Advent 22: What Are You Waiting For?

When I walk a labyrinth, I like to take my time in the center, to pause and rest, to give space in the holy hush between in-breath and out-breath for something new to enter. In this December labyrinth, we’ve walked through increasingly dark passages, exploring the shadows, examining our own little lights, reflecting on the interplay between darkness and light.

Today the planet begins her inward spin again, back toward equilibrium, away from the outer point of our elliptical whirl. And there’s a feeling–much more poetic than scientific–of pause here at the edges. Just the slightest sensation of being between.

Breathing, like labyrinth-walking, is a steady in and out process. And like the labyrinth, it isn’t necessarily a simple in-and-turn-and-out journey. Between each breath is a little doorway into a room between breaths, a space where something new may enter.

And so, in this moment on the planetary spin, this space between breaths, this pause, this doorway, this room, we sit and we wait for what is to come. Here we sit within Time out of Time. The wait for Sunreturn is over, but Advent continues.

In the Christian tradition, we are waiting for the Child of Light to appear, for the angels to shine forth and announce a Birth. We ask ourselves what this welcome means. Is it a mystical moment, only an inner dawning? Is it a psycho-socio-political moment when we consider what it means to welcome the ones who are caught on the margins without hope of help? Is it simply the re-telling of an ancient tale? What are we waiting for?

Here in this dark, quiet room in the space between breaths, we have time to consider what it is we are waiting for. It’s not about the urgency of a child’s breathless anticipation of presents and play. We prepare these inner rooms, watch our dreams and visions, notice the way the breath moves in and out, and pauses. We wait.

Gratitude List:
1. Oyster Stew at the Town Hall Restaurant, where my father used to take my grandmother. I felt like Grandma was there, too. Even Santa stopped by, and gave us all candy canes.
2. Watching my brother teach my son to play guitar. Watching my nephew painting with my son. Playing games together, eating together. I am so grateful to be raising my children in these circles of village.
3. The twinkle and sparkle of lights.
4. The space between breaths.
5. Walking and waiting with you.

May we walk (and wait) in Beauty!

Stepping into Time out of Time

Today we slip into time out of time as we begin our journey inward again, slipping closer to our star for the next twelve weeks or so. There’s something unaccountable about the coming days, something watchful and waiting, something shifting. In the coming days, between now and the glorious morning when we welcome the newborn sun–the light streaming in–on Epiphany, I watch my dreams extra closely, mining them for the rich ore of words and images that will be the precious stones I carry with me into the coming year. Last year, it was vultures, mostly. I’m not sure I am ready to let the vultures go, but we will see what this year’s dreams will bring.

Here is a shining gift of a poem by one of my best beloveds. May the light that comes to you this day, and the shadows that settle beside you, be filled with revelation and blessings.

For Beth, Winter Solstice 2018
by Mara Eve Robbins

Born into bodies.
Steeds with spirit of storm
gallop habits
holding us back.

Sun and moon
with reins.

Leading us to light.
Leading us through darkness.

Born into riddles
with no stone.
Wings often hidden.
Scattered seeds.

We breathe to light.
We breathe through darkness.

Born into purpose.
Wavering faith
in conviction.
Truth countering accuracy.

We move to light.
We move through darkness.

Born watching waves
break generation, revolution
into revelation.

Revealing light.
Revealing darkness.

Gratitude List:
1. A friend who offers a poem to carry me through the shortest day.
2. Revelation
3. Revolution
4. Poetry
5. Shadow and Light

May we walk in Beauty!

And something I wrote one other Solstice:

How the Light Returns

Breathe deep the light-filled air.
Feel how the new sun touches you.
Remember the stars that circled you
through the long hours of darkness.
Sit within the circle of the dwindling dark
and feel the way it bathes you with memory.
Walk the bridge between dream and daylight.

These are the nights of the dreamtime. The tender new sun is born into the hush of midwinter, and we can hold the quiet light within us as we walk, careful step by careful step, out of the labyrinth. The inward journey into the darkness has stripped us of our crucial identity, piece by painful piece. And now, as we step outward, the darkness offers us new gifts, images that come in dreams. As the days gradually lengthen, and the dark nights wane, what words and images will the journey offer you to put into your pockets for the coming year?

“No matter what they ever do to us, we must always act for the love of our people and the earth. We must not react out of hatred against those who have no sense.”
―John Trudell

May you grow still enough to hear the small noises earth makes in preparing for the long sleep of winter, so that you yourself may grow calm and grounded deep within. May you grow still enough to hear the trickling of water seeping into the ground, so that your soul may be softened and healed, and guided in its flow. May you grow still enough to hear the splintering of starlight in the winter sky and the roar at earth’s fiery core. May you grow still enough to hear the stir of a single snowflake in the air, so that your inner silence may turn into hushed expectation.
―Brother David Steindl-Rast

“When someone mentions the gracefulness of the night sky, climb up on the roof and dance.”

“Be who you were created to be, and you will set the world on fire.” —St. Catherine of Sienna