Guru Yoga Retreat, 200o
photo: Wib Middleton
I am writing this with Humpty Dumpty's head - hard boiled - on my shoulders. It seems we have by-passed spring and moved straight into summer; don't let the morning chill fool you, as it did me. I went to work with the rescue dogs this a.m. - with freshly shaved skull - and for one reason and another, morning turned into early afternon. Sharp blue sky, fading the mountainside colours, irrepressable sunshine. And no hat. Karen had borrowed the truck, filled with the delectable aroma of decaying trash, for a dump run, so I didn't want to walk in the heat down and then back up the hill to get a hat. For a while I wore two pieces of soaked paper towel draped on my head - a fetching accessory - but the wind disallowed that remedy. As is so often the case, it is only now, hours later, that I recognise the full effects of overexposure to the sun. Which may have moved inside my skull.
But it's glorious weather, in truth. The sky stretched vividly across the valley, the birds alive with joy, buds beginning to ornate the trees . I heard the first humming bird this week. It is definitely time for me to turn my energy back to Jetsunma's house and garden, both sadly neglected over winter. And most especially, and joyfully, because we have just heard she is coming to stay here in May!!! This is the most exhilerating news I have heard in a long long time.
When Jetsunma moved back to MD last summer, there was no sense of when those steps back to the southwest might be retraced. It was quite an adjustment for me - for all of us - to work through and live with. Not that anything in this world is certain or fixed , it was a good lesson in that, but of course, as creatures of habit we get used to a certain rhythm in our lives, on which we begin to rely. That was all swept away with a stiff, sharp broom. I sat for quite a while in a vacuum, unsure of any familiar point of reference. Of course, in a way, my surroundings had not altered, yet something fundamental had shifted. It was an opportunity to journey into myself, to re-align. To recognise that absence is potent with presence, if I choose to live it that way. This precious Valley - the place of Dakinis, of which Jetsunma is one - has been my home for 6 years now. I know she always here, in my heart. Or there, in yours. The person, the physical presence, is the treasured gift who teaches us this truth. So in some ways, the absence can be most illuminating, enabling us to begin to consider the continuum that cuts through time and space.
But still, one has to live through it, shaping one's life as best one can. Not knowing what the future will bring, but trying always to live with awareness, mindfulness, compassion and kindness. Because in its simplest form, this is the presence of our teacher, from the inside out.
So now I need to shift gears again. There is a great deal to accomplish in the next eight weeks. When I open my eyes and really look, i see the scruffy shambles of an unkempt home, and that has to change! It can, and will - as I strew the seeds, they will grow; as i water the plants, they will blossom; as I sweep the stairs, the way will be clear; as I wash the windows, I will again see; as I feed the birds, they will sing with contentment; as I hang the prayer flags, the blessings will flow. As I open my heart, with joy, my teacher will be here. This is the song I sing for us all.