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Friday, August 14, 2015

Space to Grow

It is 3:59 AM as I start writing.  I woke up about an hour and a half ago and my alarm is set to sound in an hour and six minutes. I didn't know when I woke up that I'd be up for the day. But here I am. My back is tense, a residual result of having spent the last hour and a half trying to go back to sleep and getting ever more frustrated at my mind's inability to shut off.

Then I decided to embrace my mind's workings. I haven't written in a few weeks and this time awake offers a gift, an opportunity to process all that is stirring and clearly needs attention.

First step: Go outside and look at the sky. Listen to all the creatures that make noise during the time I am usually asleep. Remember through these sights and sounds that the world is much bigger than the small space I usually pay attention to, which is too often the space of my own oh-so-limited mind. Remember that though I am small, I am nonetheless a part of this wonder; I am at once insignificant and a vital piece, intimately connected, interwoven, entangled in the All.

When I come inside, I still hear the night sounds. My windows are open since this night does not oppress with the usual heat that comes in mid-August in Kentucky. The air from outside is cool and flows through my windows. I am grateful.

Yesterday I pulled weeds in my backyard. Lots of weeds. A couple of months ago with the help of my friends and family, I tore down my deck. I have not replaced it with anything yet, so the rains of summer have encouraged life to spring from the ground my deck used to cover. The same is true for the rest of my neglected yard.


So much life has sprung up; the unwanted weeds, a corn stalk (?), as well as the plants I carefully chose to inhabit the space are (mostly) thriving.

All have plenty of space to grow and the conditions are ripe for them to reach for the sun, offering praise through their simple gifts of beauty (even some of the weeds), fragrance, and nourishment for my body.

I have some control over what happens in my yard, but I don't control the sun, the heat, the bugs or critters that come along. I plant, I tend, and I trust the rhythms of nature that are out of my control.

I have been thinking a lot of late about trust, control, and the relinquishment of (the illusion of) control.

For many years I've talked about how certain areas of my life seem to flow without my having to do much for glorious opportunities to present themselves. Other areas seem much harder and just when if feels like I'm about to enter the flow, I find myself stuck again. Of late, I've been considering why this difference occurs.

A couple months ago, I think I figured it out:

Trust.

Patience.

Space.

Openness.

In the areas that flow, I learned early on to trust the feeling that said, "Yes, this is where you must go, even if the way isn't clear yet." Sometimes the "where you must go" was cause for exhilaration, sometimes cause for anxiety, often both at the same time; that's still true.

Guided by that trust and a willingness to move slowly, I'd take a step...and another...and the path opened up and  took me to the place I knew I needed to go. Each place brought me new adventures, new growth (and growing pains), new joys, new people to love and ways to express that love. My life is rich as a result.

In the areas that haven't offered the same ease, I have been less willing to trust, more eager to take control that isn't mine to take, more likely to step ahead too quickly, impatient, only to find myself lost, alone, and confused.

It wasn't until recently that I became aware of the difference.  I have many years of habit-forming to undo. I've started the process.

As I lean into trust, like the weeds and the flowers and the vegetables and herbs, I'm finding that the space for me to grow is enough, is expanding like the vast night sky I observed tonight.

And I am accompanied. Sometimes I have been so entrenched in listening to the voices (including sometimes my own) that seek to steer me away from the path, that tell me I must move quickly or else, that I forget or ignore the constant background hum of voices that tell me I am loved, I am connected, I am not alone, ever...and that I can trust their steady presence.

This early morning I pay attention. I see the vastness and trust. I attune my ears to the songs of life that remind me of who I am and Who I am a part of.

Though I will likely find myself yawning later today, I am grateful for interrupted sleep, for the space to grow not in resentment, but in gratitude.

Gratitude.

Gratitude.

My alarm will soon sound and I will move into the regular patterns of the day Awake. 

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