I am happy to be back. This is where I pause to breathe, and breathing and the pause are very big for me. When I spoke at Esalen, Sharon Olds "got" that when she was stumped with writer's block, that if she paused to notice her breath, she would wiggle on through the slump. I don't think about it that way, but when I spoke of my book at the publishing workshop, people "got" that it was a spiritual book. Since I had not planned to "bill" it as a spiritual book, I am this morning with what spirituality means to me. To begin, I look up the definition of spiritual and it really says nothing at all.
For me, spirituality is connection, connection with the breath, noticing where it wiggles in and out, how I am touched and where. I notice that my cat Tiger lies exposed, allows air to flow on all sides, whereas little Bella likes to tuck into a pillow on a chair. I see trust in how and where they sleep. I think for me, spirituality is touch, connection, the breath, and feeling how much we all share, so I suppose the book is spiritual. It is about the pause, and entering a slower place where one feels their own breath and how it mingles, influences, and touches the breath of others. I think it is very important to live so that our breath has freedom and ease. Perhaps, for me, that is spiritual.
The fog is in, and I am softly tucked with my two furry, sleeping friends.
May this weekend give you a chance to reflect on the veil between the worlds. I am reminded now of a poem I wrote about that. I wrote it after a visit to a wonderful, little pond, a break in a rapidly falling stream. I was staying in Vicki's yurt in Ukiah. The water truly did shake in a way that allowed us a vision into another world. The toad was our guide. For me, nature is spiritual and says it all. I lean in to listen and breathe in what is said in trees, leaves, and ponds.
We sit by a pool,
a seasonal pool,
a barrette on the braid of a stream.
Newts hang, dangling,
dark and still.
A toad sits on a stone
as though thinking a book.
Thought strings lanterns.
Water striders pucker the surface, like stars.
We think we see deeply,
until a shimmering romp shakes a depth so clear,
We see ourselves from the other side,
lifted on the palm of a giant love.
The Zuni say,
The distance between the living and the dead
is thinner than a strand of hair.
Life stretches through layers of cohesion, bonds.