The journey continues

Butler Cottage

Day 4

Wednesday July 17, 2019

            Today Jennifer Downs comes for a visit. She is interested in sharing our individual writing processes.

             It’s a bit overcast. We may get some rain. The weather on the coast is quite different than inland. Hopefully the heat wave that’s due this weekend will not be so bad here!

            Sunday and Monday, I did extensive reading and organizing essays focusing on the Second Half of Life, as well as the chapter after John’s stoke, my life since setting down my practice, as well as notes I’ve compiled re: ageing, the ‘God Thing’. Felt very satisfying! This is one of the reasons why I came here! To do this work!

            Later: right about now John will be leaving to go sailing, I think. Except reading Joe Howell’s blogpost, I believe that he is still in Latvia or Lithuania with Embry’s singing group. And I am here, totally isolated/solitary and alone, far away from ‘home’ on the coast of Maine. I say far away from ‘home’ yet existentially and practically I bring my home with me. So, what is it that I am feeling? Lonely? Perhaps. Disoriented?

            My front yard is a view out to the ocean. Hence, unlike my six days solo in Chocorua in September 2017 after Erin and Tim’s wedding, here there is no bowl, no container to my experience. The front yard of Chocorua is the porch, the front meadow bordered by the tall trees that block the view of Mt. Whittier to the south. Here, nothing blocks my view – the eye stretches on and on. Hence, my ‘bowl’, the container is the whole universe.

Just now I stepped outside, stood looking and listening. A single gull sat on a rock draped with mustard colored seaweed. I heard a second gull calling out from its perch 250 feet away. Something clicked – suddenly I was aware of the numinous – the Divine. All of a sudden, I felt transformed into being a part of this.

            What had changed? I had lit a candle, lit some sage and smudged myself. Not with clear intent – I just felt called to do these things. I got it – why I am here- what it was that I was intuitively drawn to. Last summer at Les Chalais Francais I connected to the numinous and knew I wanted more of it. That is what drew me here.

            Up until this moment, this afternoon I was ‘here’ yet questioning – what have I done? Why did I choose this? What was I thinking? Today I got it -sacred sky, sacred water, sacred sun, sacred rocks, sacred spirit of the land, the trees, the earth. I am here now. I am part of you and you are part of me. I am reminded of the phrase: mysticism is the experience of limitless belonging. I’ve arrived.

            What an interesting process! To feel the discomfort of whatever it has been that I have been present to and acknowledge it. It has actually been pretty challenging. I’ve felt a bit lost, and as I have written, disoriented.

            Now something has landed. I’ve landed. Before I think I was looking out my windows like a big TV screen. In fact, I said as much last night with my Facebook posting ‘Tonight’s HBO Classic’ of the full moon rising out of the ocean with my feet propped up in front of me. I was separate from what I was seeing. Now I feel like this place- this piece of magical coastline is moving in me and me in it, like the tide that is also constantly moving and changing.

            It is as though I had to strip away the layer of a hard shell, then the softer layers on the inside, as if an onion, to gain access to the soft inner core of me- the place where there is no difference between the me on the inside and the me on the outside. Like a permeable membrane – the elements seamlessly pass back and forth. Last year I wrote in my poem ‘The Last Evening’ ‘in this place I am made whole.’ A place of water and womb.

Butler Cottage

Day 5

July 18, 2109

            Went to bed last night listening to Where the Crawdads Sing   by Delia Owens downloaded on Audible. Exquisitely written, extraordinary use of language, I am captivated. The story totally engaging, the narrations perfections of North Carolina country drawl, each character has his or her own voice. I have ten more hours of blissful listening to absorb me.

            Up by 5:30 to an exquisite pastel colored dawn. Having gotten enough sleep I felt ready to rise, even though this would make for a long day until nightfall. High tide arrived in the night, manipulated by the pull of the nearly full moon. By 6:00 this morning the mustard draped erratics and ocean floor were clearly visible. I sat on the small deck outside my charming bedroom and began the day scribing   The 5 Things I am grateful for in my Gratitude Journal. The first one being the epiphany of yesterday afternoon, finally being peeled open to the beauty and wonder- expressions of Divinity- right in front of my eyes.

