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27 May 2016 6 Comments

Manage Your Energy Part 83: Spiritual Retreat Experiences with My Teacher, Part 5: Studies in Balance

Manage Your Energy Part 83: Spiritual Retreat Experiences with My Teacher, Part 5: Studies in Balance

My Teacher gave the group several options for solo intensive practice. I chose a practice used to shift any urge toward revenge into allowing the Universe to effect correct karmic balance, paired with a practice to counterbalance the urge with complete forgiveness. As the most challenging of the options, I thought to practice it in the container of support offered by the spiritual retreat.

When I transitioned from doing the practice aloud to taking its essence onto the breath, the forgiveness part kept trying to change to another practice. This practice works to cultivate the experience of an inner citadel of grounded safety, and to feel safe in relations with others. I realized that not feeling safe can cause us to sustain blame, preventing balance. It seemed natural to pair the karmic balance practice with this one for safety.

In the afternoon gathering with my Teacher I asked about the viability of this pairing. I was startled when my Teacher said “That’s brilliant!” since he almost never says positive or negative things. He turned to the group IMG_3920and said, “She is an experienced practitioner, and can adjust practices to her needs.”

He asked me how I arrived at changing the practice. “It just changed itself,” I said. “I changed it back, but then it changed again, so I thought about it and realized that it made more sense to me to go for the root of the issue instead of trying to balance it.”

His comment helped me to be seen as I am by the group; to have my insights valued instead of being treated like a rogue element as I might be by anyone rule-bound enough to think it’s not okay to change what he suggests.

That morning he had said, “I’m a little hoarse.”

I couldn’t resist mumbling, “A pony?” We were mainly on silence, and I was quick to accost myself for this lack of discipline.

He stopped and asked me to repeat what I said, perplexed. I clarified: “A pony is a little horse,” relieved to see him laugh. He told the group that at his house they have an ongoing contest for the worst pun. This may seem trivial, but his care to include me in ways that allowed the group to receive me well is kindness in action.

Part of my Teacher’s job is to rattle people’s cages. This is a service to those who wish to awaken—which can be uncomfortable no matter how lovingly done. He is an enemy to assumptions, automatic behaviors, and limiting beliefs. He can be curt and direct if someone presumes. He tells people to get on with it if they over-explain—which I find relieving.He doesn’t give a crap what anyone thinks of him, so if someone under his care interacts with him, they expose their ego to his keen discernment.

I wince sometimes, but the discomfort is worth the insight. Lessons often require contemplation when they come through body language and energy, without words.

As I described in prior posts, he is gracious and compassionate about traits one is yet unable to manage, and gently protective with respect to tender territory in the heart and budding impulses from the soul.

Standing or sitting close to my Teacher can be a bit odd. I must assume that he will notice my motivations, energy, and the extent to which I am or am not applying myself. As for whatever goes through my head, I’m sure he’s generally not interested—but I never really know for sure. As in every relationship, it is still important not to expect him to know something I haven’t communicated.

Two nights before the end of the retreat my Teacher laid his hat on a platform beside his chair. I thought it would be fun to put it on. I love tuning in to his crown chakra. Wearing his hat would be a playful way to feel close.

The last morning of the retreat he was again wearing that hat. I had a taxi coming soon. As I said goodbye between dances, he playfully put his hat on my head while we talked, grinning like a jack-o-lantern.

Are you willing to experience discomfort to gain insight?

What types of discomfort serve to free us, and which kinds keep us mired in our personality patterns?

20 May 2016 3 Comments

Manage Your Energy Part 82: Spiritual Retreat Experiences with My Teacher, Part 4: Freeing Up Shame and Humiliation

Manage Your Energy Part 82: Spiritual Retreat Experiences with My Teacher, Part 4: Freeing Up Shame and Humiliation

“Imagine the broken places inside you are magnets for light.” ~Tawwaba

Learning to recognize, resonate with and reproduce different qualities of energy develops inner freedom and awareness, in addition to personal mastery.

The next stage of the spiritual retreat worked with paired qualities relating to feeling cast down into shame and humiliation, and being raised up and recognized for success. This practice assists in learning to be unattached to the highs we experience, and not pulling away from or wallowing in difficult experience.

