It’s a bit of a rough time. I just spent some time outdoors in the chill air, which I love, and got to thinking a bit about my walking meditation of last winter. I thought a little about my dreams of the labyrinth too, but sensed the ambition too great, and returned to thinking about walking meditation.
I’m not grounded at all, and my mind flits between the past (and the loss of my father some 17 years ago) and the immediate future (with Christmas and its usual parade of ghosts) and I find I don’t want to play that game anymore. I want to be here in the now, and that’s where I must begin, with the simplest of walking meditations.
We just returned from a two-day trip to see my wife’s mother in hospital. It was meaningful in so many ways, breaking a long period of estrangement, and getting to meet her as someone she didn’t want to know before. She said, “I don’t know much about you.” I found myself immediately saying, “I’m a good person.”
Funny how I reduce my life to that statement, but I’ve always tried to be good, and I’ve always had an open heart. So I find it easy to open my heart to this ailing relative I’ve never met, as I remember those last weeks with my dad in the hospital. I hope the doctors will be able to help her, and as always, I’m looking for hope because I don’t trust easily where doctors are concerned.
While I’m away, another person who has hurt me and kept me at a distance reaches out, and my love returns to the surface and I open my heart again.
Living with a wide open heart is difficult. So many people can hurt you, but I find it’s who I am, as natural as breathing. Even when I’m sick and run down and don’t have anything to give, I find I can always dig deep again and expose the vulnerable inner self that I both share and protect so fiercely.
I missed most of my doses of my new anti-depressant while I was away, but I’d say rather than feel depressed, I just feel that deep, aching experience of melancholia. It’s a feeling, and when I move from care-taking to coming back to myself, I’m glad to feel something, to know that I’m alive, and not shut down in some numb place. So many times we forget that the ability to feel is a blessing.
So while I know that people find this winter difficult to take, I’m just glad to be out there in the chill grey day, to hear the starlings and ravens and even a towhee chittering at me, taking me to task for the bird feeder that they emptied while we were away.
I read about people rushing around to do their Christmas shopping and mail off their cards, and while I know for some these are important markers of the season, I feel like my markers are stillness, reflection and meditation.
For me, Christmas is thinking about the love I’m so blessed to have, the people who have gone who are still in my heart like it was only yesterday, and the people I am opening my life to after a long period of hibernation.
I don’t have energy, strength, health or even clear thought, but I have an open heart and lots of hope, and sometimes that’s all we need to survive this life.