Baja Blue

Baja Blue
Bluetrue sky of the Korokoro Hills

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Prayers and Offerings

We were thinking, on leaving, of friends and family on healing journeys, and the world, in need of healing: this is a prayer and offering for them.

I felt my pulse quicken and subside at the mere thought of getting out into nature, and knew the impact of the first real run through woods or glimpse of sunset would be more significant still.

Poets, naturalists and spiritual leaders going back to Buddha (and before) have understood the healing power of nature and it's glimpse into the divine infinite, and exhorted us to calm and heal our bodies, minds and spirits by taking it in.  

Buddha said: "If you wish to know the divine, feel the wind on your face and the warm sun on your hand."

In his prolific writing on the natural world, Father of the National Parks System John Muir spoke about the call of the wild and it's transcendent beauty and healing power, saying: "Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul" and "The mountains are calling and I must go".

Muir noted nature's pathway into both the universe and self, saying: "The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness", and "I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in."

But perhaps the final word on this should go to Henry David Thoreau, and his memorable passage in Walden: "I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.  I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary.  I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live sturdily and Spartan-like as to put rout to all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner and reduce it to its lowest terms."

So this is my prayer: that we will find ways to heal the world, and heal ourselves, by meeting it, wherever we are and in whatever condition; by cutting a broad swath and shaving close, by living deep and sucking out all of the marrow of life......

Monday, 21 July 2014

Leaving Home

A funny thing happened on the way to our big travel adventure.  

I  found myself thinking about home and where home resides.  And I started seeing my current home and all of it's unique assets with  fresh eyes.  The deep green oaks in Trinity Bellwoods Park, which have  stood sentinel for more than a century, never looked more magnificent.  The tiny garden patio at Red Tea Box, with its delicate pastel cabbage and filigreed gate, seemed a hidden gem only my home city could create.

Perhaps this phenomenon -- of seeing what is already all around us with fresh eyes -- is one of travel's greatest gifts.  The opportunity to reflect about home, and where home resides, is perhaps another.

In "Letter To My Daughter", Maya Angelou disputes Thomas Wolfe's notion that "you can't go home again", and says: "I believe that one carries the shadows, the dreams, the fears and dragons of home under one's skin, at the extreme corners of one's eyes and possibly in the gristle of one's earlobe."  She goes on to say: "Home is that youthful region where the child is the only real living inhabitant.....We may act sophisticated and worldly but I believe we feel safest when we go inside ourselves and find home, a place where we belong and maybe the only place that we really do."

Talking about his childhood self, bent on adventure with his dog Sam, in his wonderful poem "Running Away", Canadian poet Don McKay says:

In my viewfinder/The kid's head is a piece of empty sky, an afternoon/with high cloud moving in.....
Once again to set out/ fingers buried in his fur, to give ourselves/to serendipity and follow his exquisite nose/
through rich denatured air down/to the canal....

So here's to once again setting out, to giving ourselves to serendipity, to going inside and finding home......