The fall from a high state is inevitable. Learning to discover value and insight in all states, without clinging to them, is an important objective. Suffering, as the Buddhists tend to point out, is caused by attachment and aversion.

The aim of alternating intentionally between humiliation and feeling elevated through success is to find the divine in both states, to release attachment to either, and to become able to move freely between them, learning what is there to learn throughout.

Through dance, energy practice, and meditation, the retreat group followed our work the qualities I just mentioned with qualities and energies that help to release blame and self blame and enhance forgiveness and balance, and some that evoke strong, clear, connected self-esteem. The last practice of the morning generated incredibly tender, unprotected-but-powerful love. We sent this love to one another as a blessing, standing to receive it, eye to eye with a number of dance partners. P1010116

Everyone has trauma. Not everyone is in touch enough to sense what it is or how it acts in shaping and restricting personality. For the most part, those who shut down their own awareness of trauma fear it having it arise. Also, since we tend to restrict in others what we cannot view or accept in ourselves, people who cannot face their own trauma tend to shut down those who communicate their own. Deeper feeling and expression get confined to breakdown or therapeutic situations. Working with the states and stages of our wounded humanity in energy-based, spiritual ways—without being psychological or singling anyone out—is freeing. This work creates openings that allow light and love to move through us without the obstructions caused by trauma.

Working also with the intention of allowing the divine to touch us, move through us, and to also be present within our tender spots is beautiful and intense. The practices allow us to see and experience ourselves and others very intimately, yet without discussion or delving into one another’s histories. Doing this feels universally human.

Of course, those few who know more about our personal journeys see more deeply into our faces and gestures and stand witness to us in a way that is both vulnerable and deeply healing. Opening the heart to attend to our different alchemy with each partner, and noticing the different flavors of each experience is a learning in itself. Some partners open us to places we have not yet touched in ourselves. Others may bring up a reflex to protect something. We can observe whether we can find a way to relax this and give of ourselves safely. Fortunately, most of the people at this particular retreat were lovely and loving and my Teacher floods us with love and creates a safe environment for practice.

What would it take for you to intentionally bring up shame and humiliation without getting stuck in them?

If you use feeling inflated or successful to avoid feeling shame, what would you need to do in order to feel safe being aware of both sets of feeling?

How can you move between them without getting stuck in either polarity?

13 May 2016 9 Comments

Manage Your Energy Part 81: Spiritual Retreat Experiences with My Teacher, Part 3: Learning from The Glance

Manage Your Energy Part 81: Spiritual Retreat Experiences with My Teacher, Part 3: Learning from The Glance

“The heart is a vehicle for the light of the soul to shine through.” ~SAM Lewis

Some esoteric schools use the glance to transmit light, or the energy of different states. The glance can also be used for healing—if the practitioner has garnered and refined a great deal of magnetism.

Learning from the intersection of my inner experience with my Teacher’s glance is powerful and profound. I learn a great deal through his glance— not only its quality, but the timing of when he shares or withholds it. I would almost call this timing “strategic,” except that it is not contrived, controlling, or the result of a mental process, but a natural outcome of living within the flow of Guidance.

It’s taken me some years of experience to understand the complexity of my Teacher’s glance. It is a phenomena. I have had learned lessons through several glances that could not have well been conveyed with Version 2words. Outside of those moments, these things have been consistent:

He pretty much never looks at me when I feel uncomfortable being looked at, want inner privacy, or I want him to for the wrong reasons, such as if I am needy, or coming from personality instead of my essence.

He almost always looks at me when I actually need him, as in when I am extremely vulnerable or shaky entering an unfamiliar state, or raw and facing something deep. His glance is then a tender balm, giving me courage, and I feel amazingly safe. He often looks at me when I reveal a new strength and it serves me to notice it.

The manners I just described are pretty consistent during the times when he is teaching, and less so during a meal or an incidental encounter.

