Be Where You Are, But Carry The Keys


One of my most played vinyl records is Sting’s Nothing Like the Sun. A few days ago I bought the album again so I can play it on my computer and phone. I’ve been listening to Little Wing on repeat and now Lazarus Heart. I keep waiting for it to skip where there is a scratch on the record. I wonder how long I’ll keep expecting that?

I love Sting’s songs and saw him live in concert recently with Paul Simon. It was so great to see two amazing musicians and story tellers perform a lifetime’s work. And as a bonus an eternity t-shirt had conspired to make Sting sexy…but that’s a story for another time!

Screen Shot 2015-05-11 at 7.12.18 pmThis song seems to be a good backdrop to this blog post which is really about rising again.

I don’t think I could really help it. The need for solitude was kind of fierce. I didn’t understand it but I decided not to question it. It made things hard sometimes. I’d moved to a new community and I thought I would find my way within it, but I wasn’t even looking.

I felt guilty leaning on my sisters, as if that brought into question my independence and made me burdensome. I came to see their actions for what they were, acts of generous people, gifts of love. That’s who they are and right when I needed them most, there they were- unpacking my boxes and setting up my house, fencing my garden, cooking me meals.

What’s really nice about that is the weaving of action and relationship which gives me firm ground and connection…months later and I still have to call Catherine occasionally to ask her where to find a particular kitchen gadget. It makes me feel close to her and loved, like I really matter to her, like she really knows me.

Humbleness and simplicity became very attractive as I started to really focus on sweeping out my house and my heart so I could get to what was really important. It’s how I chose to spend my time out of life. It’s been revealing and relieving to be in the wilderness.

I don’t mind being in the wilderness. It’s sometimes right where we need to be to rest. It doesn’t matter why. It’s not the abode of the failed or ruined. It’s the gentle space for any weary traveller to lay down. It’s the time for contemplation for the introspective. It’s your fifteen minutes for meditation, your pausing for a breath, your months of building your inner house.

My habit of operating on adrenaline, having deadlines and too much to do is really challenged in this place. It’s clear that the wilderness or the meantime for me is about surrendering that state of being and recovering from how it had impacted me. And thank heaven for that. I learned to stop trying to use that former state as a definition of myself or as a stick to thump myself with. I did what I did, no point regretting it, it was not all bad and there was plenty of good in it. This meantime time is a blessing. A break and a proposition.

When we are gifted a meantime we have a chance to recover and replenish. To recognise our pain, sorrow, deep tiredness or whatever it is that we need to turn our attention to. To turn inwards and harness our own healing. To choose our form and future. Hopefully safe, surrounded by love and support where we can touch it when we need to reach for it.

I though I’d come out of the wilderness a little while ago, but it was, I think, just a clearing where I stood star struck and yearning to be back in the world…but that’s the thing…I needed to realise that I had never left the world.

To be in the meantime is to (consciously or subconsciously) inhabit your world differently. To change your focus, to maybe choose a new path, to equip yourself with new habits, having realised old ways of being don’t need to be anymore. Or it may just be catching your breath and coming to terms with what you’ve been up to.

I have some friends who are the wilderness right now. One of them called me recently to tell me about how she was in the wilderness again. She was the one that had suggested to me that my inability to know what I really wanted and lack of energy to pursue anything indicated I was in this place…and that when the time was right I would find myself replenished and re shaped in my world.

I’ve been becoming more present in my world. It asks me to be brave. It needs me to make choices and decisions. It’s a place with riches I could not have imagined. As I step out of the wilderness there is recognition and encouragement, there is community in places and spaces, there is creativity and opportunity. There are new ways to look at the world that really are not new at all, it’s just that I had limited my gaze. I’m so very happy with the view! And that being in touch with ourselves opens significant doors.

I’ve been more consciously in my world, but sometimes, in some ways I’m still in the meantime. I think it’s a meantime I should keep. The quiet place to contemplate. But sometimes it stumps me and sometimes I hide in it- blaming it for my reticence and inaction.

Being in the water seems to bring my own wisdom to me. I revealed to myself the other night as I ran in the ocean pool that I have the keys to the doors in my life. These are the keys to resting when I need rest, to venturing forth, to connection in my world, to the new, to the long held but re found, to the mundane, the unexpected, the remarkable.

I don’t have a great memory, but I had time in the water, so I used the memory strategy of pinning to make sure I could hold on to these keys. To my head I pinned the key for mindfulness. To my mouth the key for prayer. My outstretched arm has the key for hope. My leg carries willingness. Hanging on my heart is love.

I like the jingling of these keys, the feel of them in my imagination, both smooth and grainy, shined and tarnished, they are old and they are new. Their feel is strength, their sound is decision, their turn is me.


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