This Northeastern girl is in constant motion. Movement is my meditation (or so I tell myself.) My Mom used to call me a 'runner'…not only in the true physical definition of the word, but a mental runner. I flit from place to place, never quite landing anywhere, one step ahead of my psyche. I’m trying to change that. Settle in, stay put, dig deeper, share and feel.
I am currently in Taos, New Mexico at a writing retreat. Shhh....it's writing time. The silence is deafening. I'm sitting in a tree-canopied courtyard where the sun dapples over the uneven cobblestones and brightly painted tiles. Butterflies lazily float from flower to flower-the ultimate flitters- in search of sweetness. Colorful ceramic chickens and roosters are silently perched above me, the Southwest’s version of garish gargoyles.
There’s not a cloud in the bright blue sky and the breeze caresses my skin almost sensually. To my left is a statue of St Francis, who is stoically holding court, silently offering water from a bowl he tirelessly holds. Time stands still here. Yet my busy brain keeps returning to this question:
Is there anything more frightening to a runner than having to slow down? Because you know what happens then, right?
You. Are. Seen.
And there it is.
Like a deer in the headlights. Frozen. Stuck to the spot by fear. Seen. Stupid Southwest time warp.
I inhale deeply and try to noisily exhale, but the air comes out as a soft sigh. I grab some much needed water to ease the altitude-induced ache behind my eyes. I try to take it all in. The beauty in the simplicity. I let the feelings of inadequacy and restlessness wash over me and slowly dissipate. I come from a place of feeling as opposed to doing. I start to make notes. I listen. And I begin to hear what the Southwest whispers.
And just like that…there it is.
'Take it all in. It’s ok to slow down. Savor the silence. It will feed and salve your soul. It will open up the logjam of creativity. Feel the energy of this part of the country beneath your feet. How does it resonate? Does it not feel familiar?’ the land whispers into my ear via the breeze.
'Same yet different', I whisper back. 'The underlying current is eerily familiar, but the dusty red dirt and mountainous terrain? Oh so different.'
‘SAME.’ The whisper insists. ‘It’s all the same.’
We are all the same.
No matter where we live, what we do, what we look like on the outside…it’s the same on the inside. That’s why there’s a familiarity to it all, a sense of home.
As I settle into my surroundings, I can breathe easier. I soften my edges, lean into my spirit. I close my eyes and listen again.