RETURN TO YOURSELF
Stillness is vital to the world of the soul. If as you age you become more still, you will discover that stillness can be a great companion. The fragments of your life will have time to unify, and the places where your soul-shelter is wounded or broken will have time to knit and heal. You will be able to return to yourself. In this stillness, you will engage your soul. Many people miss out on themselves completely as they journey through life. They know others, they know places, they know skills, they know their work, but tragically, they do not know themselves at all. Aging can be a lovely time of ripening when you actually meet yourself, indeed maybe for the first time. There are beautiful lines from T. S. Eliot that say:
‘And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.’
A friend of mine recently spoke of this need for returning to himself. He is just about to get married, and to know oneself before we enter into a union is almost an unspoken pre nuptual agreement. He has just spent time with Baba Credo Mutwa and in the times of sitting in silence, maybe just 5 minutes, it made him realize on reflection, how rarely he is silent with another. I reminded him that Baba transmits even in silence if we are still enough to listen, just as nature teaches us.
Through a series of events I have been gifted time alone for several years. Since my work with the ancestors I have rarely felt lonely. I have though entered into deep spaces of darkness and light and come through them without the assistance of a sounding block, someone to blame or project on as I would with a partner.
They say you get to know yourself in a relationship, this is true indeed, and also in the deep dark recesses of your hearts longing, your aloness. Alone there is no reflection, mirror, and I believe that is required. A 9 year old boy has entered my life, through choice and I feel robbed of space, silence, stillness. At times I am bewildered as I search for moments of privacy, snatches of time and I wonder and bow to the mothers out there. I now see why I was never given children of my own. I would have eaten them like Kali.
This nature year I have been considering nature’s mirror, and as I grapple for some solace for me and my soul, I am reminded of course that we teach what we need to learn. My own students are showered with teachings in Sit spots and natures gifts, of practices of meditation, poetry the elements and as I sit at the most beautiful powerspots in the world where I live, I am deeply grateful for nature’s mirrors. The wildness of the ocean and the sighting of a seal playing, connects me to an old soul I know is already in me. A soul who knows, whose wisdom is carried deep in us, it reminds me to play, the importance of play, of tumbling in the waves or on the ground, or just sitting in a tree, maybe we forgot how to.
The stillness of the natural tide pool at dawn, deep pinks reflected from the sky’s sunrise, reflects the redness of my own internal fire -the source. The mountains that rise from the ocean, majestic, ancient, wise old grandmothers and grandfathers connects me to a strength and a courage I know I have that has brought me to the very place where I stand. The land is old Africa, the old old places where they say is a place of origin for the first humans. The soil here carries the blood and bones of our ancestors, the water carries the same, the cries can still be heard as each wave crashes against a rock and rolls back out to sea.
For me silence is not enough. Mother nature provides all I need. I no longer require to be wowed, to be awed to be filled, to be sated or fed. As I age the less the body’s needs fades and is replaced with the soul’s longing, for peace, for a surrender that can embrace a vulnerability like the return of an unrequited love. And so ancestral wisdom, the ancestors permeate through all of this great mother, the old old ones are in everything here in this south Africa, in this place of origin. In the times when I too wonder at “why I am here” I understand that it’s only to return to myself, cliche? and yet not. What a realization, nature’s mirror reflects that all of who she is, is all of who we are, if we take the time to sit with her she will show us. If we take the time to look up or look down, she has something magicial for us to find. If we take the time to be silent with her we will hear her messages and if we take the time to witness her she too will witness us.
I wonder often about a human’s resilience in times of trauma, loss, poverty, grief and violence and I know that many of the indigenous people in this country survive mostly because of their connection to the natural world, the world they know intimately.
Here in south Africa there are many uprisings over land, inhouse, out house, nothing new. It’s small pieces of earth or thousands of hectors the peoples are fighting over trying to reclaim. And I wonder what is it really about this land reclaim. Is it about apartheid ( separation) from the great mother, that is being reclaimed. The forced removals from the heart (the land) that took place during apartheid (separation,) the source, the deep place of belonging has left us with a soul’s longing to return home, and that wound runs deep in the heart of our ancestors here. Maybe the bones echo the cry for the return of ancestral land.
I remember a farmer looking out over “his land” and saying “that mountian -that is part of my land, I own it”, and my heart broke a little.
For my slice of peace I know that all the land belongs to me and all of me to it, I cannot be separated from it. I can only return to it’s origins, where I am true nature, the place where I started, hopefully to finally know that place again.
Make offerings of fruits and seeds and nuts often to nature.
May all worlds bless and protect you always.