questions and answers

Isle of Capri, Italy

There are years that ask questions, and years that answer.”

~Zora Neale Hurston

2020 is definitely a year of asking questions.

At least for me.

I’ve noticed how I tend to ask myself lots of questions. Questions for which I don’t have answers. Or at least I’m not ready to delve deep enough to find the answers.

Perhaps there are also years that rest in silence. Years where answers sit in a place of refuge from the bright light of clarity. Years where answers take sanctuary from the free fall of questions.

Be Excessively Gentle with Yourself

Columbine leaf with morning rain

A Blessing for One Who is Exhausted by John O’Donahue

When the rhythm of the heart becomes hectic,
Time takes on the strain until it breaks;
Then all the unattended stress falls in
On the mind like an endless, increasing weight,

The light in the mind becomes dim.
Things you could take in your stride before
Now become laborsome events of will.

Weariness invades your spirit.
Gravity begins falling inside you,
Dragging down every bone.

The tide you never valued has gone out.
And you are marooned on unsure ground.
Something within you has closed down;
And you cannot push yourself back to life.

You have been forced to enter empty time.
The desire that drove you has relinquished.
There is nothing else to do now but rest
And patiently learn to receive the self
You have forsaken for the race of days.

At first your thinking will darken
And sadness take over like listless weather.
The flow of unwept tears will frighten you.

You have traveled too fast over false ground;
Now your soul has come to take you back.

Take refuge in your senses, open up
To all the small miracles you rushed through.

Become inclined to watch the way of rain
When it falls slow and free.

Imitate the habit of twilight,
Taking time to open the well of color
That fostered the brightness of day.

Draw alongside the silence of stone
Until its calmness can claim you.
Be excessively gentle with yourself.

Stay clear of those vexed in spirit.
Learn to linger around someone of ease
Who feels they have all the time in the world.

Gradually, you will return to yourself,
Having learned a new respect for your heart
And the joy that dwells far within slow time.

I saw a familiar quality in Mr. O’Donahue’s poem: moving from darkness to light. A shift that happens somewhere along the way. So often when I feel inspired to write, it’s a journey of growth, moving from a place of challenge to a place of release, a place of confusion to clarity, a place of discontent to contentment, a place of resistance to openness. Can you see where the movement begins? Ah, slow, free, calm, gentle, ease, joy…yes.