over the past couple years i’ve been growing more and more accustom to greeting the sun to start my day. it is one of the perks, let’s say, of living basically not in a house. so those months on bike tour or hiking the coast, or living out of paco-the truck; beginning the day in this way has become routine, habit, bodily memory, and ritual. little did i know until recently that this has also opened me in ways i am just becoming aware of. kind of like those first cracks of rays over a jagged mountain.
one of those rays is finding a wider understanding of grief. i believe that grief and loss is a type of blessing. to have the gift of beings in my life that i have loved and have loved me; those who nurtured my spirit, who shaped me in ways i may never really know, who’s loss i feel pretty much every day…well what i gift, truly. and it really only makes sense that when i no longer have those people in my life for what ever the reasons may be, it will hurt. the loss will be painful. but i don’t think that there is a hole from their absence, but perhaps it fills another. or, perhaps, the memories of them, the lessons or the effects they have had on us just keeps filling us wether they are near us still or not. there is an imprint that never truly goes away
but what has dawned on me recently (pun intended as this is about the sunrise), is just how wide grief can go, and how celebrating grief and the joy and love that it can come with, does indeed add to the beauty of the world. and as i explore this idea more and more, the more open i am becoming, or at least i am not as closed up as i have been.
let’s see if i can explain a little…
i left las cruces a couple months back to take a job in northern arizona. it was harder to leave than i had expected. in just over a year i was starting to build a little life of friends, connections i’ve been searching for…a spiritual community that i was missing for a long time. so i decided to take my time in arriving to the new job and map out a route that would take me to places i’ve been wanting to visit for soooo long. places like chaco canyon and bandelier national monument. homes to the ancients of this land, the ancestors of the land. as well as family that i don’t often have the opportunity to visit much.
there was a moment when i was sitting on the mesa over looking chaco canyon, taking in the view that people took 700 years ago, the same kind of moment i had at the gila cliff dwellings, bandelier, and aztec ruins monuments. thoughts i’ve had gazing at the petroglyphs and pictographs. views mixed with the teachings i’ve been trying to learn of the people who have lived and thrived with this land in this region, down into norther “mexico” and “south america” the toltec, mayan, aztec, inca people.
many of these musings i can not yet put into words, but some i can.
this one moment i experienced that complicated mixture of anger and sadness. eventually that emotional cocktail turned to grief mixed with the gratitude for the beauty and the love that is growing in me for cultures that despite settler colonialism, are still around and still teaching us.
the anger was in these cultures, these people, these lessons were never in any of my “american history” classes. in-fact, most of the things i have wanted to learn, i have had to go in search of. i have had, and have to, and get to, go find the teachers that i trust. teachers that i feel are reliable, and since most of this is not academic learning that i am searching out, it is also teaching me how to use and cultivate my intuition and to trust myself on who i want to work with, and who wants to work with me and trusts me…a white person. learning how to learn in different ways. not to expect that just because i pay a fee i should feel entitled to information, or just because i come curious, i should expect anything at all. i’ve also had to learn how to filter the teachings that may contain sexist, homophobic, transphobic, personal bias, or harmful teachings from the deeper lessons. because we all have flaws, but that doesn’t make us all flawed.
then this all turned into one huge lesson in gratitude for all that got me up to that ledge, that overlook. every being i have encountered. all the teachers that have crossed my path. all the work i have done and continue to do that helps me unlearn, and thus relearn, or maybe it is rebuild this relationship i want to have with this world and universe around me. relationships…really what else is there?
the reminder that i can not separate myself from my surroundings, from the air i breath, the water i drink, the food i eat. that everything every being that i come into contact with, every experience i have is a part of me, and just as importantly, i with them. that we, our communities, or relationships go so much deeper than our immediate surroundings. that indeed they can go back 500 or 800 years ago, and therefor we can go as far into the future, or further.
so today, this earth day, i walk and ponder, not so much what will i leave behind for those who join us next, but how will i continue to build this relationship, this love i have for this place, this space of unlimited unconditional love? and how grateful i am to be opening more, to be vulnerable enough to care enough, knowing that to have the joy and the depth of experience, of relations, is to know that we will also experience great loss and grief. there is no way to have one without the other.
just to have a magnificent warming of a winter sunrise…i must also experience the cold that comes with a beautiful winter sunset.