            Sitting with my coffee, rising sun at my back, I began to read Blue Mountain, A Spiritual Anthology Celebrating the Earth. Chapter One: From Desire and Need. The first chapter explores what draws us to want to be close to and explore the natural world, citing authors Wendell Berry, Thomas Berry, Barry Lopez, Annie Dillard, John Burroughs and many others, all voices intertwining the experiences of the natural world in kinship to the calling of our spirit.

            From Lewis Richard in Work as a Spiritual Practice he says:  The [spiritual path] is not something we follow, it is something we create as we go along…intention functions as our compass. It gives direction and consistency and allows us to ask ourselves “Am I following my intention or have I lost it somewhere along the way?”

            And from Scott Russell Sanders “Settling Down” from Staying Put: Making Home in a  Restless World  ‘There are no privileged locations. If you stay put, your place may become a holy center, not because it gives you special access to the divine, but because in your stillness you hear what might be heard anywhere. All there is to see can be seen anywhere in the universe, if you only know how to look, and the influence of the entire universe converges on every spot.’

            And later reading Richard Rohr’s meditation on mysticism he describes precisely what I am up to (without actually knowing it). “The mystics shared their encounters with God through poetry, confessional or autobiographical writing…” he describes them as non-dualistic thinkers able to see wholes, versus breaking things down into their particularities. He describes them as non-linear thinkers, seeing patterns and connections. Yes, this is what some poets do. As I read Blue Mountain this morning I was reminded of the nature of my own poems and how they speak to this mystical context, seeing the Divine Intelligence spoken in nature, there for us to learn from.

            By 8:00 Lila and I were in the car headed to a trail along the shores of the Lilly Pond just outside of Deer Isle Village. A lovely early morning walk! Ran into a fellow walking his darling miniature blue eyed Aussie – we exchanged dog and sailing stories, thoroughly delightful.

            It is gorgeous out, 70+ degrees, tide is now coming in, low humidity.

            This morning I had to reorient myself to my woke/epiphany self, and I got here.

Butler Cottage

Day 6

July 19, 2019

            My little girl woke me up early again! 5:12! Oh well, again I feel rested enough to rise – make coffee and begin my day. Why not- it’s another gorgeous cool morning, the tide is just beginning to return, the gulls are announcing their presence, all totally lovely.

            Just now I read Richard Rohr’s meditation and I am blown away. This weeks topic, ‘Mysticism’, so speaks to this journey I’m on, including the tendency of mystics to write, to  be poets, to share their insights “in the school for the love of God”.

            “our goal, therefore, is to learn …the curriculum of a truly spiritual life…grounded in love, mercy, tenderness, compassion, forgiveness, hope, trust, simplicity, silence, peace and joy”

            I nearly fell off my chair! Those words “spiritual” and “curriculum” were the ones I chose to share at KC and what I wrote about earlier. I’d never heard them uttered before, in fact, when I spoke them a KC a couple of weeks ago I even modified my speaking to say

‘my words’, as though they sounded so strange and formal, I wanted to apologize for the expression! Yet, no, here it shows up in the writings of Carmelite Friar William McNamara. He even wrote a book “Early Mysticism”! Without knowing it I’ve been on to something!

Blue Mountain   Chapter 2

“To Marveling and Adoration”

…’the fine print on the frog’s eye will finally come into view if we allow enough time to permit the more wiley motifs of subtle and shiny brilliance to penetrate.’

            If we allow enough time. That is what I am intending, setting aside enough time for ‘shiny brilliance to penetrate’.

            Tomorrow we leave Butler Cottage by 10:00. We then have 6 hours before we can move into Sand Beach Cottage at 4:00. In that Lila will have me up by 5:00 or so I will have plenty to time to get packed up. I’m planning a trip to Castine.  Never been there before.

