The Rhythm of Gray

I sketched this view out our front window on a dense, gray day.

I find it hard to love gray. I prefer sunlight, no way around it.

But gray is an invitation. For me, it is an invitation to retreat, rest, reflect, and rejuvenate.

Gray days are “cave days”.

What is the invitation of a gray day, for you?

The Gift of Fog

I woke up to fog today. The earth is cold and the air is warm, and that is when we are socked in with fog.

Whenever I walk out into fog, I am reminded of so many times in my life when I feel like I am in a fog. These are times when the next step may be clear, but the whole path is not.

Fog also reminds me that it will lift eventually, and then I will be able to see the way ahead.

I feel like fog is an invitation to trust that the way will be revealed in good time, and that I am still on my path, even though I can’t see it.

What is foggy in your life, and what would it be like if you relaxed into it?

Quiet and Stillness

As I stood outside sketching, it began to snow.

The world became quiet, as it does when the falling snow muffles everything.

I was being invited to quiet, and stillness.

What are you being invited to?

An Ordinary Day

pond ordinary day

Today is an ordinary day in an ordinary time. It is a quiet day, and it looks like most Winter days.

There is not much color, and hardly any sound. There is a light breeze and a grey, cloud-covered sky. The snow on the ground is looking a little worn and grey and dirty.

It feels like a dull day.

As Cinnamon and I walk, my attention wanders, away from what’s around me and towards a potpourri of things that have been on my mind.

When I reach the pond, I realize that I’ve missed a chunk of the walk. I’ve been somewhere else, pondering the issues du jour.

I’m a bit sad now, because, by my lack of attention, I’ve assumed that this day has nothing to show me. By presuming that nothing is new, I’ve short-changed the gifts that might be there.

Cinnamon suddenly looks up, riveted by a milkweed seed pod that shed its seeds last fall. She thinks it is a bird. To her, there are endless new and exciting things.

bird milkweed

The pond is beginning to thaw, and there are some interesting patterns that I hadn’t noticed before. Until this moment, I hadn’t even noticed the thawing.

So I commit, again, to pay attention. Life has infinite things to show me, and I don’t want to miss them, as simple and ordinary as they might be.

What would you like to pay attention to?

 

 

Stillness and Waiting

calm night

Stillness in Winter feels different to me than in any other season. It is deeper somehow.

Everything is resting.

Everything is waiting.

I have that feeling of dormancy, a very purposeful and productive waiting.

Even the questions aren’t being answered.

I am called to just be in the stillness, to somehow just be in the stillness and the calm.

Nature knows when it is time to work, and when it is time to rest.

Something within me knows too.

What is it time for, for you?

 

 

Soft Soaking Rain

soft soaking rain fave

The rain has been falling steadily all day.

I get back from my long walk and I am soaked.

All day, before my walk, I have felt closed in, wrapped in a dark, grey sky.

I have felt challenged by the rainy day. Dark, wet days dampen my spirits.

When I was a kid, rainy days were play days. I would set up a tent with a blanket and a card table, and I would hide inside and sequester myself from the world all day.

I created Rainy Day Kits full of my favorite reading and art supplies, and I would spend the day creating stuff and reading.

I looked forward to rainy days.

Now I am wondering: what is the opportunity in rainy days? What would be different if I went with the natural invitation and rhythm of a rainy day?

Rather than a dark, rainy day being a suppression of energy, it might be about relaxing into a different kind of energy.

All around us in there are cycles in nature: inward and outward, waning and waxing, incubation and growth.

The adult version of the kid rainy play day would be an interior day, a closed-in day, a day with some time for some reflection, and play, and nourishment.

What if I trusted these cycles, and went with them?

I’m curious about what effect it would have on my work, if I honored the natural cycles of waxing and waning.

What are rainy days inviting you to?

Rhythms of Nature

winter 2015 one

Today was an inside day. I had a huge number of chores to do, and – very unusually – we had some winter sun. As the sun streamed through the windows on the south side of the house, it energized me.

I was like the Energizer Bunny for a few hours.

I took a walk in the morning, but after that, I was sequestered inside the house for the rest of the day. By this nightfall, I was feeling a little off balance. I realized that I had lost touch with the rhythms of nature. This organic ebb and flow of time in the day is what usually sets the rhythm for my day.

In the winter, I awaken around sunrise, so I join with nature in awakening to a new day.

At midday, when the sun is at its zenith, I usually take a break from my work and walk the dogs. This gives me a sense of the fullness of the day, and of things coming to fruition. Energy is heightened, and nature is busy.

Just before sunset, I walk the dogs again, so that I am in touch with the ending of the day, when nature has a sense of closure for the day. Time feels like it is slowing down, and closing in, as the darkness falls.

More and more, I am allowing myself to align with this natural daily rhythm. This feels really good to me, and very respectful of my physical nature. I have a sense of going with the flow when I give this to myself.

As I went out at dusk tonight, there was a doe in the yard. When she saw my dog Cinnamon, she bounded off into the woods.

I envy the animals sometimes, because I feel like they follow a more natural rhythm than we humans do. In winter, my body wants to slow down at sunset, but I often push on. I’ve been trained to work later than 4:30 pm, and I hear my own sense of responsibility calling to me.

Tonight, I went back in the house and continued to work after sunset, thinking all the while of the doe, whom I imagined was finding a place to bed down for the night. And I wondered what it would be like to live more in alignment with these daily and seasonal rhythms, that which my body seems to want.

At this time of year, at this latitude, the span of time between sunrise and sunset is about 9 hours. That is a short day, especially for those of us in the fullness of our work lives. But still, my body wants to honor the rhythms of nature, even during this time of year.

What would it be like, for you, to live more in sync with nature’s rhythms?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stillness

fall leaf

I just stood for a moment, noticing everything around me. Something was different on my walk today.

Stillness.

For days, there has been a frisky wind blowing. November can be like that, a wind coming in and blowing out all of the remnants of Summer. A clearing, cleansing wind.

I had gotten so used to the wind that this felt strange, sort of disorienting.

It was so still that I heard a leaf hit the asphalt of the road as it dropped from the tree.

I could hear cars when they were more than a mile away down the road.

At times, I could hear nothing.

How many times in our lives do we have a moment with nothing filling it? Most of our lives are filled with ambient noise.

It reminded me of some deep winter nights, the sky a tapestry of stars, the snow falling softly. But even then, there is often the call of the Great Horned Owl, or the rustling of an animal in the woods.

I stood there, soaking it in, watching the sun sink slowly into the Western horizon. I stood there until Saturn showed itself.

How deeply we all crave silence, and stillness. It is nurturing and healing, in a way that almost nothing else is.

I didn’t realize how much I craved the stillness until I was immersed in it. Everything in my body relaxed into it. It felt like all my cells were all breathing a collective sigh.

It’s so easy to forget how much we need stillness. It had to overtake me before I realized it.

What is stillness, for you? What are the ways in which you can give yourself some stillness?

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