Our eyes often connect in glee when someone says something that strikes us as strangely humorous, for we share an unusual sense of humor. I love those moments! Sometimes we share amazing glances across the circle during group practice, when I successfully catch the energy or state he is transmitting to serve the group, or when I enter into joy or bliss, which naturally seeks to overflow through connection. He may be walking across a room, or busy, yet if I do something kind for someone he often notices and sends me light through his eyes.

My Teacher ignores me if I am seeking to catch a state from him without sincerely aiming to reproduce it myself. He does look at me if I am edging into ego. His glance is calm then, and solid, discerning but not judging, observing. This causes me to do so as well, and when I begin to observe my state he naturally looks away.

My Teacher uses his attention to free me from internal bondage, and to open me to new places within. Alongside the power, there is a delicacy in being able to observe so keenly and to invoke someone’s self awareness without generating the awkwardness of self consciousness. In part, that possibility lives in the alchemy of our connection, including my willingness to remain open to him even if it does sometimes hurt, and to confront the dark as well as the light.

Apparently I broadcast my most private internal states, which are there to see and feel for those who have the capacity to do so. So much more than most of us care to know, those who can see are able to see the things we may hide from ourselves. Contemplating that fact is, I believe, spiritually useful.

I’m fairly certain that to feel really seen by someone requires us to be willing and able to see ourselves.

How do YOU feel about being transparent and about being seen?

What causes us to remain unseen?

5 May 2016 4 Comments

Manage Your Energy Part 80: Spiritual Retreat Experiences with My Teacher, Part 2

Manage Your Energy Part 80: Spiritual Retreat Experiences with My Teacher, Part 2

I entered one of the two dance circles as they were forming during afternoon practice session. I wanted to stand beside my Teacher—W—but allowed others to enter the circle between us. If one interferes with the natural flow to be close to him, W invariably moves. A few people dropped out of the inner circle into the outer, leaving us side by side. I then heard that this would be a partner dance. I did not turn toward W since that would have been clingy. The woman with whom I partnered whispered that I would get a chance to dance with W as the dance progressed. W—who was talking to the group at that moment—immediately moved into the outer circle.

The Dances of Universal Peace honor all spiritual and religious traditions. It was Easter. In acknowledgement, our next few dances evoked a profound sense of the blessings of Christ. One involved blessing one another with light, with our hands; pulling the energy of blessing up from the earth through the body and out the heart and hands, and pouring it into the heart of the dance partner.

I longed to experience what W’s energy looked and felt like as he did this, since I like to attune myself to him to accelerate learning. A few times I started to crane my neck to find him, but my next partner would appear before me, and respect required complete attention.

The next lovely, melodic Dance had several parts. It used Arabic names of God related to death and resurrection, and a focus on touching the wounds of others to heal them. It contained a phrase from Jesus, “Lo, I am with you always.” Dancing it, I was thinking not only of not only of the Divine, but of my link with my Teacher in connection with my spiritual Lineage.

A healthy relationship with the Teacher is both personal and impersonal. Feeling deeply connected with one Being, as a stand-in for All Beings, with the intention of learning to connect with All, is a way to start learning to feel spiritually connected with the Divine in All.

A zikr/dervish chant part of the dance formed a rousing and joyful counterpoint to the more personal partner part. It encouraged experiencing Unity. My heart sprang to embrace this joy. In the moment before the dance moved on, my glance unexpected joined with my Teacher’s from across the room, a shared flash of Version 2light and heightened emotion.

As the dance ended, I noticed one of the musicians was in tears. He had been going though a painful transition. I noticed an exceptionally sweet flow of loving compassion coming down through me and out my eyes and hands. My heart overflowed and my eyes filled with tears. I was startled to realize that the vibration of Christ was coming through me. I had gone into the open-handed, relaxed stance associated with Jesus.

The moment I became aware that it was happening I started to become self conscious and to censor this. To my surprise, my eyes were drawn like a magnet to the spot I did not yet know my Teacher was standing. Light streamed toward me, his eyes full of tears. He was experiencing what was happening within me—and feeding it.

Earlier, the group had done a walking practice, seeking to attune with Christ and allow that quality of mercy and compassion to move through our bodies. We next practiced the walk of Mary. W said that Mary did not need to pull away from people’s wounds or conditions, but could stand with people in them.