Week Two

Sand Beach Cottage

July 20, 2019

            I’m here. Sand Beach cottage just a short walk up the road from Sand Beach. From my front porch I can hear laughter, dog bark, the lifting of voices up from the beach below. Every 10 seconds the Mark Island lighthouse sounds its foghorn, something I could not hear from Hatch Cove. This little cottage is barely 25 feet of away from Sand Beach Road hence I am aware of cars going by, yet it is not annoying. On the contrary this special spot affords both a sense of solitude and intimacy as well as a feeling of connection with others.

            The tide is moving – I can hear it slapping against the bare boulders in the cove below. Right now I can’t tell exactly the direction of the sea, yet from the sound of it must be coming in.  There is more birdsong here, not only the gulls but the small songbirds that inhabit the close in trees and underbrush.

            It’s curious yet I think I prefer this location! Perhaps I’m simply enjoying the respite from so many hours of exquisite beauty attached to such isolation. I’m feeling supremely content!

            Surprise! My internet connection is just fine here! As I was killing time this afternoon before my 4:00 move in time I drove through Stonington noting precisely where I had connection and where I lost it. As soon as I got in town there was no service and as soon as I drove west out of town past Billings Diesel – bingo! There it was!

            Lila seems so content here. Right now she is asleep in the grass.

Sand Beach Cottage

Day 1

July 21, 2019

            My first morning here. Lila got me up by 5:35 and as I had planned I got up, made her breakfast and my coffee and we walked down to Sand beach – traipized along the shoreline up into the paths that lead through the pine woods. A exquisite morning. A mist hovers over the wather, sun filtering through. The foghorn continues its circular path sounding in each of the four directions. It is oddly comforting, letting me know the ocean’s presence.

            Birds flit and chatter amongst the thick shrubs, again a sweet comfort. I feel embedded, unobtrusively, in their territory. This cottage, which sits on a granite ledge, has been here for so long that it, too, is covered with lichen and moss just as the rocks and ledges nearby.

            It is quieter than Hatch cove, at least this morning. Of course, it is Sunday. A day of rest. Few lobster boats stirring, yet the voice  a single deep throated engine carries a long way! Even voices funnel up from the beach below – words almost distinguishable.

            I slept well, dreaming lots of disparate dreams. John appeared somehow. I speak to him almost every day as he is hopscotching his way up the east coast. This trip – our being apart- is an opportunity for each of us to explore our separate interests. On the phone his voice sounds aninimated. I know mine does!

            I had halibut and yellow squash with onion for dinner last night (the squash I brought from my home garden). Left pots and pans in the tiny sink. I’ll cleanup before breakfast.

            I keep meeting interesting people. Conversation flows easily. Yesterday having lunch on the pier in Castine and, later,  at the park at the bottom of the Sedwick-Deer Isle Bridge I met Gusty from Webb Cove and Jason, the young man from Erie, PA. who runs the small restaurant there. She has lived in Stonington since 1972 and has seen a lot of changes to the island. A professor of graphic design at the Pratt Institute in New york, an art therapist and ‘a confirmed Jungian’. As we were parting she asked what I did. “An acupuncturist for thirty plus years and now I am working on memoir. “Autobiography?” she asked. And for the first time I said outloud “I’m working on a spiritual autobiography”. “You must have kept a journal”. “Oh yes, forever! Since the age of 13.” I gave her my card. She instantly liked the graphic. “Vista Print!” I said. Off she went to kayak as the tide was high- she didn’t want to miss her chance.

I liked her a lot.

            The weather is supposed to get hot again today. However, right now it is cool and lovely, a slight breeze wafting up from the southwest off the water coming up from the cove.

            I am getting what I came here for in this place of water and womb.

            In a bit I will read some verses out of Blue Mountain and then I will begin my sojourn into Ride Every Step. I’ve not touched it in two years so it will be interesting to explore it and see how it speaks to me now.

