One recent Autumn I took myself on a Pilgrimage to the Arizonian desert and there in Retreat, I lived alone for four days and nights. Surrounded on either side by high mountains and nestled in the valley midst an ancient Indian Labyrinth of stones, I sat. This was the Retreat’s invitation: no food except for water, molasses and lemon juice with cayenne pepper; no exploring, no distractions, just stillness and being present! On the first night ‘the present’ was a 40-mile per hour wind coming straight up the valley. What to do? At 1 a.m., not much except pray and hope all will be well…and sleep! In the morn these words were born:
Clearing away my complacency
Remembering me to Love.’
You might well ask why and how? The whole experience is like the insight of Robert Frost, a poet of nature’s teachings: ‘In the midst of winter, I finally discovered an invincible summer.’ Every season and new opportunity, we are called to deepen our capacities, and through that learning discover more Joy and Ability.
Perhaps unseasonably, we are witnessing wild and icy storms in the far North. In Australia we fight more and more the storms of wind and fire, drought and flooding. Climates and conditions seem to be wildly changing around us and within Denmark too! We are just recovering from the invigorating summer flood of people, many of whom dream to and do leave everything and everyone to live in ‘paradise’. Many of these dreamers are in the autumn years looking for a peaceful, happier life. Each of us trustingly comes to this new space with much hope and expectation. Yet like life, there are always the seasonal challenges and the unexpected winds!
Autumn is the season for shedding our complacencies and control; and like the teaching of the leaves and trees, to let go of behaviours and lifestyles that no longer serve us well. Coming to Denmark to only repeat our lives in Perth or wherever, may or may not work so well. Denmark calls for another way of living for new comers or ‘oldies’. So what to do, or not do and how? Autumn is the season for Being Present, not running away, distracted or avoiding the obvious…no matter what! To Remember simply to Love where we are at with hope and joy anew…that is the Present Life…and that is Living.