Seeking to bring these qualities through one’s self into expression takes courage. To do so genuinely instead of acting, and to allow something powerful and impersonal to express through us can feel embarrassing or strange. The work requires a safe and respectful group container.

Practicing different walks, including energies of elements and planets, requires vastly different placement of attention and energy in the body, sensory experience, motivation, and intention. The specific material is less important than the ability to fluidly express positive energies.

That evening I went into a blissful state. I had to work hard to stay grounded and remain connected with the group instead of flying off; to balance self management with merging. I sensed something pulling at me and turned half way around to discover my Teacher watching me from the outer circle. He looked mildly concerned. I copied his attunement, and pulled myself down and in without shutting down.

Sometimes I hesitate to share encounters to which many of you may not relate. Exposure to a wide variety of circumstances and possibilities can advance insight and keeps us flexible. Feel free to share experiences or responses.

If you would like to hear this Dance, with some narration by the leader and W, here is a link.

29 April 2016 4 Comments

Manage Your Energy Part 79: Spiritual Retreat Experiences with My Teacher, Part 1

“This work can’t be taught—it has to be caught!” SAM Lewis

Finding myself having a spiritual Teacher something that happened about a decade after I had given up the search and decided I did not need or want one. The fact that he was indeed my Teacher was unequivocal, and I had both to adjust to the notion and work diligently to bring it about.

In this culture, we look askance upon having a Teacher. As with the rest of life, the spiritual scene includes a lot of misguided people doing strange things together, running the range from mutual but well-meaning confusion to blatant power games and various types of abuse. I find myself wanting to share the simple joys of my own experience.

The spiritual lineage with which I am connected has a very natural way of interacting with our teachers. We P1000563love and honor them, yet we all understand that they are playing the role and figuratively wearing the mantle of Teacher. They are not held out to be better human beings than their students. Teachers are appreciated in that they help to inspire others to sense and express divine energies.

Naturally, I bring a unique type of attention into my relationship with my Teacher. (I’ll call him “W” for ease here.) It is a connection like no other, infinitely personal yet impersonal at the same time. It is about energy and essence instead of personality. W openly receives and reflects real Love, but actively and consistently pushes away any shred of attachment.

W shows amazing internal freedom and mastery. He is humble and self-effaced, and yet fierce—sometimes even startlingly abrupt if one verges into stupidity in his presence. At the same time he is one of the two people I feel the safest around. He reveals me to myself, challenges my limitations, and also subtly protects me when I am truly open and tender. He is usually grounded as a mountain, yet open and sensitive, expressing a vast array of subtle and powerful qualities of energy.

I would like to describe my experience with W over a several hour period at my retreat. The non-accidental element builds and builds:

The group did a partner dance (Dances of Universal Peace, originated by my Teacher’s Teacher) practice during which one person radiates like the sun while the other receives like the moon. Then we reverse roles. Last we go into a balanced Unity between both attributes and persons, before moving to the next partner.

I got to partner with W at one point. During the Unity part of the practice I intentionally sensed into the light at his crown chakra, sought to match mine to it, and placed my stream of light inside of his. (One’s spiritual Teacher, lineage, or the Divine are the only influences one should allow into one’s crown center, since this connection allows for direct influence.)

Smiling together as we turned in dance, we whirled on a pivotal axis of shared light, in a loving and comfortable unity. This was totally magical—a peak experience for me. This was so joyously and unequivocally mutual, feeling and noticing together without the sense of distance between souls—the painful underlying separation—that marks most human contact. It felt Divine. I removed all walls and veils and felt utterly safe and totally “seen.”

Being able to to enter into loving Oneness with all of life is a wonderful spiritual goal—yet it’s challenging to be so open. I honor W’s inner strength, being solidly enough inside himself to melt into a sense of Unity with many different types of people. I still find it hard to experience Unity with those who are not yet open to experiencing it themselves. Feeling it with one person, even for a few moments, helps me to contemplate our human potential to experience Unity consistently and with All. This ‘teaching’ occurred without words, through direct experience.

