Alrighty folks, I've got another long one for ya today... Dive in if you dare! (And I hope you do dare - there are some great words from other people mixed in with my usual ramblings!)
The photograph above is of my newly established sacred nook.
In my previous home, there was a chair by the window in the living room. A big squishy comfortable chair. Next to it was a record player. Not far was a bookshelf stuffed full of books collected over two humans' high school, college and post-college lives. I used to spend my Saturday and Sunday mornings in that chair... reading, listening to music, drinking tea, watching my tiny bubble of a world go by.
I loved that space.
Its been about six months since I've had a space that feels sacred in that same way and I have really missed it. There's something really nourishing about a space like that.
Recently, my friend Bess gave me an old chair of hers (the one in the photo)... and since then I've been on a quest to create a new sacred nook for myself. Thanks to September 1st (aka moving day) I acquired a few free shelves to hold my books, records, and little treasures. And with a little nudge of the keyboard here, and a tweak of the chair angle there... VOILA! I now have a sacred nook!
"It is wise in your own life to be able to recognize and acknowledge the key thresholds: to take your time; to feel all the varieties of presence that accrue there; to listen inward with complete attention until you hear the inner voice calling you forward."
If its not obvious to all of you already, let me just say it "outloud" so that there can be no question or debate.... I am in a key threshold of my life.
Lots of change, lots of moving pieces, lots of confusion, lots of fear, lots of excitement, lots of flajlkdgjladkjalkd going on in my brain, body and heart.
This past Monday was my 27th birthday. I knew this one was gonna be a bit of a doozie for me. Nevertheless, I decided to do something rather extreme just a few days before the big day. I went and got a pretty drastic hair cut... we're talking 10+ inches chopped right off. Bye bye security blanket.
If I'm being totally honest, part of the reason why I got that haircut was because I hoped that by changing an outer layer, it would force my inner layer to say "Okay, we get it, lets move on!" -- I was hoping it would give my "inner voice" that O'Donahue talks about a little jump start.
In fact, I was pretty traumatized for about 48hrs. I cried to my cousin and said that my hair looked like a mop. Yup, a mop. I was genuinely afraid that I looked like one of The Beatles. (Please note that mid-heave I also said "this is so ridiculous, its just hair!")
I'm pretty sure my mop-top-sob-fest wasn't actually about my hair though; it was my inner layers yelling at me saying "Chill out woman! And quit trying to rush us!" But it took until my birthday morning when I read O'Donahue's blessing to even begin to realize that.
As my week unfolded, I found myself being reminded over and over again of O'Donahue's words from this week's blessing.
About a month-ish ago, I started going to this amaaaaaaazing chiropractor named Elizabeth Sobel at The Breathing Room. Initially she was helping me through a pretty nasty hip tweak, but as we've gotten to know each other, she's also become a real friend and role model.
At my appointment with her this week, she unknowingly echoed the words of John O'Donahue and reminded me to be patient. To take my time. There is no need to rush (especially with matters of the heart). She pretty much paraphrased the entire blessing this week. The synchronicity of it all gave me shivers.
The next day, in a book I am reading right now to prepare for my 500hr teacher training program coming up next February, I stumbled across a Celtic goddess named Oonagh (portrayed in the artwork to the right by David Johnson). In the description of her significance, I read the following: "Nurturing a cause...is a long-term commitment, and one that cannot be rushed. This level of devotion comes from a place of deep loving and concern. ... There is no need to worry, hurry or force things to happen."
Another O'Donahue echo.
Another day this week, I read the following words in an astrological article about the new moon that my dear friend posted online... "The seed is within itself."
So simple. Full of echoes.
And then I received this email from my incredible brother:
"I had some crazy dreams last night.
I dreamt I was a Monk of The Flame. I wore an orange robe and had a shaved head. Lesser monks wore these cool hats that were made of light weight material, with lots of points, and they would flicker around like flaming hats. Since I was one of the masters though, I didn't wear a hat.
I was a master because I had figured out how to amend other peoples perception of reality. It was well known that your perception is your reality, so in essence I could make anything happen. However, the only thing I'd use this for was teaching people how to be happy. I could teach lessons all over the world whenever I wanted, because all I had to do was make people perceive me as teaching them how to be happy, and then I would be. Basically I had figured out teleporting, except that I wasn't actually moving anywhere. I had learned that there is nothing to actually move. We see things, or hear things, or touch things, all of which are coupled to space and time. However, if you figure out how to simply skip the senses, then perception can be whatever you want. By being only in the mind, and having no senses, your reality can be anywhere, anytime, and of anything.
One day, when I was walking in a market, someone grabbed my arm and said hey, you have to meet this guy. First I met his mom and I knew she was the Virgin Mary. Not the original, but a new one. Everyone around me was smiling and knew as well. No talking, just smiling. The son was fully grown, a mixed race guy, curly hair and copper skin. When I saw him, I immediately knew it was Jesus. It wasn't like there was a God, and God had sent Jesus back. It was just the two of them, and everyone knew and was happy. At that moment, all of my life's work of approaching happiness finished. Meeting this guy that shouldn't exist in the first place, pushed me over the edge and my reality became joy. I think I achieved enlightenment in my dream.
So, I met Jesus in my dream last night, and it made me happy. Like more intensely happy than I feel like I've ever been. I woke up crying, and my entire body was buzzing. It still is. For a non-religious guy, it was really crazy."
Somehow I felt like it was (is) all connected... My haircut panic, my birthday, Elizabeth's advice, Oonagh, the new moon, my brother's buzzing, and my sacred nook. Its all tied into what John O'Donahue wrote about believing in the "primeval acceptance," about knowing that simply because we are here means that we're meant to be here. About patience, presence, trust, courage, compassion. "No threshold need be a threat, but rather an invitation and a promise."
My artwork this week is a tree of sorts... A tree and its roots... Or roots and its tree... At the center is a knot I don't know if it can technically be called a Celtic knot since I just made it up - but it certainly was inspired by Celtic knots.
A tree takes time to grow. In the right conditions, it can live a long life, steadily climbing upwards towards the sun. It needs both rain and sun, both dark and light. The roots of the tree that lie unseen underground are vital to the radiance and growth above ground. Every year it goes through drastic changes as the earth rotates on its axis. (I can't help but sing the line from the Fleetwood Mac song Landslide... "can I handle the seasons of my life...")
I don't know if there is some great energy, big thing or divine being out there somewhere that is orchestrating all these echoes in my life. But to be honest, I don't really care to know. I love the echoes, no matter what their origin. Its the echoes that keep things interesting, keep me guessing, keep me creating, keep me trusting.
So I'm not going to rush. I'm going to trust. I'm going to slow down, sit in my sacred nook, listen to records, read my book, drink tea and watch the world go by.
the great sacrament of life will remain faithful to us -
we merely need to trust."