Learning to Dance

Explorations in the Spiritual Life

Date: May 4, 2004

evening

The wind was amazing today. I’m not sure why I noticed it as much as I did, for I’ve been in stronger winds, and seen more dramatic weather. It had a flair to it, a style, a way which it whipped about and brought smells and movement. Maybe it was because after some warm days a cool breeze is intensely delectable. Tonight the full moon shines from the east through the branches of the cedar, just reaching onto my balcony. The whole sky is lit with its light, the big dipper, my usual sight, is only barely distinguishable. A soothing hum of wind along the mountainsides relaxes shoulders I did not even know were tense, easing a soul which was at a fair bit of ease already. On my window crawls a very white moth, drawn by the light inside. He doesn’t want in as much as he think he does.

This was a day back on track, the first in a while, the first in which I did that which was exactly how I want to spend a day. And the end result is a sense of confidence, of joy, of expectation and patience. On days in which I lose my way, or am diverted to tasks necessary but not my call, I find myself feeling doubt, feeling nervous, wondering what others think. On days in which I really get to that which I feel is why I am here, living in the present by doing the tasks as I ought, I could care less what others think, my soul confirms for me the boundaries. Yes, there are still questions, but the difference is I have hope in the answers.

There is only grace to live this life when I do that which I am called to do. When a person is extended into the hands of God, trusting him for very life and being, then losing sight of the goal means more than a simple distraction. The path is discovered by finding peace, feeling grace, knowing joy, the presence of the Spirit revealed. If one attunes oneself increasingly this becomes another sense, not trusting in sight or even logic as much as this instinctual pursuit of the perfect path. Learning this, closing one’s eyes and walking in faith, begins with torn up legs, as one stumbles into the brush. Eventually, the walk becomes a jog, the job becomes a run, and no matter the twists and turns one is so attuned to the ways of the Spirit, the path ahead becomes crystal clear. That is the Spiritual walk.

The trick is trust, I think, trusting this sense in us. I think most people have this awareness, the difference comes in how much they listen to that small voice whispering directions. When it diverges from our plans, or even apparent reality, we distrust, and no longer walk right, feeling a confusion we ourselves have brought on. When we step back, embrace that which is right, walking the path, no matter where it leads, then we find a life at the end of the road we would never have imagined. Maybe that is what this present time is about. Anyone would heed words of success, of honor, of companionship. To forsake all of this, for an elusive goal, that takes a bit more trust. Maybe I am not growing in my bank account or resume, as much as growing in my awareness, becoming attuned to the way of the Spirit, understanding the pitch and tone, and becoming sensitive to divergence and harmony. Only in paths which are not according to our own can we learn to distinguish the various voices. Maybe.

Otherwise we may convince ourselves we are following God, doing God’s service, when all the while it is our voice we are following, our path which we forge, forgetting him for the sake of worship which he is not asking for. Ethics is easy on the extremes. Don’t kill, do help someone in need. It is another matter when two choices are right, and one may be even more right according to some principles, but not in God’s present plan. That was the failing of Saul. He disobeyed not by doing terrible evil (David seems to be a much worse man), but by continually misstepping in the area of obedience. David made mistakes, but they were just the usual sins. When it was a matter of the right path, he always sought God.

This makes sense to me, more as I write. We learn obedience by doing that which is not in our heart to do, we learn humility by giving up our rights and honor. We do not learn by doing what we want to do, or living just as our station allows. These are taught by giving up, releasing our ownership, signing away our rights, so that at the end of the road we may taste a sweet freedom, one that comes out of our soul, rather than due to our will.

I’ll have to wrestle with these thoughts some more, but for now I think I’m going to bed.

Oh, the black dog I mentioned yesterday, the one chased by coyotes, seemingly lured into a trap. It was meandering down the street today, a smile on his face. He does in fact know his way around.

morning

It was an early morning for me. I woke up at four, because of a barking dog, and decided to go ahead and get up. Falling back to sleep never really works out for me. So, I enjoyed the sunrise, the early morning visit by the junco, the perambulatory raven on the hillside. The latter sparked my attention as I’ve begun a new quest to get some good ravens pictures of my own. Everyone needs a quest in life, and this one is not as easy as it sounds, for ravens are aware, and they are not eager to be near people.

This one flew off and away when I walked out, continuing my developing habit of barefoot hiking. I wandered where it flew, and it flew some more. I wandered there, and… again it flew. So I came back, with some distant pictures from a camera without a good zoom.

Then, I saw it, in the middle of the driveway, along the bank with a stick in its beak. I brought my camera up, and may have taken a picture of it flying, two feet above the driveway down to the street, then up to its tree. We’ll see, when I get the pictures developed.

The morning was spent mostly in writing, pursuing that which gives me light and peace. I feel anxious to get back to the older stuff, the stuff I started seemingly so long ago, but I feel a need to finish the present project first. It is slow going, for distractions abound, and many of them are good ones. I also want to write at my peak times, not wishing to waste the space. This morning I did all of this, and may still continue.

Something curious has happened over the last couple of days. Well, not that curious I suppose, only a change. I’ve become intensely more aware of everything outside. It is easy to become used to the mountain flora and fauna, to expect it, to lose the sense of the beauty of sight and sound and smell. I drift away from this awareness. Not now. I go outside and everything is intensely interesting. I notice the little bees flying around, the larger dragonflies, all the little ants. The many wildflowers are adding color all around, and much of my morning was spent trying to give names to these beautiful blooms. Periwinkle is growing along the stumps, along both sides of the driveway. Mountain wallflower is rising boldly at the top, a shot of bright orange against the light colored dirt. All in this yard ground irises are revealing themselves, light purple with a showy form.

Ravens continue to be busy, a junco continues to visit, jays screech, squirrels forage, finding hidden stores of nuts. Everything is so fascinating to me I feel overwhelmed, each little part an intricate miracle.

The cool breeze makes this a nicer day, bringing the smells of spring inside. And there is no sounds of mechanical equipment, nor construction, nor anything human produced. It is noisy in the way that forests are noisy, a delightful and refreshing, and restorative sound.

I yearn to take this all in, to become a person who can, who understands, whose soul is enlarged enough to walk in this world with a continued sense of amazement. I weary of those thing which bind, and break, and which throw confusion into my life.

And so I continue with my day, finding peace in this moment, as I am called to do.

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