The first snow of early winter arrived this week. Since the weather guy predicted warmer temperatures later in the week, I eagerly headed to the woods for a much needed walk and contemplation amid this first hint of winter.
Have you ever noticed the silence of snow? It’s not the absence of sound actually. It is the sound of the present moment, the sound of stillness in the crisp chilled air. It is Presence.
I walked, hearing the crunch of the remains of fall in the leaves under the snow. The snowfall had only dusted the floor of the woods. A nuthatch danced up a tree, adorned in blue covered with black cape and hat. Quite the fashion statement for this first winter outing!
Camera in hand, I stopped from time to time as an image reached out for acknowledgement and I welcomed it into my view. I made a point to visit the Three Beech Sisters near the back of our property. They’re part of my photographic study of the seasons in the woods. There is another beech tree which has entwined around itself and a maple that twisted as it grew. Both responding to the stress and trauma they encountered in their growing years. They prevailed. They adapted and overcame.
It seems we all have encountered trauma and stress. The present certainly has provided more than it’s fair share. I’ll admit it has been extremely difficult for me in the past month or so. Overwhelmed does not adequately describe it. I’m sure others have felt same or similar emotions. Many wiser and gentler souls before me have used metaphors like desert time, dark night of the soul, desolation, a dry leaf on the ground, the mud of the lotus, a dying to self, and more. Even St. Teresa of Calcutta, known as Mother Teresa, wrote often she felt God had abandoned her! She stayed the course and remained on the path.
St. Ignatius of Loyola wrote that in the beginning stages of spiritual growth and development we often encounter desolation and despair. We often believe we should give up on spiritual practices and leave the spiritual path. Ignatius offers a series of “rules,” or principles, in his spiritual exercises which can help us work through those times of desolation. One of my favorite interpretation of those exercises is Louis Savary’s New Spiritual Exercises, In the Spirit of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00935UXXW/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i1
I’m reminded of a song from one of my favorite singers, Carrie Newcomer, The Only Way Out is Through. She sings, “the only way out is through, but the only way through is in, again.” Lean in. Go in. Enter the silence, the solitude. It’s the place where the soft soul waits. “Where the soft soul waits and hearts beat and break and the real wars are waged and won.” https://www.carrienewcomer.com/store/the-point-of-arrival-cd The real war of dying to self and ego.
As I walked in the silence of the snow covered woods, these words – and more – echoed in my mind. Soften. Lean in. Cry if you must. Break open. All will be well. Accept what you cannot change. Change what you can . . .
Solitude. Silence. The silence of snow. Alone but not. I inhale a deep cleansing and slightly chilled breath.
Keep breathing. Keep walking. When you find yourself in the middle of a desert, keep walking. The only way out is through and the only way through is in – deep within. All WILL be well.
Be well. Be safe. Be Blessed. – Christy
May you be blessed in abundance during this time of of the receding light and celebrate the return of Light however that celebration might look to you.
(This blog is not intended to serve as individual spiritual direction. Spiritual direction and spiritual companioning is typically done face to face in a confidential setting or can be done via Zoom or other virtual platform. If you would like to explore one on one spiritual companioning, group companioning, SoulCollage©, the Labyrinth or Reiki, please contact me. If you, your faith group, your church or your book club would like to know more about spiritual companioning, please contact me to schedule an informational workshop. In the meantime, my hope is that the photos and this blog serve as a pause in your day, food for thought, or just a reminder to breathe in and breathe out all that is holy and good. The Divine Milieu is all around us. Thank you all for prayers, vibes, positive energy and support.)