Friday, 15 November 2013

You Raise Me Up

I suppose generally speaking raking leaves on an autumn day might not be what many would consider an emotionally stirring day! Nonetheless it was just such a day for me. At the risk of sounding cliche the idea that an experience is "what you make of it" does come into play here to some degree. But I reckon the afternoon might require some set up to put things in context.

The morning did start with the expression of love and a conversation which centered on the heart and being heart-centered. At one point the conversation touched on the idea of "unorthodox" parenting which involved a deeply committed stand to consider the unique needs of the child, rather than have them conform to the wants of the parent (which could be further homogenized by the parents succumbing to the mores of society with regard to raising children - i.e. education etc.) The love and acceptance represented in the very idea of that touched me deeply and I knew instantly, the truth of the need for it.

As one that has outwardly (and internally) rebelled against a world that attempts to orchestrate conformity - I highly value freedom of expression. For many years I have pushed against systems and authority (in what I would say in hindsight was a largely unconscious misguided attempt, to be myself). So often I have found myself looking at what is going on around me (or what is being taught to me) and thought: "it's just not right - I don't get it, it makes no sense, I don't want to get it, who says it has to be that way?" For so long I thought the problem was me - it felt a bit like I'd been dropped off on the wrong planet.

Much has changed since then (about me) I don't so much see the need to rebel (nor do I see myself as defective or deficient) - from here on in I intend to lovingly and more consistently stand in who I am. I wasn't meant to "fit in" (though God know the lengths I went to try) - I don't happen to believe anyone else was supposed to either - but that is for each to determine for themselves. We each have been given such unique gifts that could be of such value to the world when fully expressed - to live only to fulfill the expectations of others, is perhaps one of life's great tragedy's.

So now when I describe my afternoon of raking leaves as so much more than mere drudgery - my intention is to express the extraordinary present simultaneously (within) the ordinary. It is not a question of my viewpoint being superior to that of anyone else - I am just less inclined to surrender mine in order to blend with the "popular consensus."

To begin with it was a gorgeous mid-November afternoon. I quickly discovered that I was over-dressed for the mild temperature - it really felt more like a Spring afternoon. My objective was to rake the front yard at my parents place. The municipality begins "leaf pickups" next week - but they must be piled at the road side so that they can just come along efficiently and remove them.

The front yard is blessed (or cursed) again it would depend on your point of view, with a massive Garry Oak tree. As I worked below it's extensive canopy, limbs twisting and turning their way skyward, reaching to the  heavens - I was reminded of a time of my life when I was considerably younger (& the tree significantly smaller). I used to climb to the top of that tree and sit there alone, pondering life. One might wonder what I teenage boy might have to ponder at that "tender young age" - suffice to say, that as far as I could tell most of my peers seemed to be fairly care-free (I don't remember ever being such). So perched high above the world the tree afforded me a vantage point and solitude that wasn't so readily available on the ground.

All these years later, I have come to know that oak trees were held quite sacred in ancient Celtic spirituality which as it happens is my blood ancestry on my father's side. Though as a teen I neither knew of my ancestry or the oak tree connection (as I was adopted) unless of course I did, and was naturally drawn to this place of sacred refuge.

I continued to drag the fallen leaves into piles and began to consider the age and wisdom of the tree - it's connection to trees of past generations, the connection of all the trees, to the lives and ways of being of my ancestors - and therefore my connection to all that and more. What then could the tree offer me in relation to my ancestors - what wisdom of theirs could I now access? Clearly I reasoned, what was necessary, was to ask the tree.

I marveled at the awareness and answers that "came to mind" - realizing the beautiful "unseasonably warm" day - at the same time that I raked fallen leaves denoting Autumn, there was in the rock garden at the front of the house, a miniature rose bush with numerous buds and some in full bloom. There they sat pink and embodying the perfection associated with roses in seemingly, a contradiction to the calendar. The wonder of creation was right there in my midst (or me squarely in the midst of creation) with a clear demonstration that calendars and various means of linear marking of time is of little consequence to nature. It is laughable to try and contain the great Mother Earth and all of her marvels in such limiting parameters (and yet "we" try). She thinks nothing of having the roses of spring blooming with the oak tree shedding it's summer foliage. The cycles of nature will not be pigeon-holed and held to some standard of predictability and routine, performing her wonders within a predetermined timetable! (Why then is humanity so fixated on the enforced futility of premeditated dogmatic paradigms for each other?) Our very nature is one with nature, ignoring that -  it's a bit like trying to lasso the wind. The inevitability of natural rhythms versus my agenda was further reinforced by a light breeze coming up and my then turning, to see dozens of pirouetting leaves spiraling their way to the ground landing softly but assuredly where I had previously raked. The dance was captivating, no two leaves took the same flight path to earth, each was released in it's right and perfect time. (Not yesterday, not tomorrow - right now).

I listened more deeply to the teaching of my towering old friend - "there comes a time to let go, absolutely and completely." "All that was once vital and necessary - will reach it's time for release." "Even in it's (appearance of) death, it continues to serve life." Evolution (rebirth) would not be possible while still clinging to what was." "There is no beginning and ending - even in the finale lays the seeds of the upcoming curtain call" "there is no stasis and truly no need to mark the transition" "upon a continuum the old welcomes the new as the new becomes the old - only to die in order to release rebirth." "Trust that it is so - as in deed it always has been and will be forever more" "As the process can be indiscernible to the eye - there appears to be a period of dormancy - indeed this is illusory in nature (pun intended) it is only in the "mind" that the unknown is perceived (and therefore fear generated) in actuality there is only the surety of completion and evolution - in this you can trust." (it is so, regardless of your accepting the truth of it - you may freely choose!"

Just then a delicate soft rain shower began to fall (it likely lasted no more than 5 minutes) and upon my iPod began to play the song "You raise Me Up" from an album entitled "Celtic Woman" - it was as though I could feel the gentle kiss of my ancestors upon my cheeks and was being serenaded by a choir of angels. The sun continued it's warm embrace and I looked skyward delighted to discover the rainbow I "suspected" would present. I no longer question the miraculous (which isn't to say I understand them) - in many ways, (to me) it seems all that is required is to allow the space to bear witness and to pay attention and the miracles can be then seen as endless. 

 To the uninitiated there might appear to be a lone figure doing yard work in a neighborhood comprised of "war era" houses - an unremarkable microcosm of suburbia. Quite to the contrary there is occurring a celebration of epic proportions - a great love affair with all that is - a most profound knowing that there are no ordinary moments and soul-felt gratitude for a heart that now has eyes - "that once were blind, but now can see!"

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