Welcome back to SunnyRoomStudio.
It’s Year Five in this sunny space for kindred spirits, and this is my 5th journal entry for our 2014 spiritual journal: Turning Within. To remind: posts will be brief, but introspective. I hope you will keep your own journal. The external world can feel glittery and compelling; we are easily distracted.
Yet, self-awareness, self-discovery, and spiritual realization spring from within.
- ENTRY FIVE: Turning Within
The new day arises, we glance outside (no, it didn’t snow; forecast was wrong again), we feed our pets, open the door for them and watch them wander around the backyard. Sometimes a few cardinals sing along in the background.
The wind is strong, it’s only in the low 30s, but it’s April … so there is hope for sunnier, warmer mornings.
The cat gazes outside from the sliding glass door, hoping to see a squirrel, a bird. She listens, doesn’t move.
Noises come from the kitchen, coffee being made.
Your mind wants to review the day: priorities, time, lists.
But you pull your robe closer, not wanting to release the morning.
The dogs are back at the door, looking up at you with expectant eyes … waiting for you to let them in.
Filled with new energy they run around with stuffed toys–an owl that hoots, a tweeting bird–in their mouths. Except the senior dog isn’t quite so interested, he watches the two year old schnauzer, as though puzzled by his antics.
You notice the book of poetry you’re reading near your favorite chair in the living room. It’s by a wonderful author, Mary Oliver, and it’s called: Dog Songs.
Every poem you’ve read has made you smile, made you pause and linger with her words and the way she captures life — life with dogs.
But you’re also reading An American Childhood by Annie Dillard; the paperback perched at the end of the couch under a lamp. At night, you’re reading Truth and Beauty by Ann Patchett — learning about someone named Lucy Grealy for the first time. You wonder how you missed the book in 2004; it’s the story of a college friendship that endures despite a great deal of anguish and pain and the complications of finding one’s place in the world. Grealy, author and poet, is now deceased, since the age of 39 (reportedly from a heroin overdose), and Patchett continues to publish award winning books. You realize while reading such books that everyone leads the same life … although the external forces and factors may look different.
Maybe you wonder about the morning headlines — what tragedy has struck, have they found the plane, are the politicians still promising the moon. And are the television personalities still talking about nothing.
Many projects await you in your office — if you’re a writer, like me. Books in progress, poems in progress, ideas in progress, and this spiritual journal is also in progress.
I decide to linger with the morning a bit longer than usual.
I’m not ready to think, to act, to swing into motion, to keep up with the endless demands of life. I enjoy some dark coffee with a bit of cream; take a few deep breaths. Does any of it matter tries to float into my awareness …
So I turn within: confront the thought directly.
It matters. In a paradoxical kind of way, the routine of life … matters. Not what we “do” so much (that part is fleeting), but when we are fully aware of being alive as the moments emerge and fade like soap bubbles, then each breath matters.
I wonder … were you able to capture your morning, or were you swept away by the “shoulds” of life? Expectations swirling in your head, anxiety building like steam? ~dh
“I alternate between thinking of the planet as home – dear and familiar stone hearth and garden –
and as a hard land of exile in which we are all sojourners.”
― Annie Dillard, Teaching a Stone to Talk: Expeditions and Encounters
For your journals:
Only within each fully aware breath are we truly “here.” The rest is just sleepwalking.
Living in an unconscious state, going through the motions of all things superficial.
Can you devote a few minutes each day to knowing that you are here?
Thanks so much for being here. Journal entries post every other Friday morning (next entry: April 18th). Hope you are keeping a journal, too; at the close of this series, we will definitely compare notes.
- If you missed the earlier posts in this series, click here: Turning Within.
- My next Studio Guest is author Richard Gilbert on April 11th. His new memoir is called, Shepherd.
- Remember: If you haven’t looked within, you haven’t looked.
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