Have you had anyone in your life with whom you have experienced the joy of a spiritual and intuitive sense of Unity without being in an intimate relationship?

What brings YOU into an experience of Unity?

9 April 2016 4 Comments

A Spiritual Poem

A Spiritual Poem

Below is poem I wrote on spiritual retreat.

The word “Hu” is a name for God in the most intimate and personal but not embodied form. I used it as “Who” in my poem:

It snowed when I wasn’t looking.
I emerged from sleep to inhale the morning,
sunny and smiling; all innocent.
Birds whistled as if nothing
had happened. Hu spoke that into Being—
and why does it surprise?

Earth pushes mountains from her belly.
Planets whirl. Continents and cathedrals
crumble to Ether through a long breath out both nostrils.

Hu is watching?

In the heart of God I watch the universe
recreate Itself as breath returns.
Infinite points of frozen light,
I swirl through space, interlace vast
limbs of pine and softly settle,
a blanket of white, melting into Service.


25 December 2015 6 Comments

You Do Not Deserve God’s Love ;)

You Do Not Deserve God’s Love  ;)

We have it backwards: “You don’t get love by being good, you get good by being love.” ~TD

Issues about whether or not we deserve love are relics from childhood. Divine Love is not earned. Some might call it a birthright. I agree—but with prejudice. “Birthright” language evokes entitlement, which is often toxic. It also presupposes that we are separate from Source. Having the right to something brings Cosmic Teaup the sense of not having it, and having to demand it.

But where would we demand Love from? This again smacks of childhood wounding.

From an energy perspective, to invite higher Love we need to resonate with it. To resonate with Divine Love we become it. This means finding, sensing and feeling the quality of such Love inside—and amplifying it. Doing this is an act of creation. This does not mean it relies on fantasy. Fantasy is a sidetrack. The path is to locate the resonance of Love inside by learning to focus and call it forth from within. Then we blow on that like an ember. This takes spiritual work. Anything that stands in the way must be embraced—but not allowed to stand as a distraction.

When we have something, we can give it away. If we do not have it, it is not ours. Having Love means receiving it first. When we seek that in other people we are bound to be disappointed, as we probably were in childhood.

We do need to generate love for ourselves—but we need to catch the perfume or resonance of it somewhere in order to really grasp just what it is we are seeking. Finding Source can be very abstract. Most of us need one or more human role models to get a sense of how to ‘run’ that Love in our bodies.

The role model we choose is less important than learning to bring forth Love. Since I am writing this on Christmas eve, I would be remiss not to say that Christ could be one such model. Owing to various conceptions and experiences, that name aggravates some people, and many have belief systems that cause them to recoil from religion.

A current of Love and truth underlie and run through religions, but codes of belief do not in themselves produce the miracle called Love. Whether or not we are attracted to one or more religions, we take great benefit in identifying someone, somewhere, some time, who represents to us the possibility of being a human who is capable of experiencing and expressing the vibration of Divine Love. The word “God” can be too abstract, and also laden with freight. “Source” is abstract as well.

From where do we receive the impressions that stimulate in us true inspiration?

This is a wonderful question to ponder in this inward time of year, when we long to bring forth true joy, blessing and generosity.

Ideal Love will be a little bit different for different individuals, depending exactly which vibration of the rainbow of all love is key for that mind, heart, and soul to take the next step toward becoming it oneself. The being, saint, prophet, person, spiritual teacher, or element that inspires us may even change as we develop. It is important to learn to identify and allow our hearts to be impressed (like soft clay) by real Love when we see it, and to own as our privilege in being human, our right to enjoy and express that Love.

Having God’s love (change the g-word if it bugs you) means having it flow through us to others and into the world. It is not something we earn and then receive like an award for being a self or being good. It is something we cultivate and practice over many years or even lifetimes. Seeking to GET it enhances ego issues about deserving. We get more of it by giving. I am not talking about over-giving, driven by old wounds, I am talking about expressing from your heart.

