The image above is from a beach on Whidbey Island. From my recent trip, two weeks ago. It is looking north and west into the Puget Sound near Bush Point. One of the things I love to do on such a beach is stack stones and shells. Simple moments of balance and spaciousness. Impermanence given temporary form.
Words of balance and spaciousness often come to me. One time said a particular way. Another time changed by the tide and reconfigured with difference yet repeating theme. I love the feeling of simple words to dwell in, and to connect a wee bit of continued life and of continued intention.
This morning, these simple words stacked for me. A mix of what I sometimes share to guide others, and what I inevitably return to in myself, to also guide.
Just be. Dwell in self. Inhabit self. Breathe fully in and and fully out.
I am in several conversations these days about purpose and meaning. With teams that I’m working with. With colleagues old and new. With family. With participants in the programs I get to be a part of offering.
It’s not new to be in these conversations. However, it is renewing.
One of those conversations is about what it takes to bring circle — deliberate process for turning to one another rather that away — in hierarchical circumstances where the pattern of circle is foreign or even disparaged.
It occurs to me that these conversations require rather immense courage to invoke seemingly small things. It takes courage to interrupt a pattern with the suggestion akin to, “…perhaps there are other ways that we could share our learning together here that brings more wisdom and clarity…” It takes courage to name form that contributes to a relational path — “…let’s begin with a check-in that invites a bit of presence; let’s close with a check-out that invokes a bit of witness…” Courage for seemingly small things that in the bigger story are about growing a culture of connection.
In these conversations, I enjoy them most when they are oriented to learning. Learning practice. Learning orientations. Learning granular steps that have impact. Learning refreshed pictures of the broader view.
It is learning, and sharing, and integrating — with kindness, with consciousness, and with flow — that have a way of restoring lot of purpose and meaning in groups.
I meandered and wondered on the weekend. Into old friendships and old companionships. Into food and scotch, and night-time dreams shared over coffee. Into an island that has meant so much to me over the last 25 years.
I love so many of David Whyte’s poems, who resides on Whidbey. So today, I pull one of his forward that honors that quiet of listening and encountering that he writes of and that so many of us wish for.
It Happens To Those Who Live Alone David Whyte
It happens to those who live alone that they feel sure of visitors when no one else is there,
until the one day and one particular hour working in the quiet garden,
when they realize at once, that all along they have been an invitation to everything and every kind of trouble
and that life happens by to those who inhabit silence
like the bees visiting the tall mallow on their legs of gold, or the wasps going from door to door in the tall forest of the daisies.
I have my freedom today because nothing really happened
and nobody came to see me. Only the slow growing of the garden in the summer heat
and the silence of that unborn life making itself known at my desk,
my hands still dark with the crumbling soil as I write and watch
the first lines of a new poem, like flowers of scarlet fire, coming to fullness in a new light.
I’ve just enjoyed the weekend on Whidbey Island, celebrating life with a few friends. Walks in forest and along beaches. Foods that were yummy, salty, sweet, and sometimes all at the same time. Stories of times recalled and of current adventures . Music that settled and soared the spirit. I’m grateful to Charles and Sarah in particular.
A highlight today to cap such weekend Whidbey time was a walk with my friend Sarah (who’s 80th birthday was a big part of the weekend) along this low tide beach this morning. Seeing things most often covered by water. Telling stories, also sometimes covered by water. Lifting imagination together, and joy, in a 6:30 start to the day.
I’m grateful for many solo walks, needed. I’m also grateful for friends, to join and be joined by, at low tide.