Sunday Afternoon Haiku Sand Beach Cottage

I can smell the heat

And listening, taste the sun

July afternoon

Voices and laughter,

Water slaps the smooth boulders

Such water and womb

Tucked inside this nest

Of ferns and low wild bushes

My soul melts and fills

Cottage, sparse yet fine

My new home shelters my days

And guides my way home

Children and papas

Laughter, full bellied and kind

Such a day as this!

Sudden stiff breezes!

Water reflects a pale grey

Clouds merge with dark sky

Change is afoot now,

Perhaps rainfall will descend

No worry, I am dry

Sand Beach Cottage

Day 2

July 22, 2019

                Early this morning I awoke and in my drifting sleeplessness I recalled so many things I’ve done in my life – an expression of a feeling of ‘agency’.

                Just now, on an hour walk with Lila at the Tennis Preserve, in random order, I began to remember so many things I’ve experienced and accomplished: a response to Jung’s Second Task of Aging: Perform a Life Review.

                Upon returning home to my Sand Beach Cottage I proceeded to write that list: four full pages! Here is a sampling…

I planted a tree

I heated with wood for four years in the mountains of West Virginia

I’ve grown a lot of my own food

I’ve been engaged three times, married twice, divorced once (three’s a charm!)

I eulogized my father upon his death in 1995

I came face to face, literally!  with a wild lion in the bush in Northern Benin, West Africa

I gave birth to my daughter at age 27 and raised the daughter of another woman

I’ve been privileged to have had four horses in my life (most significantly Andrew for 17 years)

I left the Catholic Church when I was 13

                 and many years later discovered that I am a self- proclaimed ‘earth mystic’

I am the youngest of five and have worn glasses since kindergarten

As a kid I was a total tomboy (surprise)

I’ve had long blond hair, braids, perms, Hillary Clinton page boy and now super short hair

I’ve kept a journal since the seventh grade

I was head of the Student Government in high school (1969-70)

I talked my way into Tufts University and four years later graduated Magna Cum Laude

I smoked until the age of 35! (not a lot! Yet I loved it!!)

I taught myself to knit and knitted two sweaters, that’s it!

I’ve(almost) self- published a book of poetry (my first)

I’ve been in individual therapy, group therapy and couples’ therapy

I practiced acupuncture with good friends for more than 30 years

I’ve facilitated several transformative writing workshops (using language to heal)

I’ve had dogs my whole life since the age of 4

I started and successfully raised three flocks of chickens after a terrible, disastrous beginning

I broke my hand (right pinky in 3 places) in a(horse) rearing accident which interrupted my massage    practice and allowed the universe to fill the well of my acupuncture practice, at a time when    I was a single mom and very poor.

Sand Beach Cottage

Day 3

July 23, 2019

                Today broke sullen and grey accompanied by a drizzle that began overnight, not sure how long nor when. I cannot hear the Mark Island lighthouse – which perhaps means the fog and clouds are so thick that sound is difficult to penetrate?

                Lila got me up around 6:10 – the light was an hour later than her usual 5:10 wake up time! I was thankful as I had gone to bed late reading the novel The Nightingale. So absorbing!

                I took her out after breakfast in a damp drizzle and as soon as she had done her business I turned to go home. Now, 6:30.

                All morning long she kept returning to me with a plaintive begging look on her face, one I am so familiar with! After a biscuit and a bully stick still she was asking – what? ‘I want to go out!’ It was drizzling outside but OK! I geared up for the rain and off we went to the woods just off Sand Beach.

                Oh my! So, so beautiful: the contrasts of the colors, the grey skies juxtaposed against the lights and darks of the loaf shaped boulders, the dark green pines pointing up to the skies, the verdant lush underbrush of ferns and plants, so vibrant against the reddened damp pine needle ladened paths. I was so grateful to her that she had made us come here to this solitary piece of blessed shoreline.

