Sunday, December 13, 2009

Advent



The lists grow longer.  The energy begins to falter.  The head fills up with competing urgencies. Lost in the melee is the meaning and the magic. Peace is only a fleeting essence, an aromatic stream that wafts between the draughts of our consciousness when we grab onto a moment of stillness.  Can you remember what peace feels like?

Breathe.  Stretch those fleeting moments into focus by shedding the lists, the conflictual emotions of this time of year, which tangle mindfulness.  Let them linger long enough to lift you up above the mountain of tasks until you can touch upon the meaning of the season.  Better yet, let peace surround you in a cocoon of wonder while you prepare the way.  If its all around, you will absorb it into your pores like a much needed salve.

These are my thoughts this Sunday morning as I sit in my quiet livingroom.  It was dark when I first woke up and made myself a cup of tea.  Dark and peacefully silent. However, my initial thoughts upon waking were stirred and blurry.  I have much to do and feel swamped by my list of "to dos."

While I waited for the kettle to boil, my barefeet growing cold from the kitchen floor, I decided to take my tea into the livingroom, curl up on the couch under a blanket and simply sit in the peace.  I wanted to breathe evenly again.  It was then I remembered the meaning behind the word breath.  Spirit.  As I inhaled new air, I pictured it full of spirit.  Peace found me again.  So did my smile.

It feels like an impossible juggling act and I'm scrambling to stay on top of the heap unable to go into "autopilot" and just DO IT all!  I realized there is a boxing match happening inside me.  Its like the responsible parent and adult is duking it out with the child.  I want to chuck the lists and go off and have some fun.  But I can't.  I would become a big disappointment to myself and to others.  Responsibilities and commitments are part of life too. The problem is, they can swamp you to a point where they just feel like a heavy burden...... too massive to crawl out from under.

Not that its any different this year than previous years.  December is a busy time even if Christmas didn't fall in the middle of it. Add the preparations of "the big day" to the mix and BAM, it's mind boggling overload at a point when our bodies and souls are aching to hibernate.  I'm sure you can relate.  Balance is completely absent!  Its overwhelming. 

But, you know I think that's part of the bigger picture.  If we don't feel off kilter........if we don't feel uncomfortable and possibly stretched to our breaking point of what we can accomplish in our busy days, than I wonder if we really are pushing into changing our way of doing?  Instead of jumping into the conceived urgencies, perhaps a time away from it to breathe will fuel the energy and clear the head.  Its one way to recognize what really matters.

So I chose to breathe........ and drink tea.  In the dark.  In the quiet.  Away from my panicky lists.  I wanted to capture that peace essence wafting by and I found it in the spirit of my breathing. 

Prayer-fullness, mind-fullness....... peace. 

As we cultivate our awareness of what is on the horizon, may we find the courage to open up our sensitivities to see, hear, feel, taste and touch upon its tenderness. It is a brave and difficult thing to do.  But, if we want to experience the holiness of having our hearts and minds touched we need to breathe in the holiness of being alive.  Alive with the Spirit of  magic and wonder.

Being awake stirs deeply rooted doubts along with our foundational beliefs.  Advent allows us the opportunity to take it one step at a time.  Like the yawning stretch of a new day, when the skies grow lighter with gradual symmetry, so too does our awareness.  So too does our desire to find that child's smile, that child's sense of anticipation and excitement tucked deep inside the many layers of adult sensibilities.

The day is now upon me.  The river continues to flow........its shoreline growing thicker with ice.  The skies have a beautiful tinge of pink to them. The winds which whistled and wailed for two days have died down.  The trees are taking a rest...... their branches stoic and straight are barely moving.  A flock of black birds wingfloated upriver to a place where they spend their daylight.  The rooftops of the homes across the river from where I sit are dappled in new light.  The sun's rays are bathing the red barn which sits off to the side of the snow white field, making it glow.  It glows in new day light and reminds me of a place far far away where a miracle took place. A baby was born.  A pretty darn special One.

Preparing the way just took on a deeper meaning. 




6 comments:

Twain12 said...

beautiful words :), i hope peace will find me again someday, it eludes me right now but i love your inspirational writing

awareness said...

Twain....It's fleeting at best these days too, but I grab it when it scampers on by.

Selma said...

You always know what to say to put things into perspective for me. I am feeling quite overwhelmed at the moment and your post has given me the right kind of focus. You are such a wise person!

Gypsy said...

I loved that prargraph right at the end where you describe the dawning of a new day, a peaceful day.

It can all be so overwhelming can't it? I haven't written a single card nor bought a present and as each day dawns I panic and feel even more overwhelmed and I do nothing. We have a couple of days coming up of very hot hether so perhaps I will hibernate in the air conditioning and get on with those cards at least.

Gypsy said...

Ooops...that was supposed to say hot weather.

awareness said...

Selma...I was too! It's the reason behind writing it. I was trying to convince myself. It worked for about 3 hours and then I got all bogged down in my lists again!! Wise? I don't know about that, but recently I read that "doubt is the beginning of wisdom....." Perhaps wisdom is just down the road?? :)

Gypsy...I have my exam tonight that I have to sit and observe. I thought I'd tackle my Christmas letter then! I've made 3 attempts already....usually when I'm sitting somewhere waiting, like the Orthodontists office.... how Merry is that?? But, I havent pulled it all together. I'm trying not to get all bent out of shape. Yesterday, I decorated the house and put up the tree and it put me in the right frame of mind.
One more week and I"m off for TWO!