The Time of Stones

The seasons have turned abruptly, with our mild autumn days letting go into the first freeze of the year. Sunday was that turning, the frost softened by a bright, bright sun in a blue, blue sky, all the trees blazing with color. A few days before, I had lifted out four special stones that had marked the directions of our fire circle. If we move away in winter, they would be buried under snow and ice, and I wanted to take them with us in our search for greener housing.

One stone is from Nitassinan, from a visit many years ago to Lac St. Jean, a link to my ancestors from the north. Two of the stones are from the Seneca Women’s Peace Camp, a link to those life-transforming months camping on the land. The fourth stone is a rose quartz given to me by a friend long ago.

I think of these stones as I wait for news about the cost of house renovations, and I wait for news from a publisher about my book manuscript. Stones must have such a different view of time than I do. Each morning, I feel a little breathless, wondering if this will be the day something opens up. But a stone must see my whole lifetime as merely a comma in their thousand year journey.

I wonder what they make of my affection, and the travels I carry them on? The time they’ve spent in drawers or boxes? I think they liked being part of the fire circle, half buried in the earth, holding a position of sacredness. To unearth them now is also unearthing my own heart from this beloved place, ready for change, ready for turning, waiting for the way to become clear.

Stones remind me that there is no rush, that our human sense of time is in many ways an illusion. Take the long view. Go where you are carried. Remember everything. Cultivate stillness.Stone Circle

Advertisements

A Meditative Journey Into Your Own Emptiness

Walking MD DSC05318

Margy Dowzer Photo

I invite you now to take a small journey into your own emptiness.  I invite you to sit comfortably and notice your breathing.

Imagine that you are walking at a leisurely pace down a path in a meadow.

Ahead of you, you see an old oak tree by the path.  As you slowly come near to it, you find a pile of stones in the path blocking your way.Stones in Path MJ DSC04228_2

I invite you to take a minute to pause and remember the unfinished projects in your life, the clutter you want to clear away. Imagine them like these stones in the pathway.

As you remember each project, imagine that you lift a stone from the road, and place it in a huge pile under the oak tree.

After a few minutes, if you haven’t finished clearing all your projects and stones, I invite you now to move just one more stone under the oak, to represent all the rest.  

Then slip around the outside of the path to continue on. And imagine the wind of your breathing gently blowing over the top of the stone pile.

Now you are walking further on the trail, past the oak tree, through a field. Ahead of you, you notice a majestic willow tree next to a peaceful brook. As you reach the brook, you find a large empty basket floating in the water.

I invite you to take a minute to notice the unresolved emotions you carry in your heart, the old conflicts and entanglements. Imagine these old emotions like objects in a back pack, weighing you down.

As you notice each old emotion, take it out of your back pack, and place it gently in the huge basket in the brook.

After a few minutes, if there are still more unresolved emotions in your heart, I invite you to place one more object in the basket, to represent everything else you cannot resolve at this time.

And now imagine the water of the brook gently taking away the basket in the wind of your breath, until you can no longer see it.

River MJ DSC00578

Continue on the trail, past the willow tree. Ahead of you, you now see a garden of rose bushes, with brilliant red flowers, and thorns. As you come close to the roses, you see that they are in a circle, around a large compost heap.

I invite you to take a minute to notice all the ways that you try to get other people to behave according to your expectations. Notice the ways you try to control, to be effective, or to be right.

Red Rose MJ DSC00893Imagine each of these maneuverings like old rotten fruit in your backpack. As they come to mind, toss the rotten fruit lightly over the roses and thorns, into the compost.

After a few minutes, I invite you to take your backpack itself in your hands, to represent all that is unconsciously driven in your heart, and toss it too over the roses into the compost.

Imagine that the roses are growing taller and more beautiful, and they are swaying slightly in the wind of your breathing.

Then you continue on the trail.

Ahead of you there is an apple tree. Under the apple tree there is a shady spot.

I invite you now to think about all the roles you fill in people’s lives. Imagine each of these roles as a heavy coat you are wearing.

As you think of a role, take off that coat, and place it on the ground beneath the apple tree.

Finally, see yourself in a comfortable summer outfit. You have nothing to carry.Apple DSC01750

You reach up and take a bright ripe red apple from the tree. You take a bite, and it is sweet and crisp. You sit down on the ground cover formed by the coats.

You hear the wind of your breathing blow like music across the grass. It is enough.