mirror. I do this to learn poems by heart, so I can carry them with me, so I can recite them slowly to myself as I walk through the snow. ~Oriah
The Sound of Snow
She asked me how to describe the sound
of snow falling softly in the mountains.
I stood among the flurries until the tears came,
until I couldn't stop them. Not even
if I’d wanted to,
and I didn’t.
And, after a good long while, I replied:
“You must let your heart break for want of love.
You must listen carefully when it does.
Whatever it is you hear then,
that is it;
That is the sound of snow falling,
in the mountains.”
© 2014-2017/Jamie K. Reaser
From "Winter: Reflections by Snowlight"
Published by Hiraeth Press
Another beautiful photo from Karen Davis at Open Door Dreaming.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Dark Lessons, New Light

Today, is the shortest day of the year. I think of the dark as a place for rest and dreaming, but it can also be the place where we confront or clobbered by the shadow- those aspect of self and life we try to ignore or bury. 

Last week I was confronted by my own denial My insistence that I could do something beyond the physical capacity of a body with a chronic degenerative neurological disease resulted in a precipitous drop in blood pressure and an extended period of tachycardia with a heart rate around two hundred beats per minute.

Yeah. Not fun. And that was before I was informed that the situation that made my apartment uninhabitable would not be corrected for six full days.

I broke down. I knew I couldn’t do what others were telling me had to be done. I knew it was not physically possible.

I was conditioned from an early age to look and sound “fine” even when I am not. To do otherwise risked violence from my mother. My ex-husband once pointed out that I could be lying on the floor in pain, unable to walk to the bedroom, but if someone called and he put the phone in my hand, I would sound just “fine.” It’s my default setting, a survival strategy.

So, in some ways, not sounding fine- and really, it was a full tilt meltdown in the lobby of the building- was a breakthrough. In response, the kind couple who are the supers in my building went into action, offered support, and advocated on my behalf so my apartment would be habitable within one day.

Having seen my denial, the challenge is to accurately see and accept the changing limitations of my body, and still maintain my faith in the goodness of life. Sounds simple, but it’s not always easy when there is pain and immobility. Living in the present moment deepens our lives. But, people’s lives are busy and we are social animals, so we make plans- to meet for lunch, to share Christmas dinner, to take a trip. The truth is I cannot know what I will or will not be able to do tomorrow. This is simply what is.

We all have stuff to work with, and this- the disease, the unpredictability of what I will be able/unable to do, the periods of pain and prostration- this is what I have to work with.

Tomorrow the days start to get a little longer as the light returns. My prayer is to take what I have seen in the darkness with me into the growing light. And I offer that prayer for us all individually and collectively. May our eyes be open to see what is. May our hearts be open so we can hold what is with a fierce love that chooses life fully even as we refuse to look away from that which hard.

Blessings of the Solstice dear friends, Oriah

Deep graitude to Karen Davis for this photo from Open Door Dreaming I love the blaze of light coming over the horizon. May it be so in our inner and outer worlds.