Expansion

Our June word (see 12 Words) is Expansion.

I have a core belief that as humans we naturally expand through our life experiences.

But what is different as we engage consciously with our own expansion process?

How do we do that?

What is required of us, to do that?

How do we invite expansion and open ourselves to new or greater possibilities?

How much do we choose to engage in experiences that will stretch us?

These are the questions that are currently active in me about expansion, and I don’t have many answers yet.

This month, I’m participating in an art challenge called 30 X 30 Direct Watercolor. I’ve committed to create and post a new watercolor painting every day for 30 days, without using any pencil or ink lines.

I’ve participated in a number of art challenges, most of which involve a commitment to do a specific kind of art every day, and then to share it on social media with the other participants in the challenge. I always learn and grow from these challenges. My art, and I, always seem to expand from the experience, often in ways that I cannot anticipate.

This challenge is kicking my butt because it is a much bigger challenge, for me, than its predecessors. It is also giving me seemingly endless opportunities to expand my focus and my skill as an artist, and it seems to be doing the same for the other participating artists. I am having a lot of fun with it, along with some frustrating growing pains.

It has made me think about the nature of expansion, and about our role in it.

Sometimes expansion just happens to us, as a result of our life circumstances, and we react to it.

Sometimes we make something happen, by our sheer will and determination, and we expand.

And then there are those times in life when expansion feels like pure magic: Life unfolds naturally and we respond with joy, and it all feels like a seamless and fluid dance. To me, that’s the best kind of expansion.

Curiosity is Awakening

This post is part of a series on 12 Words. Curiosity is my word for January.

I am understanding now that to me, Curiosity is awakening:

  • to things in a different way
  • to my senses, in a fuller way
  • to new possibilities
  • to things I haven’t seen before
  • to things I didn’t know about
  • to new perspectives and new paths

Curiosity is being with the unknown, with positive expectation.

The Wild Places Beyond

This is the view outside of my office window. It is an east view, so I often see the rising sun from here.

This morning my eye was drawn to the hills beyond that fence.

I was asking myself: What are the Wild Places, towards that horizon, that are waiting to be explored?

I can feel the beginnings of a need to explore some new territories.

What are the wild places that are calling to you?

Awakening

The woodpeckers have started to drum on the trees. This is what they do in the Spring, to establish their territories.

To me, the drumming of the woodpeckers symbolizes awakening.

It is one of the early signs that Nature is awakening from the deep slumber of Winter.

What is awakening in you?

Stirring

When I go out on my morning walk now, there is lots of birdsong.

The birds are beginning to stir.

What is stirring in you?

Inbetween Time

This morning, the woods are alive with large flocks of migrating Robins and Red-Winged Blackbirds. Their song fills the air, and it lifts my spirits, after months of quiet mornings.

We are in the Inbetween Time again, as the seasons begin to transition from Winter into Spring. One day there is snow, and the next, the sun is warming the earth and the bulbs are beginning to break through frozen soil.

There is a going back and forth, in these Inbetween Times.

Sometimes there is a going back and forth for us in our lives, when we are going through transitions, and this is OK, as we begin to grow in the fullness of who we are becoming.

Where, in your life, are you in the Inbetween Time?

The Inbetween Time

inbetween-time

Today it is cool, rainy, and I am shivering in the damp as I watch the leaves being blown off the trees. Yesterday was a cool sunny day, with a crisp, blue sky. The day before that, a hot, muggy wall of heat enveloped me as I walked out of the house.

We are in a transition from Summer to Fall.

We are in The Inbetween Time.

Every year, when we move into this transition time from Summer to Fall, I feel ambivalent, and, at first, a little disoriented. It always seems to me like it arrives suddenly, when I wasn’t looking.

I find myself wanting to hold onto the long days of summer, and the bright colors of growth.

I can feel the resistance in me as I am dragged into shorter days and brisk winds.

In The Inbetween Time, we are living some of the old, even though we know it is being dismantled. We can see and feel some of the promise of the new, but the details aren’t clear or sustained. The new is a wisp, rather than something we can hold onto yet.

In this time, if I let it,  Nature is teaching me how to be with uncertainty and change, how to be an explorer and an adventurer, and how to come to life with openness and curiosity.

The Inbetween Time is a powerful space of creative potential, if I can let go what I expect and where I think I am going, and instead be open to surprises and the gifts of the new season.

Most of all, I want to feel grateful for the gifts of absolute uncertainty and surprise that The Inbetween Time brings.

I want make space for what is coming, even though I don’t know what it is yet. In the last few weeks, I’ve had an instinct to clear my office, and my mind, for new possibilities.

For me, it takes faith to welcome the abyss, and to let the unknowing and the space just be, until clarity begins to form. I have to hold myself back from filling the space with what I know, in order to leave room for the unexpected. Nature gives me this faith, because Nature is a model of rhythms and cycles.

