What will I learn in the woods today?
There are deer to your left,
the sun is to your right,
spring is singing to the sky,
it is possible to make good friends with a rock.
There are truths about living
written in the patterns of leafshadow upon stone.
There is an audio version of this post available via this link.
In the audio I share some thoughts about stillness, about daily practices, about the freedom found in finding your own center, and about white space or the process of creating margin in your days. Just as the words on a page lack meaning if there are no margins and the graphic design is lost in a blur of imagery without white spaces, our lives become frantic and unsustainable without built-in pauses and time for stillness.
“I fear our modern world does not honor our need for stillness in the midst of nonstop busyness. Can we learn to be still enough to embrace the inner self and all it contains? The inner self is calling for balance. Can we practice a wholeness that allows for silence, nature and breath? My hope is yes.”
—Genevieve Mitchell (@goddess.ink)
I have been reflecting recently on white spaces and margins in one’s day–this means having enough time and space for those practices and experiences that restore your soul, renew your spirit, and replenish your well.
“Time scarcity is like kryptonite for creativity. If we want to create an environment that nourishes innovation and imagination, we need to build quiet counterpoints into our daily rhythm. These small moments of ‘white space’— where we have time to pause and reflect, or go for a walk, or just breathe deeply for a few moments — are what give balance and flow and comprehension to our lives as a larger whole.”
Hungering for your own wisdom and naming it as worthy is a radical and revolutionary act.
In January, we traveled for five weeks to an island in the Gulf Coast. While there, our daily rhythm shifted to include much wider margins and a good deal of peace. When we returned home, we vowed to continue seeing with our “island eyes” and to build more spaciousness into our home rhythms. We started getting up at sunrise, like we do while at the beach, and I started visiting the woods faithfully each morning after a too-long hiatus from this soul-sustaining practice. With just two hours more time each morning, we have gained so much and have lost nothing.
“Be vulnerable. Be open and show your heart. That’s the best way of telling your heart that the tigers are no longer in the grass.”
—Stefan Molyneux quoted in UU World magazine
Our tender places are sources of strength.
Are you able to be vulnerable? What tigers worry your heart?
I was thinking about this quote in the woods and when I went to take my daily photo, the cats came into the frame and reminded me that sometimes tigers really are still in the grass.
Be tender anyway.
In addition to white spaces, I have been reflecting all this week about vulnerability in my own life and the sensation that I no longer have the same soft containers in which to fall as I once perceived myself as having and that lack of options for vulnerability, itself, feels like a tender place for me.
Do you have soft places to fall?
In the audio from earlier this year, I shared a quote from my Meditations for Women Who Do Too Much page-a-day calendar about getting friendly with your own internal pace. This connects to both white space and to freedom for me as well as to daily practices that nourish and sustain us.
I’ve continued to ask myself this question throughout the year.
As we enter a new season in the year, may you honor your own need for stillness, may you listen to your own wisdom, and may you have the courage to be tender.
I’ve been doing most of my new writing for the year over at Patreon, which is why this blog has been quiet this year. Feel free to join me there!