This morning feels full today, in contrast to the many mostly still and almost silent ones. A steady breeze stirs the air, sweet and cool and heavy with moisture from yesterday’s mid afternoon thundershower. Prayer flags strung between fence posts, then sodden, now flutter. For a few minutes I hear birds, sparrows and chickadees chirping, crows and magpies’ hoarse and scratching, and then notice my favourite robin song is missing. Errant males must have finally found their mates.
This morning feels full today, with eager anticipation. Travel plans, vacation to-dos, home care projects, restaurant and cafes to sample and savour, friends to entertain, hopefully “al fresco” in gardens now flourishing from early spring warmth and summer rain, now flush with fragrant and heady blooms. Two whole summer months of possibility and promise.
This morning feels full today, outside and in. I finally make sense of the malaise and migraines that have weighed heavy since the first of June. Like that first peek of sunshine, the anniversary of my own leave-taking four years ago. Then I thought I knew my place. Now feeling the precarious straddling on another threshold. Then and now. Certain and uncertain. A new place, what and where?
This morning feels full today, though somewhat lighter, too.
The Way It Is
There’s a thread you follow. It goes among
things that change. But it doesn’t change.
People wonder about what you are pursuing.
You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see.
While you hold it you can’t get lost.
Tragedies happen; people get hurt
or die; and you suffer and get old.
Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.
You don’t ever let go of the thread.
This poem reminds me of a wonderful book I was invited to read when I visited Sufi friends in Cologne, Germany, four years ago today. Balancing Heaven and Earth is Jungian analyst Robert A. Johnson‘s memoir, he the author of several pithy volumes on understanding masculine and feminine psychology and romantic love, He, and She, and We. In it, Johnson refers to moments of guidance and right action where he followed the “slender threads” of his soul. Introducing us to the notion in the book’s prologue, he writes:
“It is an audacious notion to put forth in this age of science and willful determination that one’s existence is somehow inspired, guided, and even managed by unseen forces outside our control. Whether called fate, destiny, or the hand of God, slender threads are at work bringing coherence and continuity to our lives. Over time they weave a remarkable tapestry.
…Some people seem to exert more free will over their lives. They make plans, set goals, and proceed with full confidence of being in control. That has never worked for me, despite my best attempts.
…In my youth I floundered around and followed the slender threads only when I felt like it or when they seemed to be taking me where I already wanted to go. I often struggled to oppose them. As the fruit of my old age, however, I have finally come to trust the mystery. The mystery is this: there is one right thing and only one right thing to do at every moment. We can either follow or resist the slender threads.”
Across the pages of his life and this book, Johnson illuminates and gives voice to these threads and their impact – sometimes subtle, always significant – on shaping him.
Of late, I haven’t been able to find the thread. Some days, it’s felt as if I lost or let go of it, when actually it’s simply been hard to see, so fine as to be invisible. In what I’ll call a ‘consciousness gap’ – like the knowing-doing gap – I am re-remembering how to rely on sensing rather than only seeing. Discerning signals from my body’s knowing: Does this feel good? Make me smile? Sit lighter on my shoulders, in my heart? Does my face feel “normal” or tingle with residual, bell weather Bells Palsy sensations?
Trusting a deeper knowing that has next to nothing to do with what I think, plan, or control.
Following the ineffable. Slender threads.