Sunday, February 23, 2014

What of Today?

What if this day were it? The whole life left to you wrapped up in this one last day?  For 155,000 people on the planet today will contain their moment of departure. Someday, perhaps soon, you and I will also dive into this great wandering river of souls.

I woke this morning happy and free. I woke considering the seeming finiteness of this life experience. It may sound paradoxical, but the realization that death was coming sometime in my life allowed me to be less afraid and more grateful. The first thing I mused upon waking was "What if I were to leave all of this today, say at 6 PM? What would I savor? What would I miss if there was anything left of this awareness I call "me"?

For one thing, I'd miss watching my wife. Like right now, she is outside the cabin window walking in a bathrobe, sweats and knee high mud boots. She's so beautiful. She is breathing in the silence and dew song as she walks through the pasture. I'd also miss watching her stitching prayer flags, being so content and intent. And there are other experiences: How about the feeling of warm sheets in the morning? Or the fragrant loam of the garden flowing through my fingers. I'd miss the white of this very page and smooth skin of its waiting. I'd miss the whoosh of a raven's wings weaving through the rocky headland's forest. Then there is the joy of tears when meeting the gaze of another person who sees you. The salt spray sea. I'd miss that. Or leaving on a trip early in the morning and watching the desert bring up the sun from within the hum of the car. I'd miss laying in the warm May grasses with my beloved.

This partial list is a microcosm of my life at this moment. The list meanders and grows with every precious day on earth. Holy. This life is holy. What is your list today? Study it for a moment. Do you recognize the miracle of what is breezing through your awareness? And what of the sad beauty of all that slips by, unseen, unknown, uncelebrated?

I write to you, happy. Happiness needs to be shared and celebrated... happiness being such a rare wonder nowadays. What is the meaning of sharing this life with other people, other beings? What is the meaning of our connection with each other, right here in the ethers of the internet?  Perhaps a theoretical answer is not so important. Perhaps the idea of "me" and "you" and future and past is not so relevant. All I know is that there are moments worth celebrating, perhaps all of them. And so many moments are worth sharing with those you love. I love writing to you, here, now! It's the sharing that enlivens the experience.

If you knew that 6PM was your final hour, what would you savor? What would you share? How would you share your experience? How would you listen to and see another?

Holy is this life. Precious. And sacred, the sharing at the altar of breath, the breaking of the bread or gratitude and drinking in the rich red wine of experience.


(c) Copyright Richard Sievers, February 2014, All Rights Reserved.

Monday, February 17, 2014

The Terror & Joy of Realizing Oneness with the Soul

The Rune Hagalaz: Elemental Disruption
From the Radiance Sutras*:
That space is bad,
This space is good,
The ride is rough,
Or the going is smooth,
We are thrown into suffering,
We are thrown into joy.

Beloved Soul Mate-
Find the space in the center,
The shimmering spaciousness
Encompassing all opposites.
Here the essences of creation are at play:
Earth, water, fire, air and space,
And the senses that perceive them.
The center is the dancing ground.
It's one of those weekends. We've all had them. Every effort seems to be thwarted or even repulsed. This weekend we cancelled a long needed camping trip due to thunderous winds and pelting rain. My beloved partner was sick with a cold. The new computer was on the fritz, needing a  reset. The barn leaks into the open tool boxes. Then to top it off the dogs on either side of us begin a duet in sharp staccato. Enough whining...You get the picture. You've been there. Seemingly important stuff being thrown under the bus of fate, out of your control. None of it is life threatening, but the feeling of resentment, or worse, may rear it's tentacled head.

For me, the resistance to what was/is came forward in the straining to not hear the barking dogs. I have a particular panic response to the sharp barks of dogs. For whatever reason, my pulse flashes, my thoughts turn in fast circles and I feel beside myself through the barking. The dog near the fields where I work all day has been on a tear. Hours of barking, right at me. Well, his lurching songs finally spun me into a panic last night. Then he began again at 5:40 this morning, a series stabbing surly complaints. Canines bared. It was all quite loud, at least to me.

At 6AM I put a note on the our kind neighbor's door. "Can we check-in about the barking?" I query. Fear of offending our good neighbors was knocking inside my head. I walked back down their driveway. The mist was rising just above the lemon sun. Suddenly all was a sweet silence. I was not out of my body, looking for the noise anymore. I was present.

