Returning to the Center

“It may be that when we no longer know what to do
we have come to our real work,
and that when we no longer know which way to go
we have come to our real journey.
The mind that is not baffled is not employed.
The impeded stream is the one that sings.“
Wendell Berry

There are ravines at points along the path that narrow our passage and ask us to be deliberate about each step. It may require a lightening of our load or perhaps a pause where we gaze into the steep drop below, dizzy before returning to our center. In these pauses we remember that reclaiming our power means giving up tightly bound ideas about what true power really means. Pushing ahead, past the sensations rising up to meet us, is not always the way. We can of course, if it means protection at any cost. But maybe here we place roots to sky, set the weight down and allow the field to empty. Nestling into the space between here and there, long held notions of identity & dreams of a direction no longer viable can dissolve like salt in water. A cleansing solution made from the dissolution of all ideas, patterns, and energies too heavy to carry beyond this point.

When the world has shifted on its axis, our own navigation system must recalibrate to what is happening now, not what we thought would happen, or what we want to be happening, but what stretches out before us and within us in present time. Disorientation can reorient us if we can regain a sense of our inner landscape again. Find our feet. Find our hands. Find our spine and sense what is there. Noticing what happens when we simply notice. Bones heavy, muscles soft. Settling into being and allowing the golden wave of our own energy to return back to us, warming what is ready to thaw in its own time. What would it feel like to sense your inner architecture in a new way? Vitality returning, clarity bubbling up from a hidden spring just on the other side of no-longer-so-certain certainty and habitual response that is changing shape right below the surface.

Belly Softens, Root Deepens

To shift perspective, we must change positions by noticing the one we find ourselves in. Perhaps a shoulder drops, a jaw unclenches, a belly softens, a root deepens. A breath comes, and goes. A thought or emotion acknowledged drifts to another, one that creates more space in the field, in the sinews, in the fluid between cells. We may adjust back and forth, expand, contract, tighten, loosen—it wouldn’t be art if it were only one or the other. 

We don’t need to land somewhere and expect it to be our final resting place. But without somewhere secure to anchor, a sense of settling in, we wander without clear sight. Sometimes all we see is what is right in front of us, lit by the candle we hold close to the heart. How we nurture this flame, by attention to its inexhaustible existence, determines how well it illuminates on the path ahead. Vision focused inward first allows the unfolding landscape to paint itself as we move forward. What appears before us or within us may not be as it seems as first glance. With deliberate movement across the dangling bridge between danger and beauty, we become subtly attuned to the accuracy our perception, and just how changeable it is. Intentional exploration of what is possible becomes the interplay of sculpting what we desire, and reckoning with what is here for us now.

Sometimes we lasso a star that burns light years ahead of us, and slowly collect its radiance, a bright becoming into the one who patiently awaits our arrival. Each step becomes the next one, colors bloom and shift, swirl and muddle, leave and return. We let transformation take us, anchored to earth body, cosmic body, heart blooming center— rooting and dissipating simultaneously.

We sense what is to come, or what we will become, long before it lands. Follow sensation, play with story, and give enough room to let the story change. Mastery requires critical review of all facets of our experience—we don’t know something until its shape has changed at least a few times, until we have changed shape more than a few times.

I wonder how playful discernment could be? Like juggling two disparate ideas that spontaneously merge into one ball of light, the one we hold in our palms, beaming from our heart, something to embrace, to create with—might this be a way to see that one thing we’ve seen a thousand times, and start to feel, see, sense, and know it in a different way? How would it feel to bring the wandering ones within home? To let all their paradoxical perceptions linger, to hold them, listen to them, and send them off again into the world, sure of the only thing we can be sure of—that they have been loved.