No matter what is going on with us it is okay to allow Divine Love to come though us. If this depends on mood or being in a particular way, we will withhold it. When we let Love touch us despite our shortcomings it will help us to move beyond them, gently over time. Even if we do not move beyond them, our lives will have meaning and value because we have been vehicles for Love. There are no prerequisites. Concentration, attention and intention invite it. Noticing and making room for it when it comes helps sustain it. These are aids. There are no prerequisites.

Please feel free to comment.

I send you love in this traditional time of calling forth Light.



4 December 2015 6 Comments

Managing Your Energy Part 69: The Power of Place & Time

Managing Your Energy Part 69: The Power of Place & Time

I was initially tricked into going to Maui. At twenty-one years old, I had no interest in what I considered a tourist-trap where people went to indulge themselves. As it turns out, Maui could be considered my spiritual home.

When I landed in Maui at twenty-one, my boy friend was supposed to meet me. He taught Greek, and courses on raw foods, fasting, and intestinal cleansing. He was exceptionally smart. He could talk anyone into a paper bag and back out of it—but he was emotionally cowardly. After exhorting me to meet up with him, he left the island the morning of the day I flew in. His best friend Tim met me at the airport. Tim had studied healing with tribes in Africa. I think he was wearing Western garb instead of his loin cloth—which he’d been wearing the first time I’d met him. He had almost white hair, down to his waist, almost ice-clear pale blue eyes, and was quite darkly tanned.

Tim and I shared a tent for a few days. We maintained celibacy, despite the outrageously intense energy that practically crackled if we touched. I swear I could see spots of light where his tough, bare feet hit the ground when we hiked. Totally grounded and in the moment, Tim moved very evenly and rarely spoke. After a few days he managed to shake me off because I talked too much.

Over the next week I ran into Swami Sachadananda—who was a big deal in those days—by a waterfall. We hugged and I felt Light. Two days later, I went on a walk and discovered some people sitting on a hillock that had been hidden in brush, listening raptly to an Indian speaker. I sat down among them. The speaker was Krishnamurti. I also made a chance encounter with the person who set me on my spiritual path. Visiting later, on his land, I accidentally interrupted the man who thirty years later became my spiritual teacher. He was in the last day of a forty day retreat, and was not happy to see me. (For my part, I was shocked and trying to escape.)

I was intellectual and abstract up until this point in my life, averse to spirituality. In that location and at that timing I went through a marked change from the energies and influences to which I was then exposed.

My recent Maui trip gave me the opportunity to spend time with a number of developed healers and spiritual teachers, both during and after the scheduled event. I ran into Ram Dass the morning I left.

Ram Dass 11/2015

Ram Dass 11/2015

We have different options and experiences in different places on the globe. Each place has a different energy influence. Different days and periods of time also hold different possibilities. We tend to treat hours and days like empty containers, all the same size and shape. They are not.

What is possible in one moment is not an option in another.

Likewise, we tend to approach places expecting to be much the same person with the same interests, relationships, and values. Yet each place maintains a mystery of influence, sometimes trivial and at times profound. The influence and extent depend on our chemistry with the place. The timing at which we are exposed to the place amplifies, dampens or mediates its influence. The longer we remain at a place the more influence it exerts.

Learning to sense when to be where is life-changing.

Practice paying attention to the impact places have upon you.

Learn, if you can, to absorb the energy at places that have a good influence.

Practice sensing the best time for you to be somewhere. This can be as simple as leaving to go to the store at a moment when the energy supports it, instead of being automatic, or as challenging as feeling into the best time for a trip, an interview, a gathering, or time alone. Optimizing place and time improves life experience.

What places exert an impact on you, and what is it?

In what ways do you optimize your timing? Is this based on energy you perceive, intuition, logical considerations, feeling, or a combination of cues?

30 October 2015 2 Comments

Managing Your Energy Part 67: Decompression in Nature

Managing Your Energy Part 67: Decompression in Nature

At a spiritual camp in Maui, I spent most of the week compressed into spaces full of people, owing to hard rain, I needed time being mobile and alone. Riding a bike down Haleakala Crater sounded fun, but since the energies of the day presaged some potential danger, I decided to hike up there instead. I headed up as soon as the weather cleared.

