(my ramblings within whilst on Hornby Island in winter with 8 women. I led a weekend of yoga and meditation and had the chance to observe and feel all our sweet rhythms – individually and surrounded by forest and ocean. Clarissa Pinkola Estes beautifully captures the importance of returning to our rhythms and cycles. Her quote at the end is some deep, delicious, soul food.)
Such a lightness.
Such a stillness.
When I am here for myself.
A sense of ease emerges.
The forest was drenched in life this morning. A constant, simple song of life. We tiptoed into her damp soil, her dripping leaves – barely a taste of what she holds. The sun’s rays danced across my bits of exposed skin.
And I loved my company. There was a readiness from each of them. I’ve been here so many times before. I have been here. Or so I thought. Or so I had wanted. But this feeling is different.
I must admit my heart’s longing – to be free, to be independent. Let go and let instinct guide.
The constant rhythm of this forest provides comfort. No matter my phase, it is here- grandiose, enveloping, welcoming. It’s all perfect.
Our feminine rituals. I love it – the act of observing ritual and performing ritual. We have our precious habits that make us feel whole and wholesome. It’s how we care for ourselves.
There is much wisdom within. I catch myself looking for something when I sit but it’s nothing. There is no thing. But rather a vast abyss of many wonders and people and precious moments and deep knowing. There is not one ‘a ha’. It’s not big, it’s not enlightenment, it’s not a way out or a way above others. I am enjoying the ongoing play, the flirtation to rekindle the flame within.
And it was suddenly over. It ended with the snow. A cleanse. A sprinkling of fresh sparkle atop the forest floor and my skin.
Hard to leave here. Again.
Here, my memories become so fresh, so clear, that I can happily choose which to carry forward and which to leave behind.
“There is human time and there is wild time. When I was a child in the north woods, before I learned there were four seasons to the year, I thought there were dozens: the time of nighttime thunderstorm, heat lightning time, bonfires-in-the-woods time, blood-on-the-snow time, the times of ice trees, bowing trees, crying trees, shimmering trees, breaded trees, waving-at-the-tops-only trees, and trees-drop-their-babies time. I loved the seasons of diamond snow, steaming snow, squeaking snow, and even dirty snow and stone snow, for these meant the time of flower blossoms on the river was coming,
These seasons were like important and holy visitors and each sent its harbingers: pinecones open, pinecones closed, the smell of leaf rot, the smell of rain coming, crackling hair, lank hair, bushy hair, doors loose, doors tight, doors that won’t shut at all, windowpanes covered with wet petals, windowpanes covered with yellow pollen, windowpanes pecked with sap gum. And our own skin had its cycles too: parched, sweaty, gritty, sunburned, soft.
The psyches and souls of women also have their own cycles and seasons of doing and solitude, running and staying, being involved and being removed, questing and resting, creating and incubating, being in the world and returning to the soul-place. When we are children and young girls, the instinctive nature notices all theses phases and cycles. It hovers quite near us and we are aware and active at various intervals as we see fit.
Once, we lived by these cycles and seasons year after year, and they lived in us. They calmed us, danced us, shook us, reassured us, made us learn creaturally. They were part of our soul-skins-a pelt that enveloped us and the wild and natural world-at least until we were told that there really were only four seasons to a year, and that women themselves really only had three seasons-girlhood, adulthood and old womanhood. And that was supposed to be that.
But we cannot allow ourselves to sleepwalk wrapped in this flimsy and unobservant fabrication, for it causes women to deviate from their natural and soulful cycles and therefore to suffer from dryness, tiredness and homesickness. It is far better for us to return to our own unique and soulful cycles regularly, all of them, any of them.”
Clarissa Pinkola Estes – Women Who Run With the Wolves