Tuesday, March 1, 2011

All it will take

While searching for a blank memory card I found an old one that had images on it from our trip to Eastern Washington; images I'd never downloaded onto my computer, and I had thought them lost forever.

Not that they're all that good, you understand, but it is a VERY different landscape there, and with my current hunger for southwestern vistas, I'm enjoying the opportunity to revisit these desert scenes.

Which is yet another lovely example of this curious human hunger for balance.  When winter first arrives I welcome the change in the weather, but by the time March is blustering in I'm desperate again for warmth and sunshine.

I love dark chocolate, but after too many bites my tongue begins to long for salt and spice.  I'm thrilled to be with friends but after a lengthy visit find myself craving alone time.  Like all humans I have a hunger for consistency, but too much consistency becomes... well... boring!  Which means, again -- I need to strike a balance; to find enough variety in some parts of my life to appease that piece of me that thinks the grass is always greener somewhere else while at the same time staying centered enough to keep moving forward while staying grounded.

And though that phrase -- moving forward while staying grounded -- sounds like a contradiction in terms, I have to say it seems to me that that is a critical aspect of the spiritual life.  I actually don't believe we can EVER truly move forward without ensuring that we move from a deeply grounded space.  It's just that that space isn't necessarily physical.  To me, being grounded, being centered, is about being in touch: in touch with ourselves, with our humanity, with our essential divine nature... and moving forward is only progress if it flows out of that groundedness, out of that sense of connection.

Moving forward just to move forward will never get us anywhere, and those who do that just to escape where they are now, or where they've been, who are simply moving out of a desperate need for change, may tend to find, like Satan in Milton's classic, Paradise Lost, that they are carrying their own hell around with them -- whatever that hell looks like.

Horror and doubt distract 
His troubled thoughts, and from the bottom stir 
The hell within him; for within him Hell           
He brings, and round about him, nor from Hell 
One step, no more than from Himself, can fly 
By change of place.  
--  (Milton, Paradise Lost, Book IV) 

So if you're restless, itching to move on -- consider this possibility: maybe, just maybe, there's something right here, right now, that is every bit as extraordinary as a foreign cruise or vacation.  Perhaps instead of running the time has come to stop and breathe and wait; to wait for what this moment holds to take root in you and bear fruit.  What looks right now like a total wasteland could become a green and fertile valley: all it will take is time and care and love.


Louise Gallagher said...

Brilliant. Just brilliant. This whole post.

And this...

"I actually don't believe we can EVER truly move forward without ensuring that we move from a deeply grounded space."


Diane Walker said...

Thanks so much!