Sunday, September 26, 2010

Grounding myself ...

Hidden Falls, St. Paul, MN
This next week is going to be a crazy week for me. It begins today with all day meetings ... i'm on the board of directors of an animal welfare coalition (Minnesota Partnership for Animal Welfare) and of Pet Haven Inc of Minnesota. I am participating in a 4 hour strategic planning session for a coalition and a board meeting for Pet Haven. And before my first meeting I plan to get a 6 - 7 mile run in along the river. I'm waiting for the sun to rise and for it to be light which should be at around 7 am.

This coming week is a busy work week with travel Monday through Saturday. Tomorrow morning I leave on a business trip ... first to Champaign, Illinois then to Chicago then I come home for one night, to turn around the next day and head to Las Vegas. I'll be teaching workshops and giving presentations and universities in Illinois and Las Vegas. This past week has been a busy week preparing for this upcoming week. I finally come home Saturday night from Vegas and have one full day to rest and recover and prepare for my surgery on Monday, 10/4. In some ways, I'm glad I have a busy week ahead of me. It will help keep my mind off of the worry of the growing lump in my breast ... and all the crazy scenarios that can be played in one's mind. On the other hand, I know the importance of staying grounded ... in mind and body.

I love trees ... especially trees with massive roots. Oftentimes the roots are below the surface ... yesterday while on a walk in my neighborhood along the Mississippi River I was able to take a bunch of photos and the photo above of this tree was one of many I took ... at the edge of the river was this old tree with roots so massive it screamed groundedness to me -- solid, sturdy, steadfast. What a beautiful contrast to then watching the flowing river. As I stood by the edge of the river I watched a young man prepare for his long journey in his canoe. He had 3 friends come to send him off ... we asked where he was going "I'm going to New Orleans!" he said with a smile on his face as he paddled away. We asked, "How long will it take you?" .... "I'll get there in January," and off he went ....

There's something about trees that remind me to stay rooted in the earth, in my body, and in the present moment. The more rooted I am and the more grounded I can be in the moment and allowing the roots to be nourished by the earth ... the more I will be able to grow and to reach upward and outward towards the skies and light. If I don't ground myself, I will just float away and disappear. Sometimes it's necessary to just escape, to disappear ... but it's important to always come back, to our body, to our center, to our roots ... to earth.

This young man embarked on a long journey yesterday afternoon. I admire the young man. What courage ... grounded, yet free.

Yesterday, while running on my treadmill at home I was listening to an archive of Krista Tippet's NPR show "Being" ... where she was interviewing Joanna Macy. On that show Joanna read the most beautiful poem, Let this Darkness be a Bell Tower, by Rilke.

Quiet friend who has come so far,
feel how your breathing makes more space around you.
Let this darkness be a bell tower
and you the bell. As you ring,

what batters you becomes your strength.
Move back and forth into the change.
What is it like, such intensity of pain?
If the drink is bitter, turn yourself to wine.

In this uncontainable night,
be the mystery at the crossroads of your senses,
the meaning discovered there.

And if the world has ceased to hear you,
say to the silent earth: I flow.
To the rushing water, speak: I am.

I need to ground myself in the silent earth so that I can allow my spirit to flow freely like the river.

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