What’s Happening {When It Feels Like Nothing Is}, Part 2

Zen Circle

On the theme of feeling like nothing is happening, it was a quiet week last week. So quiet, I couldn’t even get myself to write a post to you.

And then this week, anticipating the big storm that didn’t quite happen (at least where I live in NY’s Hudson Valley)…that was a good nothing happening!

It’s a time of things brewing under the surface; been honoring that energy even more this winter than in years past. The practices that I’ve cultivated — meditation, prayer and inquiry — are creating new currents of acceptance and faith. My roots feel wider and stronger because of them.

And out of that has come a poem, the first one in a long while. Which just goes to show that sometimes, you need a lot of fertilizer and weed pulling before the fruit is ripe enough to harvest.


There’s a hole that your whole being wants filled.
It will never be filled.
The best you can do is sit
in the center of it
and sink.
There is no bottom, but once
you surrender to the feeling
of tumbling
You’ll begin to float.
And in floating feel buoyant
yet held.
The fear of falling will cease.
In its place
tender shoots of trust will sprout,
tendrils wrapping you lovingly
within the web of creation.
{SHR 1/25/2015}

Have you had an experience of this? I would love to hear about it…

What’s Happening {When It Seems Like Nothing Is}

Feather, old-style vector

I noticed a different energy yesterday as I ran errands in the 14 degree chill of Upstate New York. A sense of impatience in the supermarket parking lot. A weariness in the shoppers milling about in the produce department.

A hunkering down. A pulling in.

There’s no denying it — we’re in the deep part of winter now. It’s when time can feel as frozen as the ground, as suspended as a feather floating slowly in midair.

Even though the pace of life seems to go hurtling on no matter what (hey, we have electricity, 24/7 everything, devices for every available moment and location, why stop?!), the sheer intensity of cold and nature’s inertia still pulls on us.

And that’s not a bad thing.

There’s a reason there’s a season for everything. We need time to sleep. We need time to dream. We need time to stop producing so that when we go back to producing, there’s light and space and air to let new things emerge.

In truth, there’s always something going on under the surface. Even as we sleep, cells are dying and being born, air is moving in and out of our lungs, blood is pumping through our veins and arteries.

The question is, can we trust the quiet? Can we lean into the wisdom of cycles, of changing rhythms, of the something that exists in the nothing, and vice versa?

Truthfully, we all show up in a variety of seemingly dualistic ways:


Each of these has a place. It’s the yin to the yang, each a piece of the whole that makes you who you are, that keeps the world spinning in its orbit. Some bulbs and trees get planted in the fall so they have all winter to acclimate to being in the ground, while others wouldn’t survive and need to wait until spring’s thaw.

How do you acclimate to the changing rhythms of the season? Do you allow yourself space and freedom to hunker down? And if not, how does that serve you, truly? (That’s not a sarcastic or judgmental question — it may in fact truly serve you and I’d love to hear how/why).

Please share your insights, aha’s and challenges.

Serving Life 101

4 Nested White Bowls On White Background

First, happy new year to you! If you’re anything like me, there’s a certain relief to turning the calendar to January first and putting the rush of December into the past. Resolutions or not, there is a sense of freshness and possibility that comes with the clean slate of a new year.

What does it mean to you to serve life? You might be thinking “oh yeah, I serve all right! My partner, my kids, my co-workers, my parents. What more could I possibly be doing?!?”

On one level, yes, serving those we love is serving life. But dig a little deeper, and you’ll find more refinement. The biggest one is sometimes the hardest to believe:

You serve life by serving your own needs.

This is why it’s Course 101, the gut level course. It’s the foundation for all the rest. Trust that serving your own needs (and I’m talking true needs, not desires for chocolate cake and pedicures — although sometimes those can fit the bill) adds to the goodness and beauty of the world:

  • Your need to write poetry.
    Your need to buy and arrange fresh flowers for the kitchen table or office credenza.
    Your need to play the guitar, or piano, or ukelele, fumbling fingers or not.
    Your need to lie on your back with your legs up, gazing out at the sky and trees.
    Your need to have peace and quiet while chopping vegetables for soup, enjoying the rhythm and the crunch.

Your own fulfillment adds to the integrity of life. It’s not an addendum, a “when everything else is done” or a negotiable. It’s a must. It’s an art. It adds to the balance of our imbalanced planet.

You know it when you experience it. That sense of calm and purpose. That tickle of joy behind your ribcage. The undeniable sense that this seemingly small act ties you to what lies beyond the physical realm.

It’s different for each of us. For me, one way is writing to you each week, offering encouragement, ideas, inspiration. How about for you?