Winter storm Landon moved into Central Texas yesterday and temperatures plunged into the sub-freezing zone, sending everyone in my little village first to the grocery and then home. Fortunately, I started preparing for supply chain issues in the summer so I was able to get what I needed without issue. I hauled as many outdoor plants inside as would comfortably fit and covered the rest with a folded sheet. It looks like a tropical jungle in here and now my car is encased in ice so I’m not going anywhere.
Days like this draw us not just indoors but into cocooning behaviors and beyond. We wrap ourselves in cozy sweaters, sip steaming cups of tea and take comfort in hot nourishment and maybe a candlelight bath before bed. We know to do these things and yet underneath the outer restrictions imposed by inclement weather, there’s a gift of higher awareness waiting if we’re open to it. Let me tell you a story.
Years ago, while living in Los Angeles, I attended a mindfulness retreat with some friends. It took place on a residential compound in the San Fernando Valley. Over a period of years, the foundation sponsoring the retreat had been buying up single family homes on a pair of residential streets and connected the backyards. To the casual observer it was just an ordinary neighborhood. There were no signs signifying the event because it was an esoteric group and by invitation only.
Each house literally housed a different mindfulness discipline/activity. The main house was the fellowship hall where we gathered for breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea. In the morning we were given guidance for the day’s work. There was a large kitchen for the preparation of meals and the rest of the house had been modified as a one-room hall. There were as many as 50 people there on a given day.
An old garage had been converted into a pottery shed with pottery wheels and a couple of kilns. Another house was a library and study hall. Another was a dance and music hall for the practice of mindfulness in movement. Yet another house was dedicated to woodworking and sewing and so on.
On this particular day, an elderly female guest had come from England to share her wisdom. A big storm came up in the morning and caused inconvenience and impromptu changes in the schedule . The speaker used the situation to teach another facet of awareness. In essence, she said the storms outside (and these can be interpreted as emotional) give us the opportunity to draw deeper within. The restrictions of outer movement offer the possibility to focus our attention within, to come more deeply into the moment where all the magic truly resides.
I’ve never forgotten that day, though it’s been a while since revisiting that memory. A storm stokes the inner fires and that’s a gift. As long as the power stays on, I’m enjoying the intensified experience of being here now with more of myself and the invisible connectedness in the quantum with everyone else. Wishing you love, warmth and healing.
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