The Hidden Gift


I thought I was coming to the Grunewald Guild to write, but this morning, feelings of resentment arose almost instantaneously upon waking, and proceeded to unveil a perhaps even more fundamental impetus for my time away: healing.  In the spaciousness of time and place, I am learning to be with what is–and more–to make space for what is to actually be.

While looking at life’s unfolding and I realize that all of it seems to hold an antithetical invitation: either keep life going at a speed fast enough that you never have to face–truly face–the longings that tug at your soul; or, recognize that moment after moment after moment is an opportunity to slow down and pay attention.  Be it the blooming lily covered in its chromatic glory, the body stirring with desire to go outside and play (or lay down and rest), or the face of a woman curious about what you’re doing, wishing she, too, could be among the ones who create, wherever we are, there will be the presence of invitation and temptation.

This morning, the temptation was to wander aimlessly down the path of resentment, to turn against myself and side with the thoughts that desire nothing more than to shut out the light that shines upon the ones I feel resentment toward, and the one doing the resenting–me.  The invitation? To listen deeply and heed the revelation or conversation between the external happenings and the internal world that ever flows with activity. Observe it, acknowledge it, and listen for the truth longing to be known.

The world we live in is so fundamentally biased toward the external–toward the appearance of things.  And this, to our grave dismay, as Pablo Neruda spoke of brilliantly in his poem, “Keeping Quiet”:

Now we will count to twelve
and we will all keep still
for once on the face of the earth,
let’s not speak in any language;
let’s stop for a second,
and not move our arms so much.

It would be an exotic moment
without rush, without engines;
we would all be together
in a sudden strangeness.

Fishermen in the cold sea
would not harm whales
and the man gathering salt
would not look at his hurt hands.

Those who prepare green wars,
wars with gas, wars with fire,
victories with no survivors,
would put on clean clothes
and walk about with their brothers
in the shade, doing nothing.

What I want should not be confused
with total inactivity.
Life is what it is about;
I want no truck with death.

If we were not so single-minded
about keeping our lives moving,
and for once could do nothing,
perhaps a huge silence
might interrupt this sadness
of never understanding ourselves
and of threatening ourselves with death.
Perhaps the earth can teach us
as when everything seems dead
and later proves to be alive.

Now I’ll count up to twelve
and you keep quiet and I will go.

Disregard the internal workings of our hearts, and we end up being automatons swimming along in the current of the world around us.  Disregard the external happenings, and we become irrelevant, self-referential individuals. Both of these leave so very much wanting…

In less than a couple of weeks, I will pack up my bags and prepare to leave the place I have been so gifted to call home.  I will step back into normal life, though what that will entail remains to be seen. The temptation? To dive back into busy-ness and the anxious compulsion to make something of my life and time. The invitation?  To carry home the gift of contemplation.

This, I’m convinced, is the ever-present invitation: to seek out spaces that nurture our very presence of being…  And, hidden within them?  The gift of healing.

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