Apprenticeship to Love, March 28, 2024

  • Today’s questions: Have you slowed enough to feel what’s true for you? Do you know how quietly you will have to walk, to know?
  • Today's suggested practice: Day 23 of this month's practice, to pause and feel the sacred space within (see my "Short Practice,” below)
  • My practice today: 2am: 60 minutes: yoga, breath, stillness
  • Did I do my vulnerability practice today? N How about you? Y/N?

★REMINDER, DEAR "1000 EARLY READERS"... The next Apprenticeship to Love virtual workshop, on March 30 with Sarah Anderson, is now open for limited registration at . Free to all Premium, Premium+, and EXTRA subscribers

I'm looking into the cold, wet garden from the comforts of my fire-warmed home. The daffodils are nodding in the rain. Tulips, almost opened by yesterday's sun. Day lilies and Asiatic lilies and irises well on their way to their May-June-July dates with blossoming.

I've left the sweetpeas late this year. The fragrant white ones, for her "moon garden," are soaking in a glass on the patio. It is good, for me, to let things sit. To be comfortable with being late.
I am, these days, catching up on the Stephen Jenkinson and Kimberly Ann Johnson "Forgotten Pillars" conversations. Working in the garden, listening to him wander through his words on subjects he's thought about a good part of his life. She, listening, providing a bit of direction. Questions. It's a rumination, not a performance, though I can feel his persona as a story-teller/teacher in his wandering.

Their conversations have, over recent years, given me tools to shape the things I'm wondering and wandering about. Apprenticeship. Regret. Sacrifice. Breaking momentum.

This last one keeps ringing in my mind these days. The premature haste that Imbolc, that in-between season, marks is now wanting to gallop. So SJ's disinclination to walk his prescribed daily walks strikes me funny: I too resisted walking without purpose or a friend to talk to. I resisted until my "furry angels," these dogs, required that I walk. And I chose to walk in the woods. And in choosing, I found myself returning to a place that had nourished me in younger versions of myself.

I was walking in the deep woods yesterday. A long walk. I do feel the resistance, still. But now, as per John Muir on "a la sainte terre," I'm also aware of a holy purpose to these wanderings, a holy purpose that I make more palpable the slower I go.
Slow is not a popular thing to be, today. It is a sacrificing of that which this culture seems to prize above all else: speed, efficiency, efficacy.

Sacrifice is another unpopular thing, today. The culture, pursuing —and quickly!— the skin and bones of youth is all about the ressurection side of the story. No time for the sacrifice. So, today, a few hours away from the rituals of Easter as celebrated by Christians for almost two millenia, let's sit with sacrifice as something that isn't just about the Christ, but about us. Because our thirst for youth is itself a sacrifice: of whatever it is that we are, because we are not moving towards youth, but rather towards aging. And if we are bent on renewing and renovating and ressurecting ourselves as "young," we are sacrificing who we truly are in this moment: bodies, and minds, aging.

Don't get me wrong. I too am doing what I can to renovate and renew. I too am hiding signs of aging because I'm afraid to see an old man in the mirror. I too am moved by the aches in this body to practice, physically, so that I'm as limber as I can be. I too am afraid of the mental slowing I observe in those older than me, and practice meditations to bring me clarity and insight. And what if, instead of fearing these not-insignificant markers of aging, I allowed them to talk to me, to teach me? What would that look like, feel like? To sacrifice the illusion of youthfulness and allow myself to experience who I truly am?
I've learned something in these six+ decades. What is it?

SJ makes the point that our wisdom, if we have any, is not the contents of our lives, but the way we've lived. Or words similar to that.

I make a silly joke about calling myself "Reverend" Hans instead of just Hans or HPM because it reminds me to be reverential. The humour is thin. But what it says is not. To me, anyway.

