Tending One Thing   Leave a comment

On several occasions my teacher has shared with the small circle of his students his practice of tending with love one thing that he does regularly anyway. Then to do it with intention and focus and care.

The action can be as simple — and simple works well — as tying shoelaces. Getting out of bed. Shaving. Watering a plant. Opening the front door. The technique transforms a quotidian something that has till now just sat there in its ordinariness and now begins to flower in our awareness, once we give it that kind attention. I was going to write kind of attention, but “kind attention” fits, too. Do this, I keep finding, and like pockets or balloons of energy, the world through the particular thing we are cherishing and tending opens itself as a gift. This happened to me on my regular 3-mile loop walk, when I walked with intention. Putting each foot down, lifting the other, breathing, listening.

What remains green when other things are dying?

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Mosses and lichens nibble at stones, evergreens of a different tribe. I run a hand lightly over them, this first cool green being on the walk.

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I give thanks for all that comes free — air and earth, cloud and sunlight, birdsong and breathing.

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I give thanks we have language to name such things, our round, treaded words rolling us from perception to perception, good pointers that they are.

Numbers, letters, the signs we make to write speech onto things — little wonder we’ve attributed their origins to gods — Thoth, Hermes, Saraswati. Attend closely enough to roundness and the shape echoes, singing in the ear. Who knew worn round things have such stories to tell?

I will tend you until who you are is more important than my opinion about you.

img_1535I give thanks for this world of contrasts where, according to one of the Wise, many beings wait on the threshold, longing to incarnate for the extraordinary lessons it offers. The denser and harder its energies and challenge, the more it offers them opportunities to grow as they can nowhere else.

Shadow and light, new equilibriums possible with each step, so many things whose tending reveals things coming into existence because we have tended them.

Light and dark hold hands — or clasp branches, as the case may be.

What questions does the world answer that we haven’t asked — but could?

 

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ann-hallAncestors, relatives, descendants — who really is a stranger in the end, when so many are kin?

From the flat pink-yellow photo paper my great-great-grandparents Ann and James look out on their wedding day.

Did you foresee the Civil War gathering its bayonets and gunpowder, gangrene and despair?

Picture frame like a ship’s porthole — I half expect you to stand and move about and take up your lives as I gaze at you. I give thanks that because of you, I exist. I know you in my bones, though I know little enough about you: this image, and birth, wedding and death dates.

(I’m grateful even for the big noses you both obviously bequeathed to us your descendants.)

The world follows its own dells and channels and boundaries, often ignoring ours.

Build a wall and before long, birds, wind and animals help seed the beginnings of a thicket instead. Tree roots thrusting from below make a ruin of any wall. Trees might have served better to begin with.

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I’m grateful walls sometimes simply end abruptly. Should I leap from the capstone? Build a sacred fire on it? Shift it to seek for treasure cached beneath it.

Maybe just listen and see if it has something to say other than whatever I’m thinking. My thoughts may have less to say than its silence.

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Then there’s time’s rough handling. Hang around long enough, and the things you’ll lose, as much as anything you’ll gain, will build your character, all our ancestors mutter.

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I’m grateful for the tracks of things, however faint, that pull me out of thought and into larger possibility.

I give thanks life meets me halfway — just not always where and how I expect it.

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I give thanks, finally, that the path itself doesn’t always stay the same. Sometimes I think it changes underfoot, just to check if we’re paying attention, and not sleepwalking along our ways.

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Posted 27 November 2016 by adruidway in Druidry, gratitude

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