When people have been seriously traumatized – I count myself a long-time member of this vast group – we often discover an inner Guidance System that leads us to comfort and beauty, harmony and safety, against all odds. This Guidance System operates in our every day lives and manifests as simply as, “I feel great here.” When we decode “feeling great,” we discover we have gravitated to experiences that accept us as we are. This sense of acceptance is demonstrated by our physical-emotional-intellectual-spiritual ability to respond to what is, to be present, to immerse ourselves in the flow of life.
From a very early age, I felt this profound acceptance out of doors, in our garden, at our neighbourhood park, and on the beach at Point Pelee. The sense of acceptance I experienced when ice skating, swimming, wandering in silence, and staring up at the sky from my bed of autumn leaves, summer grasses, or snow taught me that no matter what misadventures might be happening among the adults who were charged with my care, I could step out into what I have come to call The Eternal Mother, my Earth Home.
As I aged into adolescence, I learned to look up, to search out the moon and the planets, to connect with their rhythmic steadfastness. Parents might disappear, but the moon was always somewhere above the horizon and ready to shine on or play peak-a-boo with me. When I learned of the moon’s magical phases and their relationship with the sun, the most steadfast of heavenly bodies, I began to understand how light . . ., sunlight, made a profound difference in my life. I felt better when I could close my eyes and offer my face to the sun. I felt better when I could shed clothes and wander around seeing, scenting, and eventually sketching the world in which I found contentment and belonging.
Eventually, I learned an Old Celtic Prayer that honoured the connection I feel to the sun. I continue to say this prayer pretty much daily, my face upturned to the eastern horizon, my hands on my heart as I recite the words:
You, who are the source of all power,
Whose rays illuminate the world,
Illuminate also my heart,
That I too may do your work on Earth.
When I say the third line, “Illuminate also my heart,” I describe the biggest heart I can on or around myself. If I’m in a confined space, the heart I describe is over my torso. If I’m standing in my garden, the heart I describe includes everything my wide open arms can include, right down to my feet and the Earth supporting them.
Experiencing myself as an essential part of the natural, larger-than-human world has kept me alive despite my early, life-threatening trauma. Feeling this steadfast, unbreakable interconnectedness with the non-human world gives me a sense of kinship with animals and plants, earth and stone, that makes me more reverent than I would otherwise be. This natural-world connection reminds me that in spite of human failings, Life belongs to Itself and that whether others know it or not, I am and will always be a part of this miraculous expression of creative chaos that unfolds throughout our galaxy and beyond.
May we all feel this sense of belonging to the vast web of life as we know it. As the Light returns to the Northern Hemisphere, may we learn the dance of connection, of peace, of meaning, and of love. Happy Winter Solstice!
Until next time,