Living Deliberately (Even in Blue)

I’m struggling lately, wrestling with a deep blue sadness in the depths of my soul. I feel the somatic urge to pull inwards into an invisible shell, a subtle rounding of shoulders as my chest collapses and breath grows shallow. Instead, rather than caving in, I am standing barefoot on the earth, breathing deep into my belly, my gaze turned upwards and my heart in hands outstretched to sun and moon.

If I listen and feel, I know that are multiple currents in my river of sadness, each with its own energy and direction. There is the fact that we are soon packing up the painted gypsy wagon and moving to a different island, the crowded hub of O’ahu. We have relocated almost too many times to count, and I am weary of being a nomad. There is also the sadness that in this upcoming shuffle, I cannot bring the precious honeybees I tend; though I have found a welcoming home for them (a beautiful organic garden here in Olinda), the loss pains me deeply. As I trudge along with the ongoing, uphill work of editing my manuscript—trying to craft something beautiful and meaningful to offer to the world—I despair whether I will ever achieve my goal. And I have both a mother-in-law and cousin-in-law in extended residence, which has significantly impacted the quiet solitude of my existence.

Tunnel entrance to Roman ampitheatre

As I swirl in the currents and eddies, I do realize that each of these troubling elements is temporary. This, too, shall pass. It’s a bit challenging to navigate but this passage is simply another stretch of the river. My task is to continue to keep my boat upright as the mysterious currents pull me onwards into new terrain and changing landscapes.

For the past five years, both living abroad and back home in the islands, my daily existence has largely been one of solitude and quiet. Working at home, I have either been surrounded by or very near to semi-wild nature; I share a deep bond with the land, a relationship with place that affects all levels of my being. Nature mirrors and nourishes my wild soul, and I confess to being more than a bit of a mystic.

I have a profound need to be fully present in my own life, to explore the contours of each passage with outstretched hands. Even in the spiral dance of conscious relationship with my partner, I have been living and working mostly in quiet seclusion… almost always residing in a house at the end of the lane or road. Our sanctuary, wherever it may be on the globe, is always a treasured and beautiful place. Within those walls, I’m not one to watch television or listen to the radio; instead a bit of quiet, world inspired music keeps me company when I want it. When my mate is away, I might go several days without hearing a human voice. Indeed, I revel in silence. It’s a space where I can listen deeply… appreciating the subtle harmonies that weave everything together.

My life is one of simplicity and little rituals that nourish the soul. My contemplative days are filled with the work of writing and editing, walking in nature, and spending time in the kitchen, always the hub of nourishment in our house. It’s a hand-shaped life, one where I can draw near to what beckons me and offer it the gift of my attention. As an artist, my role is to notice with keen attention. Listen. Appreciate. Wonder. Expand. Create. Share.

My soul walks a delicate edge between the domestic and wild: tending hearth and home (I’m a competent cook, and a man skilled at creating a sanctuary for bodymind, spirit and soul), while also requiring the nourishment of wordless immersion in nature for my communion with the ‘more-than-human’ world. When I live in a place where I can hear the wind in the trees, observe the shifting moods of light & weather, and sink into my soul work of writing and creating, I walk and live with balance.

My honeybees continue to teach me more and more about this… I will miss them so, but I also trust that one day I will steward another colony of nature’s golden alchemists.

I seek to move and live with grace while tending the details of life. It’s not unlike gardening, really: cultivating what has been planted while also pulling away the weeds. Sunlight, watering and compost (nourishment) are essential. Patience, too. It’s a quiet, cyclical existence trusting in the innate wisdom of each season… while the steady work of hands in rich, dark soil plants something for the future and eases the burdens of a heavy heart.

I’m tending my heart these days.

Truthfully, I’m happiest alone or with my partner. While I can be gregarious and social, I have only a limited amount of words for surface chatter; I prefer the depths of artistic souls and ‘evolutionary’ individuals. My ordinary living is articulate and deliberate, and I am striving to keep it so in the midst of change and expanded, noisy household. I have placed firm boundaries around my space and time. While the rhythms of my working days have not changed overly much, there is a distinct energetic difference in a house with four people as opposed to two.

In the evenings, mother-in-law and partner’s cousin appear for dinner and to spend the evening with us. I do my best to nourish them with a tasty supper and relevant conversation, and remain open to any unexpected gifts of the situation. I gently try to ‘raise the bar’ of our table talk, scattering invisible seeds on their plate that might one day sprout into a shift of perspective and expanded worldview. Then, words and energy spent, I quietly retreat to the refuge of our bedroom and the reward of an inspiring book, followed by the deep, underwater embrace of the Dreamtime.

Some passages are rougher or more challenging than others. I remind myself that this moment is as good as the next. There is no hurry. I will sink into my bones and breath here at the computer… in the kitchen… at the dining room table with our expanded family… reading my book on the floor of the living room… standing outdoors on the earth. Stay open, flexible, and expansive… feel the sadness but not collapse into it.

Repeatedly in life, I have chosen to relinquish the expectations of others and follow my soul’s authority. I continue to do so. A Soul Artist notes their habitual patterns in bodysoul and then endeavors to expand beyond the ones that limit, thus emerging into a larger, more authentic version of self. It’s an ongoing process of observing to what (and whom) do we say ‘yes’ and ‘no’. I’ve been carefully considering whether the life I’ve created has grown too small, or whether my solitary patterns keep me too restricted… fingering the edge between containment, protection, and living mindfully.

A crossroads draws near. As I navigate this passage of expanded family and soon relocating to a crowded island, may I move and live with grace. Daily I will breathe deeply and seek inspiration as I strive to live deliberately. I will dwell in possibility, for Grace abounds.

Yes, always Grace.