Morning Lessons

This morning, long shadows stretched out across the new snow. Looking up to see the waning moon, the contrasts were dazzling. The moon hung just above the treetops in the fading night sky, a brilliant beacon portaging awe. The crisp, lean lines of the tree shadows lay on the ground, a study in boundaries and steady presence.

This morning’s play between darkness and light is a relief. The strong contrasts are beautiful. Though distinct, the edges seem soft. In these illuminated differences, there is truth and integrity. That is the relief, if only for these few moments of early morning, to see the profound beauty in the place where opposites meet. I recognize the relevant lesson for my life immediately. Rather than becoming exhausted or overstretched by trying to embrace the immensity of contrasting strong emotions, I can relax into the place where they meet, noticing tension and contrast and also beauty. This simple noticing takes me off the roller coaster in my head and heart and onto my feet, rooted firmly in this generous earth. Breathing into this deep knowing, my attention turns fully to the mundane tasks in front of me, easing gently into the busy part of the day as I make breakfast, fill the wood stove, pack lunch boxes, and prepare for departures.

An hour later, the night shadows have given way to a ubiquitous softness. As the winter sunrise casts its pale light across the sky and snowy landscape, everything became washed in gauze, including my newfound clarity. I am suddenly washed in gauze too. What am I doing now? How is this important? Can it be done faster so I can move onto something else? What happened to that sense of peace? Why am I so fickle? It was just here. I could feel it. And now it has slipped away, like sand through my fingers.

I am tempted towards frustration for half a moment but instead, I smile at myself. After all, this is the way of the world. Why should it be any different for me? There is coalescing and there is dispersal. There is coming together and there is resting apart. There are phases and cycles, ebbs and flows. I can only endeavor to pay attention and to learn from each step along the way. I do not need to ride the roller coaster every time it invites me on board, but I can pay attention to the ups and downs. I can remember that the moon and the long lines of the tree shadows teach and so does the soft gauze-washed sky. And I can remember to hold and release it all lightly, with love and generosity.

May you too notice the teachings that arrive unbidden in your day.

May you hold them with love, levity, and generosity.

May you release them with love, levity and generosity.

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