It's too easy for me to be sardonic and slightly-off appreciating in my words and ways. This is my too-quick way with the world and the people in it. And myself, perhaps. So to name myself as worthy of reverence requires that I become reverential. And that I am the first one to be so. Otherwise the honourific means nothing to anyone, least of all me.

My saunter through life, my wandering in the woods and with these words, is becoming slower. More reverential. The aches in my body remind me to be easier with myself than I might otherwise be. Maybe my slowness is a wisdom that others will understand? I'm hoping my words mean something. But, when I consider my difficulty in hearing the wisdom of others, I'm not so hopeful about that. Rather, my reverence. My saunter through this holy moment and this holy land. And especially this: my saunter through this unconventional marriage, the silence of these conversations, the distance between us —all of this adding to the slowness of this experience of what love and marriage might be, perhaps this is the wisdom that speaks more powerfully than anything I say or write.
I was not ready for sacrifice, and I did not give it much due. That's changed. I've been blessed —and I encourage you to look at the dark roots of that word, and especially as SJ offered them recently, as a bloodying, and ending of illusion— I've been blessed to receive the gifts of her sacrifice. The only way for me to be as a consequence is reverential. Grateful. Humble and humbled. Deepening, always, with every walk in the deep and silent woods, my appreciation of the mystery of the heart.

And, these days, I am grateful for her silence. For her sacrifice. For my, perhaps too late, reverence for what she has given me.

🌀Hiking — I don't like either the word or the thing. People ought to saunter in the mountains — not hike! Do you know the origin of that word 'saunter?' ...back in the Middle Ages people used to go on pilgrimages to the Holy Land, and when people in the villages through which they passed asked where they were going, they would reply, 'A la sainte terre,' 'To the Holy Land.' And so they became known as sainte-terre-ers or saunterers. Now these mountains are our Holy Land, and we ought to saunter through them reverently, not 'hike' through them. - John Muir

🌀 …the perspectives, solutions, and answers that accompany your problems and questions become your accuracy.
…The moments and spaces that they contain are found all along everyone’s wandering line of destiny… But when accessed unconsciously, you pass through them so rapidly, that you’re unaware of their existence. (Guru Singh & Guruperkarma Kaur)

🌀The Conscious Warrior is committed to developing strength of the mind, physical body, and nervous system through dedicated physical, yogic, and meditative practice. (John Wineland, Precept 6)

🌀 The goal of sacred intimacy is not to "get somewhere" with your lover.
It's to look into your lover's eyes and see the Divine. (Justin Patrick Pierce)

🌀Love is a constant process of tuning in, connecting, missing and misreading cues, disconnecting, repairing and finding deeper connection. (Dr. Sue Johnson)

🌀There are so many others. But you see me, you hear me, you know me. (My beloved, my Oracle & Siren, She who must be ravished by my presence)

Day 28 of this month's practice, to let these thoughts and feelings move through you, with less resistance:
Please read through first, then ...

  • Set two alarms, for times of the day when you have a five-10 minutes to become conscious of who and how you are in this day.
  • When the alarm sounds, wherever and however you are, take a few moments and:
    • Ask yourself: Have you slowed enough to feel what’s true for you? Do you know how quietly you will have to walk, to know?
    • Then, follow the short practice here:
      • Stand, or sit, and bring your attention to your posture.
      • Feel the ground beneath your feet or sit bones, tilt your chin slightly to lift your chest open and straighten your neck.
      • Take a deep breath, through your nose, and hold it gently for the count of six. Relax the breath for the count of eight. Repeat three times.
  • When you’re done, sit or stand for another minute or two, breathing gently, slowly filling and emptying your belly. Here, as you breathe into your fullness, ask yourself, Do I feel right? Am I in alignment with the man or woman I am? Do I even have an inkling what that might feel like? Do I even have an inkling of what it feels like to be out of alignment with myself?
  • Notice if your body-mind feels somehow changed. And whether you notice a change or not, be content with yourself, exactly as you are in this moment.
  • Continue with your day until the next alarm sounds, and repeat.