Since I was a child, I have spent hours at a time sitting with her, on her, connecting, as intimate as making love though quiet and without fanfare or explosion of emotion. Sinking, entering, merging, becoming. Finding selflessness and oneness. Connection. I have slept upon, wept upon, bled into her, fed her and she feeds me, tended to her, loved her like a child, a mother, a sister, a friend, an old wise woman. When in greatest need of answers, I turn to her. In my hardest times, I leave and commune with her. For me, she alone has the power to heal, connect, give, love, and allow. And teach us to find the wisdom and truth within our selves. It is there. There, here, it’s all the same. Because of the ultimate connection. We are of this earth.
Recently I returned after fifteen days alone by the river, with my dog, allowing the Artemis in me to run wild. In the cold and snow and darkness and solitude, it is easy to find peace and quiet, easier to look within, look around, connect, feel, understand. In undisturbed practice, we have the opportunity to fully open and receive, tune out and tune in, merge and become the teaching. Then the integration…
The lesson now is in bringing this peace and understanding which grew and thrived in solitude and nature with me back into the “real” world. It’s one thing to find peace in retreat. But what good does this do if we cannot bring it back with us, integrate and implement our greater awareness and understanding in our day to day life.
Already I live in and with and of the mountains, and still at times I am disconnected with the powers, wisdom and love of the Earth. Summer does this to me, with the tourists and distractions and noise. Motors and mouths and everything we do seems to be for them, our way of maintaining us, our life here. Like the Buddha, learning to practice, to find peace within reality is enlightenment – for me the challenge is in learning to find peace and connection during the tourist season, when humans are surrounding, around, a part of my otherwise wild life.
Still, after a long hard season with so many people (yes, relatively speaking…though I find I am one who gives so much, and do not establish and honor my own limitations well, a common trait among the female souls), the time alone in nature rejuvenates. Were I a rich and able man concerned primarily with my own enlightenment first and foremost, turning my back on my wife and child and having others feed and care for me, I too perhaps would sit for months until the answers came. Yes, we know he then spent decades after this sharing and teaching, but that’s not the point I’m trying to make here. I can’t just go off and sit under a tree for months on end. I’d starve. I’d freeze. My husband and son and all my animals would starve and freeze! But I am not. My path is different. I am a woman. As such, I give, I nurture, I care, and I love. I sense and I feel and I nourish. And as I am these things, the answers and wisdom and understanding come through these things. Through my service of being daughter, sister, mother, wife, midwife.
Buddha tells us we all have the wisdom within, and within us too we have the path to the way if we are willing to walk it, to sit it, to contemplate it. And the way is different for us all. It is work. It is time. It is obtainable by each of us. If we are willing to commit. I am. I waver. I return.
And it is closer every time.
She is my healer. My guru. The teacher I seek when I need guidance and answers most. The community I yearn for, in soil and rocks and trees and fallen leaves, in wind and rain and snow and blazing burning elements found high above treeline in the thin air and intense sunlight. In the hawk flying by in curiosity, and then away, far away, a pin prick, and then nothing but blue sky.
I meditate with softly closed eyes, face towards the low autumn sun, and the light and warmth and radiance enters me, fills me, overflows, and we become one, all of us, everything, everything on this beautiful planet. And yes, everyone.
It is the everyone that is harder for me to connect with and understand and even love than the everything. How interesting then that I should be called to midwifery, to serve my sisters. Indeed we are given the lessons we need to learn. The earth knew. My sisters know. All I can do is trust, and serve, and love.