                I’ve begun to lose track of what day it is and I consider this a good thing. Never in my life, since I’ve been an adult, have I been in a situation where or when I couldn’t access what day it is nor what date. This feels very new. A fluid kind of existence. One day stitches into the next, hooks back to the previous, and spreads out in a spacious ‘net’ – a place of holding and support- with no need to know the beginning nor the end. It feels as if I am suspended in a place of welcome, grace, benevolence, safety.

                I want to remember this, that I have experienced such grace. For it will not be a certainty, will not be forever this soft nor this beautiful. I want to mark these days, this time – so when I am in need I can circle back and remember, oh yes! Remember that day! That afternoon! When all was well, so perfect! The troubles of the world exist apart from this place of water and womb.

Sand Beach Cottage

Day 5

July 25, 2019

                Lila got me up by 6:00 and fortunately I felt well enough rested to rise. Fed her, made my coffee and sat on the porch in silence. The sky was a flat grey. My mood was flat as well. No sound from the lighthouse. Don’t know why.

                Changed clothes and took us to the beach/woods and then walking along the road towards town. We were back by 8:00. I think we walked a good mile and a half.

                I am aware of my time here coming to an end. And that is ok.

                By 9:30 I’d eaten breakfast and done some laundry in the kitchen sink – three T shirts, undies and a bra. Time to get out of the house. Decided to deliver my compost, recycling and trash to the Transfer Station in Stonington, visited The Island Agency to let them know of the smoke detector battery that went out last night and then to the Lilly Pond for a walk.

                Later: I’ve spent the last few hours reviewing and revising pages 20 – 43 of RES, accompanied by Tom Balles’ edits and suggestions. Very helpful. I feel so appreciative of the time he took and he  even included in some additional suggestions.

                Having done this I feel in a way complete, as though I came here and have fulfilled what I intended. Yes, this, and so much more.

                This being on my own, with a rather singular focus – that of spending time alone to do some revising of pieces I’ve written and many I needed to revisit- has yielded other benefits:

  • My intention was to keep to myself, thus I am clear that I am not drawn to the                visit galleries nor to attend events at the Opera House.
  • Moving to my own rhythms and awareness
  • Paying good attention to Lila and her needs
  • Paying attention to what I am drawn to without any should’s nor have to’s
  • Eat what I want when I want
  • No strict sense of a need ‘to accomplish’, if I get thru RES, great! If not, OK too!
  • Being open to undisclosed surprise!
  • Being  open to receive that which comes my way

Sand Beach Cottage

Day 6 – final afternoon and evening

July 26, 2019

                My time here, this experience of two weeks on my own with my dog and all of its wonder, is coming to an end. I’ve called Deer Isle ‘magical’. It certainly is. It will take a while for me to digest what this has been for me, what will result from it. I’ve never done this before. I don’t yet know what it will yield.

                And I am transitioning. Tomorrow I welcome Phoebe, Chase, Cole and John here to this island, and to another blessed space! I feel very excited to share the magic of these shorelines, walks in the woods, the Lilly Pond, and Sand Beach, perhaps having their first lobster – or not! So much to explore and experience. I am aware that I am ready for my solo sojourn to come to a conclusion and then transition to the next phase: family. I’m complete. I got what I came here for.

Week Three

Warren Point Cottages

Arrival

July 27,2019

            This will be short! We are here…Phoebe, Chase, Cole and John. Lila and me! We made it all in one piece, safe and sound.

            Oh! Where we are! Stunning special space, a nested grounded inspiring place on the edge of the water. So much to look forward to Sunday – Thursday!

            We arrived at sunset, unloaded the car, settled in and unpacked groceries, John, Cole and Chase pulled out a circular jigsaw puzzle, Lila got fed and rejoiced vocally acknowledging her joy at all  of us being together; I rejoiced too, music on the radio on a Saturday night from Maine NPR, the boys thrilled about being here!

            Chase’s tummy is so sensitive, being a lot to get used to. Finally, we moved a mattress so all three of them, Phoebe, Cole and Chase will sleep together. Hopefully he will feel more settled in the morning.

.

