The universe is always speaking to us. That, I believe. I’ve written before about the various themes and totems that have emerged at various points in time: bird nests in bare trees, the moon rising in the late-day sky, hearts all over the place. I also think there is a subconscious message in the quotes and lyrics and poems that come to mind at different moments, as well as in the particular memories we recall.
Right now, what I keep on thinking about, prompted by cues both literal and figurative, is waking up.
I think I am waking up.
Annie Dillard’s line that “we wake, if we ever wake at all, to mystery” has pushed itself insistently into my head, over and over again. It’s running across my thoughts like a banner advertisement lately.
And then I read Katrina Kenison’s beautiful words about waking up, prompted by David Whyte’s poetry. I was in tears reading her reminder that “…I can wake up. I can pay attention to the subtle currents of my life, and allow them to carry me in a new direction. I can feel my feelings, rather than avoid them. I can be fully present, rather than half here. I can wake up to the challenges of the journey, the conversation I don’t want to have, my fears about where I’m headed, the truth of who I am, the gifts and and losses of my life as it is.”
Those were the two prompts that established waking up as a theme right now for me, and in their wake it was was Roethke I couldn’t stop hearing: “I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.” Yes, there is no question I’m taking my waking slow. It’s been a process of years, hasn’t it? Slow, with many returns to sleep, but here I am, unequivocally awake, with all the undeniable joys and horrors that that entails.
But I am waking up. And there’s no going back to sleep.
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