For the past many months, I’ve been in what’s not exactly a midlife crisis, but a midlife deep cocooning. It’s invited a dissolution of much of who I’ve known myself to be. I’m practicing trusting this transformation into imaginal cell goo and the Soul’s knowing of what is next, while understanding it demands to take its time with the process.
I return so often to John O’Donohue’s words: There is an unseen life that dreams us. It knows our true direction and destiny. We can trust ourselves more than we realize and need have no fear of change.
Here at the beach, I’m learning from wise elders: Pacific Ocean and great fields of smooth stones who will outlive me by eons. They’re showing me how to stay fluid, how to rest in my heaviness, how to trust my place in a very long story. I’m apprenticing myself ever more deeply to the trustworthy teachers: awe, sorrow, gratefulness, reverent curiosity, embodiment, and service. I’m giving up on figuring things out and resting in paradox. I’m noticing the world’s ongoing invitations into a great love affair with the miracle of it all, an affair I wish to more fully surrender to, knowing how briefly we each get to be here.
I’m practicing being true to this cocoon while I’m in it, and refusing to know before I know. I’m declining all invitations, inner and outer, to emerge prematurely. I confess, it’s not easy. I’m doing my best to listen to the deep song dreaming me into a fresh form as I look to turning 50 later this year. I’m waiting until the call to emerge is so strong, I can’t help but unfurl fresh wings and come forth. In the meantime, I’m still here, half of me firmly in the underworld, half in the normal world, living my days. It’s weird
One deep knowing that has not dissolved but continues to hum from the center of this imaginal cell soup that I seem to have become, is in all things, my devotion to embodying courageous kindness and love. To do that, as Stanley Kunitz wrote, living in the layers and not on the litter. Attempting to do so with discernment, wisdom, generosity, and a well-intact sense of humor.
My upcoming class on Maitri is coming from the heart of this devotion; from this wish for all of us to blow on the embers of our innate lovingkindness and to be warmed as we warm those around us, human and more than human. I am unabashedly calling for more of this quality of a brave unconditional friendliness in the world. I’d be honored if you join me.
Come live on zoom or listen to recordings in your own time. I have a feeling it’s going to be powerful. I made a new podcast on Maitri
that I’d love to share with you as well.
Below is a poem I wrote a few weeks ago. I hope it blows on the embers of your heart’s magnanimous devotion to love. The breath of this poem is coming right from the center of my own.
Let it Be A Sky
Do you feel astonished at your great luck just to be here?
To have breakfast?
Maybe two eggs and buttered toast.
Maybe good hot coffee.
Maybe there’s running water that flows at any temperature you like.
Maybe you’ve forgotten
what miracles these are.
Perhaps there are spices resting in your cabinet
that used to require a months-long sea voyage to obtain.
Peppercorns. Cinnamon. Saffron. There they sit.
So quiet, almost as if it’s not extraordinary.
Maybe the sun is shining on your old wood floor
or glowing through a dirty window.
Perhaps a sprinkle of snow falling from a pine branch
is illuminated by a shaft of light.
The miracles are everywhere.
Look how many ancestors shine
through your aging hands.
Right now you could be riddled with cancer.
Or a car crash could be in the works.
Or perhaps a great earthquake soon to erupt.
Or you could live for decades,
days full of breakfast, running water,
sunlight, pepper, cinnamon.
Those stones giving extra gravity to your heart?
Lay them down in the Great River of Grief.
It flows forever.
It softens everything.
And while you’re here
don’t miss the miracles.
Let your heart be a leaping dolphin.
At least sometimes.
Let it be an opening rose.
Let it be a deep rooted tree
growing between worlds.
Let it be a sky with room for it all.