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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Into the Stillness

Fall approaches- wood smoke and apple cider on her crisp breath.  She calms the excitement and activity of Summer and soothes us and woos us into a state of warm acceptance.  We feather our nests with fluffy blankets and colorful leaves.  We gather with our loved ones, sharing great meals and stories by the fire’s glowing light.  Yet we know that soon they will go back to their warm snuggly places and we will settle in for the long cold night- Alone.  We journey into the dark.

The slowing rhythm of Autumn  prepares us to encounter the great mystery of stillness.  Many of us are fearful of prolonged periods of silence and inertness.  Maybe we interpret it as isolation and make every attempt to avoid the dreadful feeling of loneliness or we fear it is simply sloth whispering seductively in our ear. 

 For many years of my life I feared being alone and still and quiet more than any shadowy nightmare.  I had no concrete explanation as to why it caused me such terror. Of course, now I know that it is in these moments of nothingness that the real work begins. 

First I will have to make the room comfortable, as to stop my body’s complaints of too cold or too hot.  I will have to find a restful spot and position to sit in that does not lead my bones to complain of aching or my muscles to rebel with spasms and knots.  There must be quiet and absolute stillness.  My undisciplined mind will seek out every sound and every shift in light and movement in an attempt to derail me from reaching a state of absolute stillness.  

 The complaints and caterwauling seem endless.   They go something like this:

Do not go quietly into that good night! Rage!  Rage against the dying of the light!”    I turn to a mantra I learned from a Sci-Fi Classic and remind myself:  “I shall not fear.   Fear is the mind killer.”

“The darkness is the realm of shadowmen and sharp-clawed monsters, that’s why you’re afraid of the dark- remember?”   “I am more powerful than can be imagined.”

“Don’t go in there, it’s no good.  You’ll have to face all the lies and bad things you’ve ever heard or said or thought!”   “Shhh, there’s nothing in the darkness but me.”

“Fine, go in there.  I warned you.  It’s going to be ugly.”  

Eventually, I accept that I am going there, straight into the heart of darkness.  I accept that every creep and creature that lives therein is merely a part of me.  I’ve crafted them from the odds and ends and bits and pieces of memories, anxieties, unspoken desires, and long forgotten dreams.   Disfigured and twisted, vile and horrific as they may be, they are parts of me.  I meet them and greet them as old friends.  As we walk along, I begin to peel off the layers of darkness.  It is slow, dirty and disturbing work.   Somewhere, deep in the bowels of every one of these monsters, there is hidden something as dear and sweet as a newly sprouted peapod.  

This is the truth that has been hidden away, this is the pristine, unblemished moment before ego or other outside influences tried to crush it.  Swaddled in the middle of monsters are the last seconds of absolute certainty, unshakable belief, and direct conscious connection to the Source.  These are the treasures in the darkness.  To me they are cocoons bursting open into brilliant luminescent butterflies.  They lead me back to knowing.  This is my path to spiritual peace- nursing beasties and birthing butterflies.

It’s autumn.  Bundle up in wooly sweaters and knee high socks.   Sip cider and eat warm candied nuts.  Stir the fire.  

And please, light a candle in the window- a beacon for a lost monster, looking for its way back home.    

~ a wyld woman called Tangee 

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