Satisfied is how i feel right now.
When i go a layer deeper than my mind’s quick assessment, I experience, here in my seat, a cell tingling, spacious fountain of life flowing, lingering zing of hummingbird in spirals of ears, fresh earth pushing up under nails, expanding feet serving squatting tail of kangaroo as I gaze at the freshly weeded garden and the growing green ones freed of buttercup’s gallant attempt to invade their growing space.
Two hours in the rain, removing the deeply rooted, tenacious species of buttercup from taking over Paradise, has delivered me into a satisfaction that is visceral, mindful and meaningful.
A young woman was staying with me in the fall, and after a day of harvesting apples and pears, while we shared dinner from the garden, she said “I don’t think I’ve ever felt so satisfied in my body.” We both shared how earlier in our lives, either in school fitness class or gyms, and even in other wonderful and nourishing movement and embodied practices, this particular felt sense of satisfaction had alluded us. Something about collaborating with the earth herself in co-creating nourishing food, and the physical experience of engaging the movement of life for this purpose, had delivered us into this deep felt sense of contentment and satisfaction.
Both of us meditators, also agreed that we experienced more ease in landing into our daily practice. The mind satisfied through the embodiment of our time moving with the green ones offered us a solid place to land, without the usual fidgets of a body whose “need barrel” had gone untended in the minds increasing capacity to drag humans through a day without being engaged with the natural world in both receptively listening and tangibly creative ways.
Years ago, one of my teachers once encouraged me to take at least an hour outside in nature once a day to balance my work in the bookstore, Yoga studio, and a generally inside orientation to my days. If we don’t, she said, we cannot call ourselves “human.” Imagine!! Having to be told to expand my perceptions and include the natural world!
David Whyte, a wonderful poet says “we are the only part of creation that can refuse to be itself.”
Hmmmm, what are we becoming? (perhaps another card for a future deck of Question Everything II)
And, why would we refuse to be ourselves?
The buttercup today became the embodiment of the weeds of mind. Each plant has it’s own root set and then sends out shoots in every direction to create more of itself. The web these “masters of disguise” create is massive and well, down right invasive to edible verdant ones. They often attempt to appear as hearty geraniums, but don’t be fooled!!! I know I said they were “tenacious” earlier, which is how my friend Robin Wheeler liked to call “invasive plants,” however with buttercups I defer! Invasive, overbearing, intruding, aggressive little beings. They do have flowers, which is in some way redeeming, however as I look out over the horse pasture and see how much room they take up, I am reminded of what some old gardeners called them – “the white man’s foot print.”
These buttercup roots are like the beliefs, perceptions and general tonal of an invasive culture that then sends out shoots into every aspect of life, kidnapping the young verdant ones, attempting to listen to and hearing a distant call to be beneficial, life supporting and a part of creation.
As I drove to town this afternoon the CBC had a woman on speaking about Partica- paction and how only 5% of our youth actually get the “recommended daily requirement of exercise.”
Perhaps we are inviting our young ones into engaging the movement of life in a very – shall i say “ass backwards” approach. We tell them “it’s good for you” and give them artificial forms to follow, but do we give them a direct experience of this “goodness.” We tell them they need to do it for their health, but do we give them a direct experience of feeling healthy as a result of their “exercise regime?” We give them testing to determine their levels of fitness, but have we invited them into the sensual, living, changing organismically intelligent life of nature unfolding in each moment in what we call “body?”
In my experience, meaning follows experience. In our culture we put the cart before the horse and give meaning without experience.
Joseph Campbell said it like this:
“People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning to life…I think that what we’re really seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonance within our innermost being and reality, so that we can actually feel the rapture of being alive.”
In creating Question Everything, a deck of inquiry, the process unfolded in just this way. First the images came out of the young women’s inquiry to collage images of what was alluring or calling them at that moment in time – when they were 13 – 17 years of age. The questions came after their first year of university, when I found the collages and we decided to create a deck of cards with them. The questions came after sitting with the images and free associating together and then dream weaving a question we all could agree with.
The year between when we leave high school and enter the next phase of our journey can be a tumultuous one for sure! Buttercup ideas abound!! Listening to what has heart and meaning for us over what our parents, the culture, or our peers are oriented towards is challenging. To listen to our direct experience in all it’s facets – felt sense, thoughts, longings, interests, and unique callings is a learned experience. We need models – nature is the perfect one!
Being with the green ones offers a mirror of the dreaming earth in all her facets. The diversity offers up endless possibilities for being. We feel ourselves in the heart of something large, embraced in the web of a vast dreaming and immersed in the direct experience of belonging.
My morning movement practice has even moved outside the studio and into the heart of the verdant ones. Welcome to my “gym.”
I vote for a year off in nature after high school to listen, move and breath in the central part of a giant leafy green shoot, more commonly known as earth. What would we become with this kind of perceptual education??
Better still, let’s include the green ones in our “curriculum” from the day we arrive. Experience first. Meaning? – well, in it’s own sweet time!
Satisfied with the simple embodied appreciation of inhabiting our place in the web of life, (not to be confused with the tangled web of buttercup thinking,) we are home, human and humble (from the word humus – of the earth.)
And for the coming days, one of my favorite collages, and a question to inquire into:
How is your perception blooming?