Friday, September 29, 2006

Mama Says Om - Balance

In early morning, mind and body curl themselves into the only form of the lotus position they can cope with at this late time in life and slide carefully into a breathing meditation. The physical position taken is precarious, ache inducing and anything but balanced, the mind equally precarious, unbalanced and ever inclined to wander, over the hills and far away.

"Cultivate balance and be like the stones", I say to myself. "Be like the inukshuk standing serenely in the Arctic landscape, the elegant stone cairn resting amid raked sand spirals in a Zen garden. Just let go and breathe. Take no thought of your aching bones and ignore your wandering thoughts. Settle down here, Cate, balance and come back to your breath, a hundred times, a thousand times, whatever it takes."

I think fondly of the long limbed creature in her forties who scrambled easily up steep hillsides, down treacherous gorges and across soggy beaver dams in search of something, she knew not what. That younger woman was always searching for something, the sunlight falling across a wild orchid in the bog, the wind whistling through a crevice, the sound of a stream beyond the hill, a perfect fleeting moment at the top of a cliff. When younger self was engaged in these undertakings, she was in balance, and she knew it not.

Things are different now. Chances are that I spilled coffee on the counter in the kitchen this morning at first light or dropped a mug and shattered it on the tile floor. This afternoon, my stiff fingers may be unable to grasp inkstone or paint brush firmly, and the physical metabolism protests vigorously when I try to compel it to do anything at all. Balance is an elusive state glimpsed briefly now and then, but she always seems to be disappearing around the next corner in a graceful swirl of silken garments and tinkling bells. Sometimes I think I can hear her laughing at me as she moves away, amused by the longing of this eldering being for clarity, grace, balance and equilibrium.

The artless suspension of the trout in its watery medium, the grace of the fallen leaf resting in the loving arms of a tree in September, the stones resting easy by the pond and its calm waters — these are the essence of balance. Each and every trout, leaf, stone and restless being in the great wide world is already in balance, and there is no need for one to pile up the stones of her life into an inukshuk, a trail mark or a cairn — one may grow and bloom wherever she is planted.

When I enter the landscape in a spirit of openness, simplicity and reciprocity, I find myself in the heart of things - I am in balance, part of the great balance, and I usually know it not.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We are visiting such similar themes, searching for words to tell our [very feminine] story. A story so few seem interested in [in this noisy extroverted world]. There are so few cairns to mark this winding bumpy path we take.

It is good to know a fellow stumbler.