Open Space...


Ruby and I traveled from Amarillo, Texas to Santa Fe yesterday. We woke this morning to the grace of knowing that we would not travel long distance in the car today. We are 'taking a leave' from the road for three days to rest and be present in New Mexico. Santa Fe is a welcome return, especially staying outside the town for long walks and open space.


I have traveled so much in the last ten years–many places–but traveling this time in the U.S. at this moment feels so very different. In the places I traveled internationally–Russia, Myanmar, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey, Germany, Jordan, Israel, Lithuania, Afghanistan and more–I was always traveling with a specific intent, purpose, but I also knew, I needed to always be ready to review and re-design those on the go. I needed to always simply 'listen'...to the people, the politics, the rhythms and forms of the local life, and access what was the 'right' next move....


To be open to flux, change, fluidity....to honor the present moment....


But I realize that on this trip driving across the U.S., I've traveled domestically in these last years with far more expectations, with far more judgments about how and what things should look like, how they should proceed, unfold. Perhaps, it was the idea of 'vacation' or simply the 'familiarity' that led me to be more constrictive, less open–I am not sure. But what I experience now is 'allowance'–allowing the day, things, to unfold as they do. My purpose simply to be present, awake, joyful...and full of listening. Fear can't exist in this: vibrationally it literally can't be present. When one is in the present moment, there is no fear. Fear is based in the past–what has already occurred or what taught you to hold fear in the first place. And I realize that was what made me good at traveling and doing the work I did do internationally–was to always be curious rather than fearful. To be open, flexible, and receptively wide-eyed with joy rather than hold strict expectations or judgment.


That is part of the 'fluency' of being, isn't it?


Rather than wrapping ourselves up in expectation, rigid goals, objectives--no matter what our vision is–to instead have direction, vision, without grasping, without saying, "It has to unfold this way." To listen instead for what wants to be done.


Lee Harris, who has been such a wonderful transformational guide for me and many, many others, channels the "Z's". They once said, when you are in vibrational joy, the vibration of love, you aren't in fear and when you are in the vibration of joy and love, you do not need to 'seek' those or those situations that also hold that vibration. They appear because you are aligned with them, you are 'open' to receiving them; there is not 'seeking' in the way we normally think of 'trying'.


After our first initial day of traveling, Ruby and I spent the better part of the next day in Lexington, Virginia. Initially, I wondered, "Why? And where can I find a good place to eat, to write, to sit while having a coffee? One that is not too noisy or filled with music..." And just like that I happened on two--not one--but two. And I can only say that in each was a focus, an easy, calm attention that one could step into and participate in its energies.


Lexington has a deep quiet stillness beneath its busyness.


There is a deepness there, a sense of depth I could not put my finger on. It's not just the history of Washington and Lee associated with the place, nor the university, nor the Liberal Arts Military Academy. I realized it was connected to a deeper history. Later, I discovered that Native Americans too had been camping in the region for nearly 11,000 years. It is a soft spot on the earth, a place of receptivity. A holding place. And while I say these words, I realize I do not totally understand what they mean, but I know their experience... the receptivity of the place itself makes it a 'soft spot'....and that is what I 'felt'...beneath the brick and mortar of the town, the day... beneath the fact of Lee's chapel, and beneath the Seige or Battle of the Hemp Bales of the Civil War... It was a soft spot on a route of migration. A holding space. And because it belongs to the earth itself, it still is...


Walking around Lexington I realized that I could 'stop' there for a while...and then suddenly two 'job' signs appeared–because I was receptive to stopping, and overheard conversations too all invoked a "yes, you could stop here for a while if you chose..." And while I knew I would not stop after one day's journey, I knew I was also being shown that I didn't need to 'seek,' worry–I simply needed to be open, receptive...in joy, curiosity, love... that those places which aligned vibrationally with something in me that needed to be touched would make themselves known to me through invitation.


I had many incredible experiences traveling internationally by being open in this way. I was led to many experiences that 'opened me' in ways that I cannot fully articulate...but I always left with a vision, an archetypal image come into view, and a clarifying sense of connection, and when they initially started to occur, I don't think I knew how to integrate them upon my return home.


One of the more mysterious of those places that I was 'led' to was in the old city in Jerusalem. I was with a colleague. We were wandering down the old streets, into small alleyways–past rug sellers, past jewelry vendors, past herb stands and vegetable and fruit markets, past shawls and into more convoluted walk ways. And then, out of nowhere, we were turning into an open but broken garden space. For no reason, I simply wandered in and the colleague with me followed too. Two men and a young boy were sitting in front of yet another doorway or passage–hardly held up by brick and mud.


"Welcome" they said and moved apart for us.


We walked into an old dusty space and there were banks of drawers and trays of stones and old jewelry. And then an elderly man appeared. He watched us and then casually said, "So, who are you? I was not looking for any appointment today. How did you get here? Who sent you?" And then he literally proceeded to give us names of actors, princes, politicians who had been to him as collectors of ancient objects worthy of museum status. When we insisted that we were from New York and merely wandering and landed there, he kept saying, "No one finds this place unintentionally–are you sure it was not ....... who sent you...or this politician...this museum..." and he produced a ledger in which names were not only listed but signed, some with their official insignia stamped. It was as if he too were just as astonished that we had arrived there as we were.