Warren Point Cottages

Day 1

Sunday, July 28,2019

            Up by 6:00, fed Lila and then Cole and I took her on a poop walk. Fun and festive to have folks around. John made blueberry pancakes and bacon.

            We went on a hike at the Tennis Preserve having packed a picnic lunch. PB and J’s, tuna fish sandwiches, cherries and Tostitos.’  A splendid day full of rock hopping and exploring. The boys are so happy! We are all so happy, including Lila!

            This afternoon Phoebe and I took the boys to the Lilly Pond to cool off. Cole spent his time in the water trying to catch minnows! He is so funny!

Day 2

Monday, July 29, 2019

            A morning at Sand Beach for rock hopping and Cole’s heart stopping dare devil feats scrambling up seaweed covered boulders. ‘Watch out! It looks slippery!’ ‘Not at all!” he yells back!


Day 3

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

            A trip to explore the enchantment of Nervous Nellies, then into Stonington for ice cream, a visit to Dockside so the boys could acquire much sought after souvenirs , Cole a stuffed harbor seal, and Chase a custom Maine license plate and a Maine themed deck of cards, then onto the Stonington Lobster Co-op for lobster!  Tonight’s the night!

            Tomorrow. Wednesday, is our last full day! Hard to believe, the time has gone so fast! We will visit Sand Beach in the morning, then putt- putt golf and lunch at ‘elelfrijoles’. (L.L. Beans)

            This set of cottages is terrific except for the fact that the bunk houses absorb the afternoon heat like crazy making it stifling hot and very uncomfortable!

            I am ready to go home. We’ve cut short our trip by deciding not to go to Chocorua, to spends a few days with Clare, Tanya, Ayla, Blanche (cousin) and Maggie,  and more importantly to be present on Saturday for a celebration of Sam Snow’s life. Sam, Jennifer’s best friend since freshman year in high school, died overnight in her sleep on Wednesday, July 24th. The cause, at this point, is unknown although it could have been the result of any number of things as Sam suffered from so many chronic debilitating diseases. Jennifer and her wife  Danielle are currently caught up in the family dysfunction. Hopefully it will get sorted out.

            As for me, I am entering back into my ‘old new life’. I’ve been impacted by this sojourn here. How is not entirely clear. A refined appreciation and awareness of solitude and loneliness. Feeling a diminished sense of stamina, yet also noticing a sense of self-reliance and capability which have not been tested nor challenged in a long time.

            For now I am going to set aside analyzing and simply let the experience settle in.

Home Again

10120 spring Pools lane

Columbia, Md.

Friday, August 2, 2019

            ‘There’s no place like home.’ We arrived this afternoon around 4:10, almost precisely 10 hours to the minute since we left Kittery, Maine this morning at 6:10.

            We arose at 5:20, already light, gathered up and repacked, fed Lila, I showered after a very uncomfortable sticky night; we had gone to bed at 6:30 having consumed fried clams, fries, onion rings and beer! (My insides have been complaining for days!) That said, I had some incredibly interesting dreams…something about a Tibetan Buddhist ‘club’ and the members wanting me to learn more about it. No wasted minute in a dream!

             We left at 6:10 and had two 20 minute stops, one for breakfast at McDonald’s,ugh, and the other for lunch at the Vince Lombardi service area at the northern end of the New Jersey Turnpike. A Nathan’s cheese dog. Marginally satisfying. Actually, not. Welcome to the great unwashed!

            So, now, home. Digest. Reflect. Be with whatever comes up.

            What first arises is how happy and refreshed I feel to be here. Absence makes the heart grow fonder.

            Last year I wrote ‘I cannot have one month of sanity and eleven months absent of it.’

            What a difference a year makes! After my three-week odyssey on Deer Isle, I feel so happy to rejoin my life here! It is rich and full. I feel so filled up.

Home

Sunday, August 3, 2019

            I did not rise early – on the contrary, I gave myself time and space to nestle, to burrow into my own bed like a nest receiving me home. The point ‘Great Enveloping’ (Spleen 21) came to mind.

