Tag Archives: nature

All due praise
to the Geese of Fenway
whose beauty
reminds me to be human
even as I sidestep the shit
and whose power
can bring traffic to a halt on Boylston
in the early afternoon light
of opening day.

Nowadays, no one stops to hear a bird sing.
Instead, we google it and think we know.
These shortened attention spans are trying to
(pause, pause, pause, pause, pause)
drive me crazy.

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Letting Go

April 24th,

Still feeling the effects of the new moon, new.

This morning, I sat at the altar and spoke for a long time. I am ready to let go.

Then, while hiking in the Blue Hills, I saw a snake, coiled and still. I thought it might be a sign, but did it read as shedding or death? I nudged it gently with a stick. It lifted its head and stuck out its tongue. Very much alive.

Letting go of the past, of what might have been, has been such a long deal (seventeen years, give or take). For those years, I often had the idea of letting go, but now it is ripe in my heart.

Before me lies an unknown path. The unknown path has always been there. I’ve spent a good amount of time avoiding that way, but the unknown path is all there is.

THE UNKNOWN PATH IS ALL THERE IS. Anything else is illusion.

We are forever facing it. I am facing it consciously because the path I’ve known has become too heavy to bear a moment longer.

This unknown path, maybe, it’s what I am. I, you, we, are the path, and it never ends. You never get there. But we have to keep moving forward for its own sake.

I remember that time I got high with my Auntie in California. We were walking through the woods and came to a grand vista. I got stuck at this spot, simply because it was so beautiful.

I didn’t want to leave this beauty behind, so she gently took my head and turned it toward the direction in which we were walking.

“What do you see now?” she asked.

“More beauty,” I answered, and with that, we happily resumed our walk.

I learned in that moment that the beauty never ends. It is with us in every moment, eternal, supreme, unconquerable.

It’s as though the more certain forces try to define it, to colonize it, the more opposing forces rise to free it.

So today, I let it go, not because I fell out of love or was hurt by it, but because I love it. And because I love myself.

I won’t say what it is. You can fill in your own blank. We all have something to let go of, something to forgive.

Ashe.


Divination

“The health of the eye depends on a horizon.”–Emerson

For as long as I can remember, I have been drawn to the mystical branches of spirituality. As part of my search, I occasionally sought divinations including I-ching, tarot, palm readings, astrology (both Western and Vedic), channelling, past-life regression, Michael charts, numerology, Ifa readings and most recently, the shell divination of the Dagara tradition of Burkina Faso as taught and practiced by Malidoma Some.

I go to see a diviner when I need help from the other side. The strength of a diviner seems to be based on the extent to which they are able to become a vessel for a disembodied being: an ancestor, a spirit guide or angel, a kontomble (the little people in Dagara cosmology), etc.

I consider divination to be a kind of art. Finding a good diviner is sort of like finding a good massage therapist. Everyone has a different style. You just have to find the one that works for you.

Skeptics argue that diviners are charlatans who are only after money, but such charlatans exist in every field. These skeptics also argue that diviners say such general things that may be true of just about everyone, but so do most doctors. Even as a ballet teacher, I find myself saying the same things over and over again to different students because people tend to make the same mistakes.

I go with the understanding that even the shabbiest diviner can extract a kernel of truth from the cards, bones, shells or what have you, and it is then up to me as to what I do with that message. Of course, one should practice discernment when going to see a diviner. When you hear the truth, you feel a kind of resonance with it and it’s ok to trust that. If you don’t feel resonance, go to someone else.

Getting a divination from a skillful diviner is like being served a large meal. You can’t eat everything on the plate, but you do the best you can. Some of the things you may not initially understand and you find that the message unfolds mysteriously in layers as you become better able to digest it.

For example, one of the things Malidoma told me in a divination was that I had a weakness in nature. A weakness in nature, now what could that possibly mean? It’s true, as I said in the previous post, that I have a thing for trees. Is that what he meant? Or does the weakness have something to do with my own nature? What is my nature?

During the divination, you are free to ask questions, but at the time, I was so busy trying to grasp other things that I let the weakness in nature issue go until several months later another diviner of the same tradition told me the same thing. And yet a third Dagara diviner looked at my numerology and verified this weakness in nature yet again.

But what does that mean? I decided to start spending more time in nature. Perhaps I would find my answers there. My husband and I started taking almost daily hikes in the Blue Hills reserve, not far from where I live in Boston.

No matter how reluctant we are to make the twenty-minute drive, we are always grateful that we made the effort. We notice that every time we walk through the woods, whatever stress we are carrying is magically cleansed and there is always a gift: a tiny bird’s nest, six hawks that swooped close by, a gentle rain, a horizon, a new path. And we notice too, that the rest of the day seems to flow more sweetly after the time spent in nature.

As I started to become nourished by nature, further understanding of my divination began to unfold when my husband and I took a trip to Manhattan to look at museums and galleries. The streets were crowded. It was a nice weekend but the more we walked through the chic lower West side, the more I started to wither inside myself. Feelings of alienation and inferiority began to overwhelm me. Everyone and everything was so fabulous. I felt like a dandelion struggling through a crack in the cement, surrounded by rare and exotic flowers.

I grew up in New York City and the place holds a lot of memories for me. At night, I was assaulted by dreams of experiences in which I was made to feel small. In those moments, when I felt weak in the presence of others, I could see how my lack of strength in my own nature caused me to cower. Sometimes this energy was intentionally inflicted but other times not. I was just too easily intimidated because I was un-rooted, not at home inside myself, and easily blown off-balance, like a shallowly rooted tree in a hurricane.

Aha! So this is how the weakness in nature manifests itself in me. I could see how I built up an armor around this wound without having healed it and how the recent initial healing in nature was allowing me to see this issue more clearly in myself.

I could see how my nature is tied to the big nature of the world. And at last, I could feel some compassion for myself. Finally, I could unclasp the heavy armor encasing my heart, and reveal it without shame, naked and bleeding, because in my embrace of nature, I have begun to take root.

Malidoma says that a weakness in nature is common for modern people. During my recent visit to NY, I could see evidence of that. In a city, we are constantly told how to be, what to think and do. Walk, don’t walk. Buy this. Eat here. Don’t stop. Keep moving. Faster. Upgrade. I think even if you are strong in your nature, everyone is influenced by city persuasion to some extent.

And I’m not saying that those things are inherently bad. I like sushi and a fancy pair of shoes. I’m just saying that it’s easy to lose yourself by being swept up in a tide of fabulousness that has nothing to do with who you really are. To know nature is to know yourself. And to know yourself is fucking fabulous.


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