Wednesday, June 1, 2011

6/1/11—Making a Date With Yourself

Today's Draw: The Hermit from the Tea Tarot by Marcia McCord. When was the last time you had a date with yourself? Or took yourself out on a personal retreat? Have either of these things ever occurred to you?

The Hermit tells us it's time to be alone. In silence. No distractions. No music or computer. No knitting or scrapbooking. Being alone in the car doesn't count. Nor does being alone while your husband snores next to you. The Hermit is about you spending time with you. Alone. On a quest within. And in Marcia's card it seems our Hermit is making a date of it and relishing her time with herself.

I spend time nearly every night, just me with me. I sit on my back deck and gaze at the stars and think. And when I'm done thinking, I then spend time in meditation, clearing my head. So while I'm distracted all day long with this and that, I still myself and come to peace at night before bed. I'm out there now as I'm writing this, though this is distracted time. But you can be sure that when I'm done writing, I'll do my Hermit thing and listen to what's going on inside me. That's what the Hermit does, after all. He shines his light on those dark corners of our self that we rarely take the time to visit. 

There was a time that I also used to take myself out on play dates. Back when I lived in Old Town Alexandria my lifestyle was different. I would take the day off, buy myself some baubles, treat myself to lunch, maybe get a massage. It's been forever since I've done that. I don't know if it's because I don't have the time or the energy. Probably the latter. I had a pretty full life back then. 

And then there were the retreats. Back before I had dogs. I would take off for a few days at a time with the purpose of going somewhere alone to be without distractions. Cape May or the mountains, usually. I remember an epic hike up in the mountains where the trail took me past multiple waterfalls. This was back when I was really fit, and still it took everything out of me. There is something about physically and mentally taxed that aids in spiritual connection. In Native American cultures, people will go on Vision Quests where they fast and set out into the wilderness for some days alone. There, at their weakest, they will connect with spirit in a profound way.

These days when I travel I always take the dogs with me and I WANT to take the dogs with me. Somehow a retreat isn't the same, though, when you have to keep an eye out on another entity, even something so benign as a dog. My B&B I like to go to comes close, though, to letting me feel alone, even with the dogs with me, because we know the place and I feel comfortable letting them run free. It seems the further we get from people, the more we feel comfortable really escaping within.

Silence and time alone is important for all of us, I think. We fill so much of our lives with noise and distraction. And life moves so quickly that we turn around and years have passed and we wonder where they've gone. It's as if our head is always outside our body, working ten steps ahead of it. We never take the time to just sit with our mind within us, solidly silent, connected to divinity...feeling that connection and recognizing our true identities as part of that divinity. It's a place more beautiful than any other place you could be...a feeling more profound than any other feeling...a relationship more intimate than any other. And yet, even I, who makes a point of meditating ALMOST every day, is willing to pass it up now and again. 

I know the word meditation scares people. Many have tried and "failed". So think of it as reverence. Taking time to sit in reverence, listening for that still, soft voice within if you can. Make a deal with yourself that you'll think of all the other crap in 10 minutes. It takes practice, but it comes. I've been doing it for nearly 30 years, so it's easy for me. But on those days when it's harder, I visualize a clean sheet of white paper, floating in from 100 feet above, drifting left, then right, then left, then right as it gets closer and closer to me (think of the floating feather in Forrest Gump, let it twist and turn as it falls). And when the blank sheet finally reaches me, it's all I see. Blank. White. Still. Nothing. Each time you practice that, you'll be able to hold the "nothing" longer and longer. And sooner or later you can just go to nothing on command. 

Anyway, this is something to consider today...cultivating a practice of being alone with you. No distractions. Even if it feels uncomfortable at first. Just check in and see how you're feeling. Feel your body. Quiet your mind. And

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