I was reading a some yoga based literature last night that I started while on my trip to Alaska (and thinking during reading it that I should just simply start the book over because it is good, I don't want to miss the point and I had so much on my mind there that I feel like I HAVE missed several points)....
But, the chapter I was reviewing pertained to cleansing. It discussed philosophical and physical aspects of the same, talked about some hardcore yoga practices related to it and as I drifted off to sleep while reading (something I often do), little bits of what the author was saying were floating through my mind. Mainly, that there are many kinds of cleansing and some are quite painful, mostly emotionally.
It reminds me of my favorite quote from the modern version of Batman. And, why do we fall Bruce? So we can learn to pick ourselves up.
Nothing worthwhile is ever easy. I've heard that all my life and I must say I do believe it to be true. I have come to think of this winter almost as a cleansing mechanism for everything not gritty inside me. Because, despite my desperate (yet apparently half-hearted) attempts to maintain my independence, my gypsy soul, for the past decade or more I have somehow slowly become detached from the salt of myself.
Why describe it like that? Because I have this notion that people, deep and powerful people, people that experience life and live it, have salt. They are the "salt of the earth" types. They are the people when told to "go pound salt" say yes I will and my blood, sweat and tears will form oceans of promise. They are tough and kind and sometimes weary but they keep going. They are independent, resourceful, magical.
I have been reminded more than I ever care to this winter of life's hard days, whether they be simply due to our own personal struggles, the inconveniences of duty, home, work, weather, or the so much more painful truth of mortality, suffering and lack of hope in the world. Everything had started to leave me feeling beaten and worn down. I got nothing else I said one day in relation to the very real drudgery that winter heaps upon my own mind.
And yet, don't I? I mean, really, can I do anything else except form an ocean of every experience to feed my soul? What other choice is there for me but to go on?
And not just go on but go on well. Go on hard and with purpose. Move forward toward the light like everything else in the living world. Reach up and claw and scratch my way to the surface and taste the salt of my sweat (and tears). Relish in what I can do, remember how to do what I have forgotten and learn to do what I need to know.
Those are the lessons that winter is teaching me. May you come out of the Dark Season with your own hope and knowledge and may you use them well.
The name of the holiday is Imbolc. Oh, you forgot? We often do. I notice mostly that those of us in the colder zones of the country tend to let this one pass right over. We are all too busy staying warm, cursing subzero, prepping for the latest Snowmaggedon, etc. As I noted in my LAST POST, life is tough right now in terms of immersing oneself in the seasons. To put it bluntly, winter is still here and it still sucks.
But, since Imbolc's roots are based around those very first signs that winter's hold is getting ever so slightly less tight on the world, I’m trying to shift my focus a little bit here. I’m trying to feel it, this rustling….and I feel it like this…
Deep below the frozen ground where rooted things have retreated to sleep something stirs…
Mother, may we wake now?
…and stretches ever slightly upward, beginning the journey toward the light. Soon it will burst forth from the dirty forest floor and covered with the debris and the aftermath of the fall, shivering at the remaining icy breath of winter, it will uncurl itself and declare that it lives and that it wants…
The nights have grown less long.
…light and hope and the joyful sounds of the forest in spring. Somewhere, a robin lifts her head and turns toward the wind, knowing that despite the frigid howl of the darkness, there is warmth approaching on a fast horse…
I faintly hear the calling of a robin’s song.
…and a bear slumbers beneath a rocky crag and dreams of the rhythmic sound of hoof beats. Closer and closer to the surface of wakefulness she flutters until her eyes begin to open and the beating she feels is that of her own heart…
Asleep we’ve been under the ground.
…and a tree creaks and moans in the wind as its sap slowly warms and the tiniest spark inside of what will soon be a bud that will then become a leaf glistens and the tree knows…
While snow falls softly all around.
…just like the earth knows and those of us who wait know that winter is long and hard and unforgiving. We know that we are tired and worn. We are cold and aching from work. Our souls are tattered with frost and we feel beaten. We feel defeated…
But Mother, we must wake now.