I had the uphill road to myself. Scores of cars and their drivers were returning from sunrise vigils. It was great to drive at my own pace, park easily, and walk into the Crater with few people to shatter its deafening silence.

The alien landscape in the Crater is not just silent, it is also desiccating, and thumbing with energy. The living, intense silence sounds like a high pitched Tibetan bowl from a long way off.

When I walk alone in nature I find myself spontaneously doing spiritual practice on my breath. I also feel out my intentions and guidance for moving forward along my life’s journey. If I have any emotional “stuff” in the background of awareness, or energy I need to clear, I work on myself. The rhythm of movement helps me process and aids inspiration.

As I traversed my way through miniature gravel and small volcanic rocks I was enchanted by the way light played on the varied colored earth of bare slopes and mounds. The bowl edge of the Crater helped me gather in big, loving, life energy, which I then sent deep into the ground. An enormous, vital rush of energy pulsed back to me, IMG_3342pleasurable and magnificent. My fields felt huge. Being up at 9000 feet with nothing around but earth and air felt like being an antenna. It brought me back to essentials.

My mind wandered for just a moment. I slipped, spraining an ankle. I sat in the screaming silence, holding my ankle in my hands and having a little talk with it. I have my own way of talking with my hands, moving a few tendons into place, checking the range of motion, and so forth. I told it that it was going to need to stay mobile until I could get out of the Crater. It hurt some, but I didn’t give it a chance to stiffen or inflame.

Walking uphill at altitude was a real workout, even though I’d taken supplements that increase oxygenation in lungs and muscles to help with altitude. I paced my breath with my steps, and with my heartbeat when I took short rests, still standing. I began to work with emotions that came up around hurting my ankle.

I was grateful that I could walk. The crater was still nearly deserted, which I loved. It had become so hot and dry that I that I could imagine expiring quickly in the naked and unrelenting sun. This was silly; the post-sunrise hikers would be along shortly—and they were. I also had water, sunscreen, and appropriate clothing.

Two men came around the corner and stopped, facing me. One beamed at me. He had lovely teeth and eyes and an open heart. He asked, “How ARE you doing?” Given his emphasis and their rapt attention, I told them about my ankle.

The other man said, “I usually bring some poles and just give them to people, but I didn’t today. I’m sorry.” I smiled at these beneficent angels and told them I was doing fine.

Driving down, down, down the hairpin curves on the mountain’s edge, above the clouds, I wanted to get back to the place I was staying, ice my ankle, and connect with a woman who had been staying there before she left. I pushed the speed limit a bit. Two park rangers appeared behind me in Land Rovers. I pulled over and let them pass, along with a small truck, then popped in behind. We rolled down the mountain like a convoy, moving faster than I would on my own. They knew every turn and drove the perfect speed.

I returned feeling expanded and relaxed, despite the sprain.

Do you allow yourself time alone in nature? What is that like for you?

Can you hear the silence in high mountains or deep caves?

2 October 2015 3 Comments




I am in love with silence
even as I fear it in the immensity of star-fanged skies.

I am in love with silence.
I long for it by day and ache for it in the night.
I sigh when it opens cavernous arms for me,
and pine for it when the world steals it away.

Mystics, lovers with nowhere to rest, and musicians
who know sound is nothing without silence
understand the insidious violence of noise.

I search for my silence everywhere,
forgetting to look within.

I am in love with silence,
not just the silence that is the handmaiden of ether,
holding all creation, but the silence that screams
the wild vanilla scent of ponderosa pines
and the lyrical lilt of eucalyptus’ sickle-like leaves
on an upland breeze; the silence that holds
redwoods in majesty, and contains the breathy,
stunned applause of rocky mountain rivers
while reptilian spines of stone stoically witness.

I bathe my essence in silence, which wrests
from my grasp the pain that accompanies
addiction to the world.

In silence I take true rest
as it suffuses me with meaning
in the wee hours, before the lives of men
are stirring and our hearts have forgotten,
for the moment, cares that ensnare.

Take me under sea where silence is translucent.
Expand me into space—silence fills me in the I Am One,
but most of all, teach me the silence of my soul
so I may walk with it always in the world of form.

Teresa Dietze