Ah, only got back to the Cabin two days ago, after two weeks inland: doing the Christmas and New Thing, partying, being ill, drinking whisky, smoking ciggies, eating vegan sausage rolls, catching up with friends and family, enjoying unlimited electrickery and Netflickery, drooping with central heating, floating in baths, indulging in a bit too much Facebook, pondering about the year gone by, and wondering about the year to come. Quite a lazy, hazy fortnight. Definitely in need of some sea breeze and sea-salty spittle to sting my cheeks and wake me up from my suburban slumbers.
It always takes a day and two nights, at least, to settle back into Cabinland. But today has been – still is – a fairly peachy day. I was even topless at lunchtime, collecting windfall twigs for kindling, and chasing off errant sheep – so gorgeous to feel the sunlight and sunwarmth upon my skin. I’ve reacquainted myself with my neighbours – Maggie the generally indifferent mare, the blue tits, the great tits, the robin, the blackbird, the wren, the finches. I even had a magpie visit the bird table – wow, such formidable presence and intelligence and awareness – although it flew off as soon as it heard the twitching of my nostrils through two panes of glass.
I’ve been drinking in the sea, so to speak. Oh my. It’s full moon today, and so low tide was particularly low. From my hilltop perch, I watched the waves beginning to form far out to sea, at first faint bruised lines of colour, swelling and deepening and clarifying as they approached the coast, shadow-waves lit by a low-slung sun, and then furling and quickly unfurling against the shoreline in explosions of froth and foam...
Half way down the hill, rabbits are now gambolling about in the late afternoon sun. I could be forgiven for thinking that all is well with the world.
This morning when I woke, I felt strangely vulnerable. I must have had a tense dream or two, and was slightly sweaty, and when I got up, my body felt exposed to the cold morning air. I lit the fire, pottered around, had a shower, made some breakfast – but I could feel that I was delaying my morning practice.
Because when I finally got round to it, I experienced what I feared: a sort of catching up with a sense of disconnection, like I hadn't quite put my body and soul and mind on the right way, and they were all a bit twisted and tangled. No wonder stopping still is sometimes one of the hardest of human activities. I had to really muster as much spiritual wisdom as possible to let everything just be. To allow this unease, this sense of disconnection – not to will it away or wish I was someone other than I am. To breathe my experience in. And to breathe my experience out. And to keep breathing, throughout my exercise and meditation and prayer. To keep opening to Life as it was showing up in me, not as I wanted it to be.
But this mustering of spiritual acceptance seemed to work, and by the end of my practice I felt established in an unusual peace, which has remained with me all day. It’s not always like this – I succeed in tangling the knot of self-contraction more often than I succeed in allowing it to loosen itself – but today I welcomed the knot, and felt it relax in the face of such genuine acknowledgement. There’s hope for this learner driver yet.
Truth is, I am quietly excited about the year ahead, and today somehow feels like my New Year’s Day.
I think that’s my blog for the week. Short and sweet. I did entertain ideas about writing about vulnerability, complete with Latin etymology et cetera – but then I realised those ideas were coming from a slightly pompous place. It’s a constant battle for me – between my armies of under-estimation and my armies of over-estimation. Ha! To be even vaguely realistic about oneself is quite a challenge. Say no more.
Peace between all warring factions!
Love and warmth to all knots!
Friday 10th January