Quiet, Into the House Has Come

IMG_2172 IMG_2175My husband came in from a walk on the ridge behind our house one evening during the winter break. The sun had gone down. The girls were screeching and making messes, dinner was not just late, but lame. I had that feeling of tightly wound burden, with “something isn’t right, I should have done this differently, that would have been better,” sorts of thoughts visiting me. I’ve been shown the face I make when I feel like this, and it isn’t as lovely as I imagine myself to be.

The man of the place came in from the darkness, smiling with the freshness of the newly fallen night in his eyes. He stirred the pot I had on the stove and didn’t say anything about what simmered weakly in it. Just this: “We’ve got to love the life we’ve got.”

I had my own epiphany on the ridge on Solstice, a day that was perplexing with its myriad options, so much to do, so much meaning to make, so much pressure (from myself) to get it right. In the end we did, I think, but about 4:00 I left the house to climb the hill and watch the sun drop, and I can say I was wearing my unlovely expression of consternation. I lay down on the frozen ground, felt the light pouring through my closed eyelids. And remembered, There is nothing that must be done, everything is as it should be. 

Both of our our hilltop insights carried me through the subsequent weeks, and are carrying me forward now.

In these first days of the year, I am savoring the swept-clean newness. The invitation to clear not just the overfull cupboards and drawers, but the fullness of my days and life. This year will bring its wonders and discoveries, its challenges and transitions. For now, there is a pause. An invitation to savor stillness.

The author Dan Siegel writes that our awareness is like a great wheel. At the hub of the wheel, the center, is mindful presence, and from this hub an infinite number of spokes extend to the rim. Our attention tends to dwell out on the rim, moving from one spoke of concern to the next. Mindfulness and meditation are the practice of returning to the center.

These days, as I sink gratefully into my own meditation practice, it feels like there is a counterpart to this in the outer world, the wheel of the year that turns along its spokes, spiraling along back towards January. Which is feeling a bit like the hub to me. A place of quiet, of reflection and retreat. A return to presence.

Soon enough, we’ll be carried forward. I want freshness in my eyes as I go, kindness in my gaze. I want to love whatever is there in the pot, and to serve it in our old bowls at the table where we sit each day together.

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10 thoughts on “Quiet, Into the House Has Come

  1. I love our companionship on these journeys we take…knowing that your mindfulness will spiral out to me, and mine to you. Your words, a reflection of your actions, are aiding in the co-creation of the only things that will sustain us in this age- thoughtfulness, quiet, love and simplicity. This journey we are on demands the type of reflection you write about. Thank you… from all of us.

    • Oh Becca, you are so right in that these words reflect the goodness we are co-creating of our lives. I do not come to them on my own, but in the good company of our community. I love what you say about what it is that can sustain us in these times; such a welcome reminder of what we are trying to live.

  2. We are in that time of the holy glow- of deep reverence and letting the sun shine through us with gratitude….may it stay with us as the wheel begins to turn….but for now, bask in it’s warm pause and let it hold us there as long as we can!!

  3. Those flowers are so bright and cheery! They make me feel warm on this minus-nine degree January morning (and make me think I need to get a bunch!). I like this idea–returning to the hub of the wheel. Not denying the spokes and the rim are there, but staying with the power of the revolving motion. Happy new year!

    • The flowers were a gift from friends, and I have to say, our whole family has been savoring the treat of color, tulips, blossoms, in the midst of January. We can enjoy them in a way that feels different than when flowers are abundant. I really appreciate what you say about not denying the spokes of the wheel–they are the stuff of life. But it is so good to find the balance and the center.

  4. I was just talking with my husband about if it “ok” to just “be” – to be content where we are at, to not seek more – but to be at peace with a very quiet life… for these days I think it is and then we will know when it time to move forward.
    Thank you for sharing.

    • Bless your quiet life. And yes, we must also be prepared and open to the forward movement, the new things we are asked to enter into at different stages.

  5. Your home looks saturated in warmth and color in the moments you captured. Another fine time to lie down and let the light bathe your eyelids. I appreciate this imagery of spokes and our tendency to hang out along the rim…happy hibernating, my dear.

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