I have learned to plan for re-entry whenever I go away for any kind of spiritual work in a retreat or even an adventure environment. There is a contrast, and the shift of gears from, for lack of better terms, non-liner to linear can be… abrupt. Such was my day today.
I missed going to the center last week, as I was wandering around Homer, and realized that I was going to miss next week too, as I will be in southern California for my nieces wedding. Talk about contrast; Halibut Cove to Los Angeles/Orange County within a one week period.
I notice how my system, my being, responds to things. It was great to be at the Center for Spiritual Living in Santa Rosa this morning, but I was pretty clear that I was not fully there, not fully present. A huge part of me is still hanging on to, or aligned with, or longing for, or something, the feel of Alaska. But I wanted to be there, didn’t want to miss three consecutive weeks so, I went, and it was good to see some of my people.
And then I went to the grocery store on the way home. I don’t know if it was me, or if it was them, but we all were not well in synch. It’s very busy at the grocery store. I think I said I’m sorry, in my car, about three times to people – in their cars – before I got down the first parking row. It felt a bit… alien. People were driving fast, and stereos were loud. There was a clamor of energy and noise and busyness that was a bit jarring. Made me wonder if I’m starting to drive like an old man, or get cranky and move slow like one. Holy mother of God.
But I went on in and bought my three items for $43. dollars, and came on home, and man I was tired. There was a stack of mail, and a stack of e-mail, poised, waiting, and I decided that a nap sounded like just the ticket.
I’ve been at the tasks now for a few hours, and am making headway. But somewhere around the edges of my busyness there is something… still… something… patient… something that understand me and my life so well that it’s willing to wait, willing to accompany me – to church, to the grocery store, right here with me now as I wade through the tasks and doingness that is just part of my life. My awareness of that still, patient, lovely something is bigger than it was a week ago. And I find myself hoping that this expanded awareness is irrevocable, and only continues to expand, with each breath, with each passing day.
Alaska changed me. Irrevocably. I will never be the same. And for that I am profoundly grateful. And yes, I will go back. The call is too strong. Back to Alaska, or somewhere like that where those life qualities are hugely and fabulously present.
And I know too that I cannot depend on geographics to grant me access to what I experienced there; the beauty, the peace, the stillness. The reverence. The sacred. My heart is on the mountaintop, but my work is in the village. And I know that those same qualities are within me, within all life everywhere. And tonight, I believe it to be of the most urgent work to awaken that awareness, right where I am, wherever that may be. I need to find it, to know it, and to experience it, everywhere, everyday. And to share it, to point it out, to lift it up and to celebrate and love it. Even, and perhaps especially, at the parking lot at the grocery store, right here in my hometown.