Once upon a time there was a man who was a man, but more and more often a heart carried about by a body. You could tell by his eyes. At times his heart leaked out through them, and when it did, the blaze of light left no doubt. On the day of this story, the man took his fishing boat out on the lake. He needed big bodies of water to soothe him, and though his roots whispered to him of south Florida, he stayed.
The lake, as all lakes are, was usually a lake, but on this day it was tremulous glass. Glass that shook and slipped on itself, revealing the lake’s insides green and brown, woven with ripples of sunlight. He didn’t notice the underwater world unfurling below him as he opened up the motor and soared out. His mind was on the little bit of smoke curling around the motor, speed, and barely hidden thoughts of trouble. His heart was beaming radiant through the cracks in his eyes and seeing the water for what it was.
The boat swung out in a soaring arc across the lake, and from the midpoint, sighted a willow on the far shore and focused.
The boat lifted and fell, lifted and fell under the willow that stretched out past the shore, lolling its wild head in the wind. Grey rocks lay at the tree’s base. They called for human hands to stroke them, pick them up, and feel them pulled across cheeks, smooth and elemental to the land. He reached his hands up and, with a movement uncharacteristic to his eyes, tied the boat to a branch with hurried yanks. The sun poured golden though the long leaves of the willow and filtered down to the bottom, caressing the rocks and whatever was there.
He hopped on a thick trunk of the willow and walked to shore. As he balanced in the beauty tumbling all about him, his eye was caught, or perhaps his heart flung his head to the side, and he saw a black fish glistening on the rocks. He walked over to the fish moving with futile breath. Gently, and with utter lack of impatience, he slipped his hands under the heavy body and eased it into the water. Did heaven dip through earth right then? Was it drawn by the love that flooded through his hands into the fish? I think so. The tail of the fish flicked fast through the water and she was gone.
He glanced at the waves lapping the shore, the soft wet spot where the fish had laid, and waded back to the boat. He started the engine with a click and nosed out from under the arms of the willow. Suddenly the fish was back, swimming close to the boat. Her head was above water and her gills fluttered with the alien breath. Her eyes bulged hugely at him, her lips kissing and sucking the line between water and air.
H had no thought: there was just the fish and the waves cresting silently over her back, washing down in rivulets of silver. She looked at him with eyes that perceived from the same bundles of nerves and snapping electricity as he. Two souls sought a toehold on form, and finding it they jumped, scaling the enormous cleft in evolution. Something brushed together brief and deep, in a way that does not give a second glance to time.
She swam up to the boat and he reached down stroked her head with fingers and palms. She leaned in and rested.
And so they stayed. She circling the boat, gazing at him with crazy fish eyes and kissing big fish-lip kisses, and he speaking softly to her about anything that was there. Time passed, towering clouds sailed before the sun, and the man, who was certainly a man, became a little scared as his mind looked in on the scene. With a curl of wrist he set for the far shore. The fish kept up, flexing her thick tail in powerful pumps. Parting the water’s surface for one last look, her heart shifted and settled in perfect line with the boat, and he was gone.
I sat in a cathedral built in the twelve century, having fasted for several days, quite quiet in mind and body. Tourists moved about, taking photos, reading plaques, sitting in prayer, the collective noises a soft patter dropping into the immensity of calm. Streaming shafts of sunlight sifted through the towering expanse of silence.The space created by the hand-hewn stone columns was powerful, visceral. All I could do was sit and be.
As I sat in the vast stillness of space held by the soaring walls and columns, something clicked inside and I knew that was what I was. Absolute eternal stillness, complete unto itself.
Somehow the ancient space held by the cathedral revealed to me what I really was. I could see it. It embodied a reference point for me, and embodied it so plainly that what I am resonated in recognition.
The moment passed and my focus came back to two young Italian women getting up from the pew in front of me. One of them had gorgeous long red curly hair that bounced and swirled around her. A wave of jealousy hit and I thought "I want her hair." Quick mental flashes of how my life would be better with her hair. What it would get me.
The contrast to the moment before was extreme, the difference jarred into my cells. The Work was alive in me that afternoon, and straight away I asked, I want her hair, is it true?
The answer came instantly, not in the form of a yes or no, but as an image of trying to attach the woman's hair to the eternal column of stillness. It didn't work. It couldn't be done.
The two things are made of different stuff, and one cannot mix with the other. It was like trying to make two positive magnents touch, they don't. The column of eternal stillness - absolutely timeless, stillness itself, unending and complete. The woman's hair - ephemeral, fleeting, of the world of form.
I saw the hair next to the column of stillness and I saw the hair burn away, their essences fundamentally different. The hair a flicker of flame, here and gone.
This is what you are. You are not your hair, not your job, not your position in life, not your image of what you think you are. All of these things melt immediately when held next to what you really are.. and there you are, shinning, vast, reaching though eternity with a play of form arising, dancing above you, and then melting away forever.
Good Morning All,
I hope this bright day finds you well. I am delighted to offer a second retreat at Light on The Hill in September. This past weekend a group of beautiful souls gathered with me there for retreat. It was sweet & deep, and I am filled with gratitude and some astonishment for the amazing depth of the container created for slow, peaceful inner looking by the sincerity of all present.
Retreat is an opportunity to bow out of our daily life and responsibilities for a bit and shift down into a deeper part of ourselves. This deeper part is always there, but is often half hidden, or fully hidden by the cares of the world. So much can be seen on retreat. If you are called to a time-out for deeper looking - I welcome you.
Here is the official announcement ... take a quiet, breath-filled moment upon reading it to see if you are called to come. The heart can be trusted in such matters, and I invite you to place your hand on your heart as you listen in. This simple act can have wondrous effects on inquiry and listening.
Move into stillness and listening at the beautiful Light on the Hill retreat center in Van Etten, NY. Let the ancient quiet of the hills hold you as we move into heart-based inquiry using The Work of Byron Katie.
Daily morning walks, three periods a day of silent meditation, guided meditations, extended silence, and group sessions support you to invite presence into old beliefs and thought patterns. Molly Larkin will join us again, bringing her strong and steady presence to the group, holding space with beautiful grace.
We will spend this time together honestly sensing in and listening to our own hearts, to the wisdom and perfect guidance therein. Space and time is opened for patient, loving inner child work integrated seamlessly with The Work.
These precious inner children embody all of our stressful thoughts, and when we take the time to get quiet enough to sincerely listen to them, to really be right there with them, these little ones will tell us everything about their world - what they are afraid of, how they feel, and what they need from us to feel safe and joyful again.
In my own work I have found that every stressful thought is embodied by a little one, and by sitting with them with nothing but love and acceptance, a powerfully visceral healing can happen. The Work can be done gently and patiently right there while holding the little one, leaving no one out.
There are a variety of shared rooms in cozy, simple cottages and huts located on the retreat center, as well as the option to stay at one of the many local BnBs. Enjoy access to 236 acres of woods, streams, walking paths, a labyrinth, Stillpoint Sanctuary, and hilltop vistas.
We will have vegetarian food prepared by Light on the Hill chefs, provided to us daily with sweet love.
Space is limited, so if you know you want to come, get in touch with me!
This retreat is open to all levels of experience.
Certification Candidates receive 10 credits upon completion.
$365 ~ room and board additional.
To sign-up and receive more details on lodging and meals respond to this email.
September 20th -23rd,
Thursday evening through Sunday afternoon.