As I stepped out my front door, this morning, I listened to the woodpeckers tapping a half mile away. I heard the ringing bell of a child’s bicycle across many blocks. It was as if my awareness and sensing now had a chance to widen.
We each have increased space in our lives, in one way or another, in this time of the pandemic. Without the familiar proximity of one another, the stretch between us feels more palpable.
It is not just my ears. It is not just my skin sensing soft wind. Or my eyes, seeing far into the horizon. It is not only that I feel the resonant company of birds, or notice the reddened tree buds waiting to burst forth. There is life all around me, and I know I am part of it. Yet there is more.
In these days of anxiety and dreadful daily news, we all are slowed down. Our lives are peeled away, laid bare. Our hearts are laid bare too, with deep sorrow. I am broken hearted for those who are on the edges of life, and for those who tend them, at their own peril.
The broken heart, cracked and widened, is too big for any one tragedy; too splayed in acute loss to return to the tight fist of self-involvement. As our sorrow increases, what happens to the sense of who we are?
The unknown and the uncharted are subject to the broad fate of unrevealed forces. We are tasked to listen and sense more widely, stretching beyond our “normal” ways of knowing.
I have no ‘how-to’ to share. I do not have the ‘5 steps of transformation in the time of corona’. I only offer, humbly, what I can sense, what I do know, that helps me extend into these unmapped layers of the heart.
I return to the idea of “ritual space” as a way of feeling into the subtle spaces or our lives. Ritual space is a place of possibility, curiosity, and acceptance. It can invite the witnessing and blessings of nature, unseen ancestors and the energy of grace. There is no judgment in ritual space. There is unlimited capacity for both sorrow and love. There is an invitation to remember the unity of life, the music of our souls, and the rhythms that resound through all of us, within us and between us.
Today, I am feeling the imperative to call in ritual space in the service of something as yet unrealized. Let’s “rise up” and “stretch out” to meet the vast challenge before us. During this time of uncertainty, let’s invoke the loving wisdom of listening; becoming deeply kind and widely attentive.
Join me in ritual space. In the quiet of your day, find a moment to be still. Ring a bowl, or light a candle. Feel the earth. Breathe. With each in-breath and out-breath notice: I am alive. Arrest your thoughts. Let the beat of each breath be your metronome. Listen to the distant bell of a child’s bicycle.
In the spaces between the breath, and the silence between birdcalls, let the question arise.
What is this moment asking of me? What is my answer?