            ‘After every expansion comes a natural contraction’, wise words from Fritz Smith. That is what I am doing – collecting myself back into my container after three weeks of living on the edge of the ocean. For an Earth Reality this was a very large and long period of expansion – on my own, moving to my own rhythms and instincts, circumscribed only by the choices that I, and I alone, made. Not always comfortable. At times it was hard going and I had to remind myself why I was here.

            Yes, I reconnected with the sacredness of Gaia, yet in a different way than a year ago. Last year I needed to be restored. This year I arrived already ‘made whole’ due to the nourishing life that surrounds me here in Columbia. So this year was different, requiring that I dig deep into my own resources, expressions of agency in my life, what it is that I brought with me on this sojourn.  I found I was reminding myself of the myriad paths I have tred, those that are the base of the ground beneath my feet, acknowledging chapters and events scattered across my 67 years.

             It was both surprising and comforting to amass such a list: the places I touched and the places that have  touched me which  have all collectively shaped me into the person I am, and no doubt, will continue to carve out new contours as I age.

            Having jumped out of my container,  now I am climbing back into that to which I belong: my spiritual life and family, my inner work and writing, self- care and service.

Afterword

Monday August 5, 2019

10120 Spring Pools Lane

            The beginning of a new week. I didn’t plan on being here, thus, thankfully a week absent of scheduled events and obligations. Time to reflect and digest, as indeed this is what I have been doing! So necessary for me to complete this journey! If nothing else, I am a meaning maker! (Here I am reminded that according to the Myers-Briggs Personality Inventory I am an INFP for whom nothing occurs that does not contain meaning!)

            I just reread my entire journal of the three weeks spent on Deer Isle. Taking it as a whole I see that, indeed, it was an odyssey with important, distinct phases and challenges I encountered.

  • The Initial Journey, the leave taking, the 15 hour drive from home to Stonington, made even more dramatic because it is a place not easy to get to and traveling at such high speeds, in such dense traffic required all of my attention so as to not get distracted – similar to sailing through treacherous waters replete with dangers and threats
  • My ‘Arrival’, which in actuality took several days
  • Being disoriented and questioning ‘what was I doing here’, ‘what was I thinking?’
  • ‘Arriving’, at last, with the help of ritual; a lit candle, sage, and incense welcomed in the arrival of the numinous (easing into an altered state, at last) thus,
  • Losing track of days, dates and time
  • Conducting a Life Review (time collapsing and the old becoming relevant)
  • Observing my inner dialogue, acknowledging that being so solitary is hard work, calling on the inner resources of spiritual self- reliance
  • Week One: deep spiritual work and much editing/revising of what I brought with me
  • Week Two: Life Review and extensive editing of Ride Every Step
  • Week Three: transitioning back to the outer world, one filled with family
  • Homecoming: unpacking what I bring home with me, literally and figuratively
  • Harvesting: how am I transformed by this experience? This is an ongoing reflection
  • Gratitude for my traveling companions: first and foremost, Lila! My meet and greet girl who initiated so many exchanges and interactions with folks I met along the way. And the companionship of Where the Crawdads Sing which I listened to most evenings after supper. Kaiya’s experience of her habitat so paralleled the journey I was on, she in the marshland of the North Carolina Coast, me on a unique northern peninsula dipping down into the Atlantic Ocean. Both of us solo, on our own. And the novel The Nightingale which I will complete here at home. A powerful story of women and war in the Loire Valley during the Nazis occupation. I can so see it as John and I were there less than a year ago.
  • Finally, Giving Thanks.  A deep prayer of gratitude to have been so blessed with this time and opportunity. It will continue to resonate on and on. I will remember.

One thought on “The journey continues”

  1. I too am Grateful – grateful to have experienced this journey with you! Grateful to have been invited to join your blog. I feel a great sense of calm/openness after reading this post. Thus my gratitude to you for sharing and for your friendship Mary! Hugs to you, Lila and John!

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