Leave everything you know behind…

Lay yourself on the slab of openness
and wait for the knife of my beauty
to gash you so deep with the Beloved’s radiance
that you can never recover.

In this high place
it is as simple as this,
leave everything you know behind.
Step toward the cold surface,
say the old prayer of rough love
and open both arms.
Those who come with empty hands
will stare into the lake astonished,
there, in the cold light
reflecting pure snow
the true shape of your own face.

—David Whyte



I feel like am on a hybrid vision quest, a wanderer in a strange land. I have been given some time away from everything I know. Namely, my mom passed, left me enough of a gift to take two months off. I proceeded to rent out my cabin and headed west.

I live and breathe green living in Maine and feel aligned well with that lifestyle. Being off the grid for over 8 years now, there is a right timing for most of what I do on a daily basis. A certain consciousness begins to sequence the daily life events.  There is not much willie nillie with a small solar array. Showers, vacuuming, laundry wait. They wait until its right; right looks like the batteries are pretty charged, clear skies are anticipated and the morning sun finally finds its way to the south enough to shine brightly on the panels. When that harmonic convergence reins, it’s a free flow of power and whatever requires an outlet gets involved, be it charging the cell phone, the toothbrush, the drill, the weed wacker, the IPod, the radios, run the wash, vacuum…it’s a furry of electrical happenings on the mountain!

I vacuumed after dark here. AFTER dark! I couldn’t put my finger on what felt so weird until I realized it was because the sun had sunk into the Pacific and here I was using an appliance with a huge electrical draw. Had I lost my mind? Wait a minute…where am I and how did this happen? It became very surreal, as if I was an alien on another planet. I am no longer required to be tied to the patterns, moods and rhythms of the sun as it relates to daily chores. I felt a vague sense of freedom and yet I felt like something was missing. Where are the solar panels here in sunny southern California?

I went on a Sunday adventure on my bicycle. I followed the signs to a bike park made just for those on 2 wheels. It led to a river.  Like all rivers, it led to the sea. Only the banks were not lined with alders, swamp maple or enormous white pine. These river banks were lined with cement and people from all walks of life. When I came upon the cement-lined river, I named it ugly. Then, I became ugly and even cried. “Do these people think this is beauty??” With one belief in one instant I went from peaceful warrior to hardened, ugly  individual, separated from everything and everyone. I longed for home. I despaired. I became like the cement that I judged, hard and cold.

Flowers do not labor nor toil, whether growing up through a crack in the concrete or in a pristine meadow. Flowers do not seem to mind where they are at all. They do not shout out, react, nor complain. This flower wanted to see if she could bloom regardless of circumstance. It’s easy to bloom on the side of a mountain in Maine with perfect growing conditions. Can this flower grow here in the wilds of one of the largest cities in America??

I continued biking, following the river west to the ocean. I passed every shade of color in the passers-by and every shade of gray under the sky as if it were carrying in the tide. I was taken by all the eyes that met mine, all the smiles that greeted me. I was moved by humanity’s face looking back at me whispering, “I belong here, too.”


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