Photography: Gaye Abbott, 1/11/23
“Knowing that our lives are incomprehensibly precious, fragile, and fleeting reminds us to stop in our tracks and take stock, every moment, of what matters, how much is enough, and where wisdom would direct our attention. Yet, facing and befriending our mortality seems to be the one thing that so many of us most heartily avoid. What a conundrum…”
~Kristi Nelson, Executive Director of a Network For Grateful Living
It was necessary to begin the year with surrendering into a body that had been injured and lacked the mobility and freedom from discomfort I was used to, due to three injuries over an 8 month period of time. A time to disconnect from anything external that would take my attention except for the solace of the natural world.
The intention of silence and solitude for six days was entered into with a great letting go on January 1, 2023. Little did I know it was to be taken apart. Until then the seeming lengthening of available time in the day, coupled with the freedom to simply be present to each moment, was enhanced by a personal decision to ban all digital or electronic means of connecting or communication.
And then everything changed 2 days later when I happened to check my email. Not to respond or open it, but to make certain there wasn’t something that needed my attention. One did.
A beloved friend in Australia had died suddenly and I knew that a response to her best friend who had sent the email was absolutely necessary, tears flowing down my face.
So many thoughts and emotions vying for attention all at the same time. So this was what this time of silence and solitude was to transform into. The devastating loss of her embodied presence in my life and the inescapable truth that we were the exact same age – only a month apart.
A deeply felt sense of fragility, vulnerability, loss and grief flooded in.
This friend lived “out loud” colorfully and fully in my experience of her over the 16 years we had known each other. The question of whether I was living a life fully or was unconsciously in the black and white “safe and comfortable” zone came bubbling up to the surface.
Though I hold my own death as an integral part of this human journey and am not afraid of it, I realized in the moment I heard about her sudden death that I could also be taken from embodiment in this way. At any time.
In the ten days since she died I have been questioning my own life and how I am living it. Is it in the patterned reality of black and white patterns….or more generously impregnated with color, texture and light. Perhaps a combination of both woven together in a unique tapestry. One not exclusively better than the other, but instead an integral part of being alive.
“In sacred geometry every living organism is made up of precise, numerical, repetitive patterns. Our lives are designed to enhance nature’s patterns with our own creativity. This creates harmony and beauty.”
~Mary Reynolds, The Garden Awakening
Dawn in Western N. Carolina, 1/11/23, Photo Gaye Abbott
How can we appreciate the color and beauty of our lives if we have not become familiar with the other landscapes and patterns. The contrast and the myriad of experiences within each.
Black holds all of the colors hidden from sight. Through the touch of light each one is revealed through a blank canvas of exploration – the unique artistry of our own lives intimately interconnected with the whole.
This morning, for a few moments in time, I was washed in the beauty of color and light of this dawning day. Yet, if I hadn’t looked up and gazed out the window I would have missed it all. In a few moments in time it faded and was replaced by a seemingly colorless gray sky without texture, followed by the rising of the sun which once again changed the canvas above.
A reminder of the absoluteness of change and the certainty of never fully knowing what may unfold in any given moment.
Living “in color” for me evokes passion, desires, and unpredictability laced with courage and surrender where I accept that everything is always changing and transforming.
It takes a solid trust and self love to live in color. To not be concerned about what others feel or think of you. To live from the fullness of who you are becoming. Courageous enough to visit the challenges and pain life brings and dive down into them. The black and white reality of embodied life woven with color.
To acknowledge when it is time for silence and solitude, retreating within the rich interior color of our being. To celebrate the artistry of life, love, relationships and beauty….as well as hold with loving attention the grieving, pain and sadness we all carry.
For God’s sake to breathe fully. No holding back. To emerge from the stone holding back the expression that is bubbling underneath like magma so ready to flow. No longer willing to be contained.
Am I able to be that?
In this moment it is enough to be grateful for the next breath….
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You can find ALL of the 2022 31-Days Elder Muse posts in the archives here: https://wildlyfreeelder.com/2022/12/
Gaye Abbott, Wildly Free Elder, 01/12/23