"Living life should be a beautiful thing every day…living your life …with feeling. Not just to think of being alive, but to actually feel alive every single day." Maharaji
Reflections on the old year: We are such busy people, with so little time to let the snow's light fall in the window, to smooth and soften our bruised and harried city-people selves.
Here's where I relax....every winter, we retreat to the Laurentians on the weekends, to a stone cottage. There we build fires, shovel snow, ski. Read the weekend papers; catch up on book reviews, nap.
The silent snow, and stalwart trees are more present than television. Absolute emptiness, lack of activity is the only balm for sore minds and hearts. All week, we rush and bump, brag and bully, push, harass and drive ourselves mad. Then we escape here, to have long baths, eat out, make love, décrochez – hang up the phone, drop out, unhook ourselves from hurry, restrict the surfeit of stimuli fed to the senses in our city lives, reduce to a country diet, plain meals for the ears, eyes and skin; senses drained of excess partying, excess noise, traffic, horns, slush and rush.
Reduce the tempo to allegro; let the gentle waves of silence fill the cup inside, feed the hunger for aloneness, solitude, respite, rest. A stopped beat on the sheet of music, the little hat that indicates hold off singing here – stop – hold a breath or take a deep breath, whichever is more restful. Then continue.
I sit here in the lazy boy armchair watching snowflakes falling, bowing down the boughs, for at least 30 minutes without feeling the need to move or change rooms. Here, we cultivate lack of movement, and raise it to a fine art. Here, the balsams are a balm for splintered souls.
Wishing you a restful new year, and happy new beginnings in 2007, along with a poem from last December, inspired by Mary Oliver.
Ice on the Lake
Black and grey rocks, the quay
mantled in white. This night dips below
zero. Wild ducks have left the gentle
waves. At lake’s edge, thin sheets of ice
tinkle, almost mute.
December empties lake and sky
of colour, fills them with snow-light.
And something nameless contents itself
with its own reflection.