May 5, 2013 § 14 Comments
Sitting on the covered back porch in the evening. The rain is pounding out its staccato beat as it slides off the metal roof hitting the deck beside me.
The forest has darkened in its recesses. The tall pines slightly and rhythmically swaying. The beat of the rain rises and falls.
The green of the leaves has a less vibrant but somehow richer color in this muted light. The pieces of sky I see through the trees are glowing with the last light of day.
The wind, the rain, the rustling pines.
Whatever troubled me, whatever busy thoughts occupied me, all wash away.
Just sitting here. Alone and not alone.
Feeling the natural rhythm of life in this place.
Feeling the immense peace and gratitude.
May 2, 2013 § 36 Comments
The storms have come.
The waters rise in the wetlands surrounding my home here- dark pools amidst the tall pines. The drenching rain, cascading off the metal roof, creates waterfalls just outside the windows. You can feel in your bones the resonance of the rumbling thunder.
When that echoing thunder subsides, I go to the sea. Beneath the angry sky, the ocean is a roiling and foamy cauldron.
Some of these dark and stormy days I stand on the beach and scan the long arc of shoreline in each direction. Not another soul, for miles and miles.
I love the sun, the feel of it on my skin, the magic it creates shimmering across the water. But this gray and forbidding time, I love this as well.
Perhaps I sense that nature is showing me her turbulence and disorder, screaming her existence, and in that way, mirroring my own inner turmoil, offering her stormy kinship.
Or perhaps it is just the feel of that cold, sharp wind on my face and the freight train roar of the sea when it’s up and charging. I think, who could stand on this beach right now and not feel alive?
The sun will return, the sea will fall back into its rhythm. She will whisper again the message that helps me keep my footing. I will feel her strong but gentle pull, righting me to my center.
But when the storms come again, when her voice rises in that insistent roar, I will also feel nature’s message. Live, she demands. Live right here, right now. Live this one life you have been given.
Feel inside the scream of existence that I model for you.
When the storms come again.
April 7, 2013 § 23 Comments
In Zen we do not look back- or forward. There’s just this moment, here and now.
But today, I consciously step out of that way.
Exactly one year ago yesterday, I posted here for the first time. No idea what would come of this. Doubted whether anyone would ever actually read what I wrote. Wondered if I would stick with it.
Unsure, doubtful, hesitant.
A year later. Still moments of doubt, still times when I drift away. But of this I am sure- the writing I have done here, and the connections that have arisen for me here, have enriched my life beyond measure.
I am in this work. I can feel myself in the passages. I feel also the presence of those who’ve come here. We have opened ourselves to each other. A vibrant and shared intimacy tumbles through these pages.
I should not feel pride, I know. But I do. A year ago, I took a step, hesitant and unsure. And then I plunged. Good for me.
I feel also a nearly overwhelming sense of gratitude- for the work, for the exquisite souls with whom I’ve stood here, for life itself.
And so in this moment, right here, right now, I feel the peace of the journey.
April 2, 2013 § 11 Comments
Nearly a year ago I began writing this blog. For most of that time, I have been blessed by a connection with Susan Cooper- a brilliant writer and artist- a generous soul who always seeks to shine a light on the work of others.
Susan paid me the great compliment of proposing a collaboration- her art and my words. Please go to Susan’s pages and see our entwined work. http://findingourwaynow.com/2013/04/reflections-by-thomas-ross-story-podcast.html
March 19, 2013 § 31 Comments
Cold and gray this morning. The storm has moved on.
I sit at the wall of glass looking into the pine forest that encircles my home along the southern coast. I hear only the sound of the coffee brewing and the faint clicks from the keyboard as I write these words.
Right now the wind from the tail end of the storm is moving through the tall pines. Each tree moves rhythmically with the wind, first bending to the wind’s will and then swaying back to its upright posture. Yielding just enough to accommodate the gusts and then returning to its centered, upright way.
The wind ceases. The dance ends. The trees are nearly still now, just quivering a bit in the soft breeze that remains.
And then the wind comes up. The dance commences again.
This cycle repeats- still, then quivering, and then swaying- a choreography of wondrous and hypnotic beauty.
I have not written anything for more than two weeks. I have thought of writing every day. And every day I somehow wasn’t able to write- too busy, the idea for the writing unworthy, whatever.
But this morning, I didn’t think about writing, I just sat here and looked out the window. Wrote what I felt and what I saw.
Nature always models the way. Giving up resistance, the tree bends to the wind. But when the wind passes, she returns naturally to her centered existence.
The winds took me away because I resisted, I tried to think my way out. But when I ceased fighting those winds, when I stopped thinking about what I had to do, I found myself again- here, at the window, watching the waltz in the woods.
March 5, 2013 § 43 Comments
Strength feeds strength, as weakness feeds weakness.
Weeks of drifting. A ghost of myself, neither truly alive nor fully present.
A malaise to match the gray, damp, chill that has hovered over my city. Shuffling through the grimy streets with my devoted companions- doubt, fear, and evasion.
Even as I got things done, I performed rather than existed. Not committed. Not engaged. Thinking, thinking, thinking. Busy, busy, busy.
This morning different. Meditation. A walk in the woods. Being present with those I love. Strength. The flesh and bones of true being shattering that pale, ghostly shell.
And then the sun came out. I bathed in its warmth, adored the way it lit up the snow and ice, lost myself in the blue sky.
But those were just extra things.
The light of my true self had already broken through. All I needed.
February 5, 2013 § 43 Comments
Wandering through the museum, appraising the creations scattered along the walls, I found myself before the Rothko and everything stopped. Anchored in place, rooted in the moment. That breathtaking moment.
Taking a different path that morning, I walked into the woods in the crisp morning air. I stopped, stood dead still, hearing only my breath and the faint rustle of the wind. I saw the trees arching into the infinite blue sky. I took a breath and everything fell away.
I remember seeing her standing in my office doorway, so many years ago. The way she stood, her dark hair and luminous brown eyes. Her arresting and vulnerable beauty. I knew we would be together, I knew.
In the intervening years, I have often returned to the Rothko, walked those woods countless times, and lived my life with the woman who stood that day in my doorway. All familiar to me now.
But when I return to that painting, when I step into those woods, it is like the first time. Filled with wonder, overcome with gratitude- undiminished.
We often think that these feelings- the feelings of the new- in time must leave us. We imagine we must settle for the faint shadow of those intense first moments. But those feelings don’t leave us- we walk away from them.
If we are open and ready, if we stop striving to recover something we think we lost, if we simply exist in our moment- before the art, amidst the woods, in the arms of our lover- the familiar is anew.
And so when she leaves me, I still watch her walk away, all these years later, hoping that she might turn around so that I could see her face once more- knowing I will feel again and again what I have always felt- from the beginning.