At that point, my colleague and I felt that perhaps we had stumbled into the 'wrong' situation and noticing our confusion, he smiled and gestured us kindly into another room–filled with statues and more–as if to authenticate who he was. And then he opened yet another door, and said, "This room I cannot allow you in but look inside..." And it was like a tiny museum of ancient statues and more. Drawing our attention back, he began to show us very small pieces...the least he said not worth less than $1,500, most in the thousands. My colleague was intrigued by rings and so he began to show us those from Egypt, Jordan, and of ancient areas elsewhere...ancient pieces from along the Nile that held the energy of energies of the region.


As we listened, we understood we were being 'gifted' with a rare moment of seeing the past in a way we'd not expected...it was intimate, personal, and causal, and as my colleague placed rings on her fingers that once were worn by the Nubian we exchanged glances of disbelief and inhaled deeply trying to take it in. At moments we'd even laugh, insisting somewhere inside that this was all some charade, which only led us further into being shown more amazing objects.


I left with a small iron horse...placed in my hand by this man himself as he said, "Are you sure, you will not tell me who you truly are...how you came to know, find this place..?" Once more we insisted we were merely teachers visiting who had wandered deeply into the old city and found our way there...


We felt we had been 'gifted' with a rare moment of being. And of course, as we were guided out by one of the elderly men initially at the door, we realized no matter how hard we'd try, we'd never find this place again. We questioned it's authenticity, but we each knew it was 'true' in a way that couldn't be denied. And my small iron horse is indeed, it turns out, worthy of a small pedestal in a glass case in the Metropolitan museum.


Without knowing it, we had spent over five hours there...through tea and sweets brought to us, through long exchanges of incredulous looks and breath-taking stories about objects placed in our hands. Later than night, we were both speechless, quiet, believing but unbelieving as well. The next day, I walked and walked, and while walking near the closed 'East Gate' overlooking the valley and Mt. Zion and the sun was shining and birds were flying and the light lifted the sight of olive trees and the dusty land into its own place of being, and the violences and conflicts of the region were still in play as so many lives I knew that were being shaped by those realities were going about their day, time just opened up...simply opened into space...and I knew as certain as the blood that ran through me, all those peoples of the past were still present, still passing over the land, still dancing, still singing under the night sky.... and in this spot that I had been told many jumped to their deaths, I knew in that moment they were not jumping to their death, but into life... and just as that knowing was shivering through me, a swell of seagulls swept over and above me into the tide of the day...


Flying back to New York I kept feeling, realizing, that somehow I was 'busying' my life with work, with participating in a story, a timeline, that was both real and unreal...that the universe was far more expansive...and that it was all here right in front of us...all of it...and if we could see it, experience it, it would change how we are with each other...that we would see just how connected we are, ancient and future alike...that we could touch all of it right now....


Perhaps that was one of the earlier moments that I began to sense that my life was changing in a way that I could not articulate but in a way that I knew our relationship to the earth, to the land and history, to the places on it, is so much vaster than we allow ourselves to experience. And there are places that we are called to in ways that we can't imagine, but we can experience them if we allow ourselves the time to. Whether it be the next block over, or half way around the world. And when we allow it, things just conspire to make it happen...


Many times, I've heard Lee Harris speak of places he's visited as an intuitive and talked about the presence of the place, its unique tones, resonances, spaces of being–its verticality or depth or breadth. I knew I had had experiences feeling into a place--we all have them, everyone of us–but I had not particularly consciously let that lead me, show me what I needed to see. Nor was it something I talked about–only wrote about in poetry, in writing, upon reflection. But it was not a part of my every day parlance, a part of sharing my life, or a part of expressing how or why I was doing something. For so many of us, this knowing, this knowledge, gets smothered, tamped down, by reason, rationality, practical, logical directives.


So, when Ruby and I left Virginia, I knew I was going to allow myself to experience larger places, spaces, differently–and speak it. And so in the times Ruby and I have stopped at a park to walk, to listen, I've consciously allowed myself to listen in a way that I've only unconsciously done before, or allowed myself to experience more fully only in nature. And I began to really experience, listen to, how my own body and vibration responded to the spaces, the places we moved through. And when we came into the wide open spaces of Texas and then into the landscape of New Mexico, my heart felt an openness, a wideness, I knew I needed to experience physically again–the expansiveness, the broadness, the open space, and the movement in it.


It was like my heart chakra suddenly expanded exponentially.


There is something in the openness and movement–the driving for hours–that I need to experience again after a year's stillness, of being mostly interior, deep, still and quiet in my home on the side of a small mountain in Woodstock. Here in this openness, in this movement, I realized I can see the objects laid out on the ground before me...that archetypal image of the young chief lifting the objects to the sky–to see what belongs, and what no longer does. The objects, the ways of being, the ways of doing, seem just now so much clearer in a broader, horizontal perspective, though they are still spread round in the open space of being. I will know which to keep and pick up, which to set aside in honor and love. And I will know how to embody those I keep and how to continue to let go, shed the others with grace and ease.


And I do welcome the new...the ancient me in the future me... through the present moment.


And I know the Mindful Heart is a part of this....and the sessions I've been offering... and there will be workshops...but they will be different than the so many I've led before... and to those who have asked me already to co-lead, co-plan a workshop, a retreat... I am nearing that...I am readying to plan and be in those differently...to embody their space differently.... but I know too right now...I am traveling over this land as a way of being...and stopping where I am called to stop... listening intuitively rather than moving from a set time-frame, a set plan mapped out. It is the movement, the going that is the open space...


In deep gratitude...


Coming into New Mexico.... a most amazing evening...











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