So, I prayed the sweetness into me and back out onto the land... and to the dog. A young rabbit watched me pray from a clump of rye grass.  Then he fled. The panic from the primal barks. the fear of offending friends, the wondering if i'm inadequate, all went scampering away upon the nape of a rabbit's neck. All the shadow material flew off into the hedge, there to hide and shiver in the thickest tangle of thorns.

The Loving Spirit descended and said "They are all Me: the neighbor, the snarl, the staccato stutter of sunless sounds, the bent man called by your name, the rabbit in the beauty, the fear itself... All Me."

"Hmm." I replied. "I still feel the weight of this world and the meanness of struggle. I still feel the collective loss of our world at large: the cutting remarks, the stupid wars, the cowardly killing with words, even the loneliness of God walking on a country lane."  Yes, God walking back home with a fearful man. With me! The Fear itself, like an element of silent sky came crashing through the darkness and into the dawn. Then it dissipated for luxurious moments. Enlightenment... for moments.

Whatever the struggle, it's just another experience. Joy comes wrapped in every guise possible, even in the voices barking from the dark woodland, or the worries spun around a sleepless night.


* The Radiance Sutras Are an ancient yogic text. The title roughly means "The terror and joy of realizing oneness with the soul." There is a nice little translation of the Sutras by Lorin Roche, forward by Shiva Rea.

(c) Copyright Richard Sievers, February 2014, All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Letter to My Daughter

A Sunflower for the Strong Women in My Life

This is an open letter to the regrets, rejections and longings that roam out in the world of the imagination. It is especially aimed at those regrets rising from decisions to turn away from someone you have loved... and later regretted.
For all of those that have ignored the hard and joyful paths that the heart has called from, to all those that have turned away from a love instead of claiming their inheritance as a human being, to all those that have listened more to their fears instead of their wonder, I write this letter. 
On a personal side I write this letter to someone I let go of, someone I turned away from so many years ago. Yet my heart never hardened in that fateful choice. I write to someone I miss and have never known. I hope this letter reaches you dear one of mine. This is the only way I have to get it to you.
I also hope that this inspires other readers to view and transmute their regrets before this precious time on Earth is done. Not just to wallow in the "what ifs" or to feel sad or to be self-critical. No! These modes of not dealing with regret serve no one very well. Talk to the missing and the rejected, even if only in your mind-heart. Just let the words flow. Perhaps there is wisdom within the sadness. Perhaps the regret can be transformed and become a flame in the heart, allowing you to live in service, humility and freedom.

My Letter:

Hello Daughter,

All these years. All the passing years without you. You are twenty-two years old now. Are you out there? Sweet woman-child, I wish I would have reached out and cared for you, took you in, been your father. Daughter of mine, are you gone forever? What sadness to never have known your smile, the curve of your fingers, the stars in your tears. Are there are so many tears between us?
Sometimes, in the dead of night, I hear a young woman’s voice whispering my name. Sometimes I see tracks in the snow outside my window that were not there before. Sometimes, when I am waking, the house tells me that you have just woken and are in the other room, with a beam of sun shining through your curtain. But then I get up and the house is empty.
In as many years as you have been here on Earth, I will be leaving or gone. Will I meet you in the other world? In this world, I wanted to tell you about my life: the life that courses in your veins too. I wanted to listen to your voice and to know you. But there is silence. Are you there?
How do I live my life to honor you, to rectify my inattention, to be a friend to someone sad or hungry? How do I be kind and real to everyone I meet? Who knows, I may pass you on the street. I may see hair and eyes like my grandmother’s. I may wonder and muse as you slip right on by.
I don’t have much wisdom to say. Most of the wisdom I’ve learned is hard won and drilled deep into the fiber of my bones. I “know” so little compared to the time when you first fell into this world.
All I can say is that most of the stuff you fear is not worth the energy of fearing. You will probably regret what you did not do more than what you did. Like I regretted not claiming you when I had the chance. In my ideals I feel that life is meant to be free in. Even if you are poor or lost or confused there is a place within you that is safe and joyful. You are Creator’s beautiful art, always. Don’t listen to the naysayers, the ones who have bought into hunkering down in their caves. And more than that, let go of the naysayers in your own head. I listened to those mumbling voices inside of me once, and lost you.
Daughter of mine, do you hear my voice, so far away, yet near?
Thanks for reading.

(c) Copyright on Image and Words, Richard Sievers,  February 2014, All Rights Reserved.