Oh, what a long, dark, cold winter it has been – and not just in a literal sense. But spring always returns! The natural world awakens. We awaken. And speaking from personal experience, when that happens – after however long we’ve been unconscious or distracted – it is the most joyous return! It’s like a homecoming, and as if unseen voices are cheering us on. It’s like hearing the sound of the soul clapping or the jubilant sigh of a flower blooming. It is empowering.
Some words, sights, sounds, etc. are like flashes of awareness that (re)awaken us to the present moment like the smack of a Zen teacher’s stick. It might be just a few words in the middle of a conversation that remain with you and seem to work on you like medicine even as you sleep. I am grateful to the people and situations that remind me to lean in to the present moment when it feels as if the ground beneath me is shifting and there is no steady, stable place to stand. When the sense of loss feels nearly overwhelming.
Rather than grasp for steadiness and stability, perhaps it is better to become a river or stream in springtime. Be fluid and flow with a fresh sense of adventure.
I believe we carry inside us everything we need for this earthly journey. We just need to return to ourselves and access the wisdom and healing potential that is there. Just as the sap runs in the maple trees at this time of year, we can tap into our inner resources.
It doesn’t matter how long you were unconscious. What matters is returning – again and again – to the source of your strength and wisdom, which is always available. Befriend this moment. Befriend yourself. Be aware of what is really happening, here and now, without adding anything to it – no filters of past, future, or thought. No shoulds. Listen to the voice that arises from stillness. Listen deeply and with presence to the person in front of you rather than perceiving him or her through clouded layers of personal history.
There is nowhere to go but HERE. You don’t need to spend any money or travel far away. You don’t need to do anything but return your attention to the present moment. That’s where the road map is. It’s much like mindfulness meditation, in that it’s not about eliminating thought but rather bringing attention lovingly back to the present moment when it gets carried away by thought. In life as in mindfulness meditation, you can strengthen the habit of returning, noticing when you’re caught up in distractions or flights of fantasy so you can return to a clearer awareness of what is happening right now. There is so much power available in the present moment!
Return, return, return! Thank everyone who reminds you, everyone who guides you back. Thank circumstances that bring clarity. Thank the fall that jolted you into awareness when you hit the ground. When we have hit rock bottom, how exciting to wake up and remember – and to realize we have been dreaming!
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