The Inbetween Time is a threshold, a suspension. It is a luminous time of transition, between what we know and what we don’t.

How do you want to be, in The Inbetween Time?

Fog and Fungi

Red Mushroom

I’m out on my morning walk with Harper, and we are immersed in a dense fog. The fog is obscuring my vision and I’m enjoying the feeling of being closed in. It feels somehow comforting.

Things seem to blur, as if in a relaxed focus, and unfamiliar shapes take the place of things that I see and know every day.

Fog invites me to slow down and savor what is right in front of me, within my limited range of view.

As a metaphor for my life, fog is a relief. I don’t have to seek clarity. It will come naturally, when the sun gets bright and the fog lifts.

Today I am also noticing lots of different kinds of wild mushrooms. There are red ones. There are tall slender ones, with narrow caps. There are short creamy ones with big wide caps.

These fungi remind me that summer is beginning to draw to a close, and that soon, Autumn will grace us with its presence. Autumn is when mushrooms are most prolific around here.

The sounds of crickets and cicadas have replaced the fullness of morning birdsong.

The days are noticeably shorter than they were a month ago, both in the morning and in the evening.

I welcome the transition from summer to autumn. I love the cooler days, and the dark green colors, turning eventually to vivid reds, yellows, and oranges.

What I don’t always welcome is the passage of time, which feels to me like it is continuing to accelerate.

The only wise response to the passage of time, for me, is to savor more.

When I bring all of my attention into the present moment, and savor something, and really behold it, time seems to stop its relentless forward march.

So I stop to savor the fog, and to behold the mushrooms, and to just appreciate life, right here in this moment. And, for just this moment, time seems to stop and widen.

What are you savoring today?

Water Under the Bridge

bridge zubiri

I haven’t written on the blog for ages. I made a commitment to myself a year or so ago that I would only share my words when I am inspired to share, rather than writing just because I haven’t written in a while.

My commitment is to be open and receptive, and what comes will come in its own timing. I wish for all of us that we live our lives in the flow, rather than pushing against it.

Speaking of flow, there’s been a lot of water under the bridge since I last wrote.

Cinn and Hamilton

Our dog Cinny passed away, after 12 years of fun, frolic, and feistiness with us. We feel so blessed that she was such a big part of our lives for so long. This picture is of Cinn with one of her favorite toys, Hamilton. Be free, sweet Cinnamon; we miss you every single day.

mandala rose

I created and led an experiential workshop called Bringing the Sacred into Everyday Life. Eight of us gathered to spend five mornings together, creating altars, walking the labyrinth, drawing mandalas, communing with nature, and painting blessing flags. It was a rich week of fun, deep sharing, and profound learning.

2016 pilgimage

I have begun another virtual pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago in Northern Spain. I feel called to be a pilgrim when I find myself in Not Knowing Land, in various aspects of my life. I have done two other virtual pilgrimages in the last five years, one on the Camino (the same route), and one to Ireland.

Being on a pilgrimage helps me remember that it is OK to Not Know, that sometimes Not Knowing is the most powerful place to be, and that all we really need to know is our next step.

At its essence, a pilgrimage is an inner journey, so it is not necessary that we actually set foot out our doors (although a real pilgrimage walk is a very powerful and luminous experience; ask anyone who’s done it).

I believe that our lives are pilgrimages, when lived consciously and with intention.

When I look back at the last few months, what I see is my commitment to pay attention to that which is precious in my life.

What is the water that has passed under your bridge, in the last 3 months?

What is precious to you?

What do you want to pay attention to?

What’s Blooming in You?

bulbs three

The garden is bursting forth with blooming bulbs. Spring, it seems, has finally arrived!

I love bulbs, for lots of reasons. They give us color when there is very little color in anything else in the garden. They’re a source of early nectar for the honey bees. They look cheerful. But, more than anything else, I love them for their ability to push up through the hard-caked, frozen ground of late winter.

These blossoms herald a changing of seasons and give us all hope for a new, robust, verdant tomorrow.

It will be a while before anything else blooms, and it will even be a few weeks before most of the trees will leaf out. In the meantime, we can be uplifted by the joy that the blooming bulbs bring.

Part of me can relate to the bulbs. Sometimes there will be a few months where things in my life feel kind of slow. There isn’t much happening creatively. It’s almost as if things needed to rest, or perhaps the next creative activity is incubating, and I just can’t see it yet.

During those times, I take heart from the bulbs. It helps me to see their cycles, and to appreciate the inevitability of their growth. All I need to do is to remember the joy I feel when I see those first green shoots starting to push out of the ground after a long, grey winter, and I remember. That we are all inherently, and naturally, creative beings.

What is blooming in you?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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