The sea is rumbling and agitated. Even a half mile away in a quiet neighborhood dense with evergreen trees, I hear its low voice, timeless and primordial, louder than normal.
I have been feeling restless, myself, and burdened by carrying a basket of grumbles that I wish I could lay aside. What I need is to sit beneath the arms of a noble, gnarled oak and plant each disappointment as if it were a darkly polished acorn, recognizing the secret gift of it, and count my blessings instead. Or toss each one, glinting, into the ocean’s fathomless depths.
The poet Rumi wrote, There are a thousand ways to kneel and kiss the ground; there are a thousand ways to go home again.
Whenever I am out of sorts—blue, restless, unwell, disappointed—I need to touch the earth, feel it soft and yielding beneath my footsteps. Always it is the embrace that I must return to. Tell me what you love, it breathes voicelessly as the wind rustles the surrounding trees, and I will remind you who you are.
Here, now. Kiss the ground. Open your heart to everything and touch the sacred in this moment, whispering, holy, holy.
In the chilled, hushed air of sunrise, softly I speak aloud, as if sharing a secret between us. Each word a prayer, a wisp of blue fragrant smoke, calling my soul home to itself while simultaneously invoking and praising something much larger.
Earth under my feet, I am reminded that I spend too much time in my head rather than dancing, roaming trails of coastal canyons, or sitting quietly on a hillside and listening to forgotten voices—the ones who would tell me everything if only I would listen; the ones who remind me that I am not my thoughts, but something much more embodied and real.
As flesh, bone, and breath, it’s such a short time we inhabit this beautiful earth—each of us a unique constellation of creativity and warmly animated matter that will never again be duplicated in exactly the same way. My time here is more valuable than merely ‘work’ with its notions of progress, success, or merit.
The modern world we inhabit is mostly an illusion, a paper economy made of electronic phantoms, numbers on a computer screen. We base our worth on a collective societal agreement that the pieces of cloth-paper we carry in our wallets have value, that such value varies according to whatever numbers and faces are printed upon them. We have traded gold coins for pieces of paper, our souls for corporate jobs, and wildness for domesticity.
The sacred has been banished, along with mystery.
Here, now, with dried cypress needles underfoot and the singing voice of the sea, this is what’s real—not my number of Facebook friends or Twitter followers, not my accomplishments or seeming failures, nor the evening news. I don’t want more information, that’s just smoke and mirrors—mental masturbation for my brain. No, no, no. Fill my heart, instead.
Give me birdsong, amber bees loving the fragrant lavender flowers, and a luminous sunset that feeds my soul. Shatter me with heart stopping beauty that makes me reach for my beloved’s hand, squeezing it tightly. I want unrestrained, embodied sex that shakes my entire body, crashing wildly with waves of sensation and making me howl at the moon. And I want thoughts that drift leisurely like clouds of changing shape, not a list of things to do by three o’clock, or a punctuated stream of superficial comments online.
My bare feet on the ground, morning breeze touching my face, I am listening. We are surrounded by stories, each thing in quietly humming relationship with everything else, but we have forgotten—or never learned—how to listen. We do not hear the summoning, voiceless words that enquire:
Who are you, and what do you bring?
What do you know of your wild soul?
How do you stand in relationship to the many realms of interconnected reality?
What will you offer of yourself without shame or apology? And what will you leave behind for the benefit of others … for Earth?
Draped in pastel hues of dawn and dusk, these are the questions—the only ones worth living in this short span of existence.
Yet too often I forget both the queries and answers I have found. Or I doubt that what I bring is worthy and has value. Real value, like sweet, golden carrots dug from dark soil and piled in the kitchen sink, or a supper lovingly made from fresh garden bounty and placed upon the table amid flickering beeswax candles. Or the wrinkles at the edge of my beloved’s eyes when we laugh at the absurdity of it all, the moments we look back fondly upon as life slips quietly away, one day at a time. That kind of value.
I ask myself, why do you worry so? Why cannot I trust that I am guided, protected, and cared for in each moment, that everything that happens is simply an opportunity for growth, no matter how difficult it seems? Why do I slip back into the illusion, seeing myself as separate and my actions mechanical, when I know that all is connected and in conscious relationship with everything else?
Grace abounds, often manifesting in the most curious, unexpected manner. And when we offer something from the soul, the Universe responds in kind.
This moment, flowing seamlessly into the next in a lifestream of spirit, will never come again. The challenge is to wake up from the modern dream world, the technological trance, and step outside the four walls that contain us. Life isn’t about slips of cloth-paper in your wallet or numbers on a printout from the bank, nor the number of readers of an article, books sold or not. It’s about the grass under your feet, your beating heart, quiet tides of breath, and the hum inside your cells.
Here, now. Listen to the wind as it rustles the trees, giving them an audible voice. Catch the comments of the twittering birds, the distant chant of the sea. Inhale the fragrance of cypress and evergreens, the faint tangy note of the coastal air. Breathe in, breathe out. Remember who you are.
Move your bones, let your body bend and sway. Descend from your head into your heart. Let this earth be the thing that you love, knowing that it sustains you and that you are inseparable from it. Can you love her as deeply and passionately as the beloved still sleeping in your bed? Or your children and family, human or four-legged? The earth is no less deserving of your tender gaze, gentle touch, your soft words of praise and appreciation.
At moments, I forget what I know in my heart. And I take life too damn seriously.
So I step outside my small cottage, listening to the rumbling ocean in the distance, my unclad soles meeting the cool earth and, if only for a while, I set my basket of mental burdens on the porch. On the horizon, a bright star of morning glimmers like a diamond. This way, follow me. Once more I am inspired to take up my dreams, wrapped in the tattered silk of prayers, and go on, one foot after the other, heading west into the mystery and climbing the mountain.
The world desperately needs a compassionate man’s heart, and I offer mine forward, beating and strong. Weeping, sometimes, for the heartbreak and losses of life, great and small. Let me live my days as a wild love prayer to the Beloved.
How do we rewild the heart? Tear off the bandages. Turn off the computer and your phone. Go outdoors and breathe the unconditioned air. Lay your hands upon the roughly furrowed bark of a tree and gaze up at the sky through its tangled branches, shifting your perspective. Shed your shoes. Feel the earth under your bare feet, connecting with what’s real. Come back to life. With each breath, return home to yourself.
Then kneel and kiss the ground, covered with painted leaves.