Friday, we received the most beautiful news…
I emailed this picture to T right away and he responded, thanking me for allowing him the opportunity to cry at work.
Wow. I had no idea how much it was weighing on me. This energy tied up in wondering whether she would make it there. Whether the vision I had for her — space to roam and a menagerie of friends to share her love with — would truly come to be.
When the news came, there was this huge release of the nervous tension of wondering. As if a gift of something I didn’t know I always wanted had arrived, just in time.
When we left her there, I told her that I wanted only good reports. In that last snuggle, my voice soft in her fuzzy ear, I whispered that it was her chance to recreate herself and take advantage of this new opportunity. That she was being set free to find her way. That even if it felt scary at first, it would get better.
And I’m so, so very glad it has.
What I didn’t know at the time, as I was setting her free to live this new life, was that those words were meant for me as well.
The homestead has been incredibly quiet since both Trooper and Bella left us. Different situations of departing, but a leaving all the same.
Quiet in both good and in uncomfortable, comfort-zone-stretching ways.
I see folks with new puppies as we walk the neighborhood and practically fall to my knees, wanting to take them home. Desire creeps up in giddy dreams of a puppy and kitten pair to share our lives with. To bring joy and raucousness to this peace and stir things up a bit.
Yet I know the time isn’t right.
It is so affirming to learn that our risk in making the tough decision to give Bella up was worth it. That she is safe and well and flourishing in her new life.
Yet we’re still grieving our losses.
It does no good to cover them up with a substitute.
It’s OK to be in the silence. It’s OK to embrace the newness of where we find ourselves — in the quiet — without immediately trading it in for some shiny bauble that distracts us from the hurt.
It’s OK to create a little joyful raucousness of our own if that’s what is called for, instead of depending on others to do it for us.
So when I say that my final words to Bella were actually words for me, I mean that there is this open expanse of newness to negotiate and explore. Who am I without a laundry-list of critter-caring tasks to do when I get home? How does it feel to wander out in the world with a strong yet infinitely more simple tether to honey and to home?
Who am I with more space to invite being, rather than doing?
Like Bella exploring her new abode, finding new connections with herself, others, and her very nature, it seems I am being offered an opportunity to do the same.
So, about a week ago, I began a new project called The Mirror. I’ve written before about my affinity for lying on the earth — how grounding and purifying an experience it is to simply lay on the ground and breathe. It’s delightful whenever I do it. But I don’t do it very often.
Which is a mystery to me.
With this project, I’m meditating outdoors for 20 minutes per day. Which might not sound like much until you consider that I live in Minnesota where the temperature can dip well below zero in the winter for days — or sometimes weeks — at a time.
I will need to get creative. I will need to commit to the time. To the process.
On day 4 this past week, when I was busy and harried, when the only time I could carve out to sit was at dusk…
And had a completely liberating experience listening deeply in the dark to the things I sensed but could not see.
The squirrel at the feeder. The birds in the birdhouse. The mosquitoes buzzing my ears.
The Mirror is then an exploration of how my nature is reflected in Nature — how her cycles, her seasons, her moods, her elements, her light, and her dark inform who I experience myself as in each moment.
And what that might mean to me as I move forward into this more quiet and critter-less phase of my life.
All that is in Nature, is in each of us. And I want to experience myself in her, devoting time and attention to exploring this in a more intentional, more intimate way.
A way that frankly won’t be possible — or would at least be very different — with critters whining at the windows and clamoring for my attention.
Already, my outdoor meditation experiences are revealing things to me that I didn’t know:
- I want more.
- I feel incredibly safe and supported when I lay upon the earth.
- My face is apparently a welcoming place for bugs to land.
- There are more than 10,000 points of dancing light when looking up into the trees.
- Even when there is no noticeable breeze, the air can dance and shift over my skin in unexpected and lovely ways.
- We have a really bumpy yard.
- If I meditate with my eyes open — even with a soft focus — I have to contend with my thoughts way more than if I meditate with my eyes closed.
- Hummingbird bellies are cute!
- When I lay in the yard I worry that the neighbors think I’m either crazy or dead.
- Hearing the birdies munch at the feeders makes my heart flutter.
I began on July 22nd, a month after the summer solstice, when I began to notice that already the days are becoming shorter. My intent is to follow the shortening of the days into the winter solstice and then outward again into the summer solstice of next year, by really being with the experience, if only for a short time each day.
Simply to see what it has to teach.
If Bella can thrive in her new life, so can I.
I’ll be posting about it occasionally here, but feel free to follow along with me daily on Instagram @wonderofallthings under hashtag #woatthemirror. I look forward to seeing you there.
Wherever and whenever this may find you, enjoy a most beautiful day. And thank you for reading.//