“Ah, not to be cut off,
not through the slightest partition
shut out from the law of the stars.
The inner-what is it?
If not intensified sky,
Hurled through with birds and deep
With the winds of homecoming.”
(Rainer Maria Rilke)
The light days are shorter and the nights, wind and wet come with increasing intensity and fury. I love this retreat-time: fires, curries and mulled wine. Winter’s season also invites me to read, reflect and Remember even more deeply than in those busy, light and expansive summery days. Winter naturally calls me very nearby and within – home, hearth and heart.
Yet for many of us winter may be a challenging, uncertain and unsettling time. Cold, dark, wild and wet spaces often leave us literally frozen and sometimes frightened. Trees sway and fall down, roofs tremble and the nights seem so long. In that long darkness we instinctively remember times that have not been so light and free. We remember people in our lives who have come and gone. We remember when we were different than now. Memories both good and difficult seem to naturally invite themselves into our retreating space.
This ‘inner space’ is probably the least known terrain on this earth. We go to the moon and mars. We go to the depths of the oceans to explore the wonders and to understand our earthly existence. Most of us stay away from our inner spaces for fear of what we may find; or perhaps expecting there is not much there; or if you are a wild extrovert or intrepid doer – ‘life is simply all out there!’ Yet like each terrain – earth, ocean and sky – our human psyche or inner space is full of dreams, insights, memories, reflections and the unexplored creative possibilities, treasures and gems. Many of our greatest scientists, poets, artists and spiritual adepts have uncovered nature’s secrets and puzzles by listening to those inner realms. Life inside is not boring when you truly bore within to learn and to savour and to share.
The life task of any intrepid explorer of inner and/or outer realms is to wander, wonder and witness! The real challenge though is to delicately bring back those treasures and discoveries for analysis, recording, practical use and relating with our world. This Winter may be that creative opportunity to consciously go within in a different way and to Listen and Watch for those Gems which await your deciphering. You may find that the season of retreat, Winter, swarms with Life.
“I know nothing but miracles…
To me every hour of the light and dark is a miracle,
Every cubic inch of space is a miracle,
Every square yard of the surface of the earth is spread with miracles,
Every foot of the interior swarms with miracles.”