I've been having a heck of a hard time writing this post. Here it is, practically the end of the Journey Moon and all I have is a few scraps of thoughts written down. There have been other things in my life I've been having a hard time doing, too. It makes for an interesting situation that has got me thinking.
Annette Hinshaw says that the Journey Moon is the lovely time in the early summer perfect for setting out on a journey. The weather is nice enough to give you a fighting chance at dry roads and there's a little lull in the work between lambing or planting and shearing or harvesting. One of the possible reasons I've been having a hard time with this post is that the weather sure doesn't feel like Journey Moon weather around here. Our paper, The Oregonian, had a story on the front page today saying that we've had 18 straight days of rain. Portland, Oregon is known for it's wet weather so having a story like that on the front page is a bit of a big deal. I make a concerted effort to not complain about the rain - I live here for a reason, and in general I love the climate - but this has gotten a little ridiculous, especially since it hasn't just been rain. It's been hail and windstorms, cold, wet days and colder, wetter nights with no breaks at all! My garden is drowning, my driveway is a lake, my lawn a creek and my car is starting to grow it's own moss based ecosystem. This is no time for a journey, this is a time for curling up in your bed with a good book.
Another reason that I might be having such a hard time coming up with something to say about the Journey Moon is that I really am too much in the middle of my own Journey to have much thoughtful to say. The image of a journey is a powerful image in religious and spiritual thinking and our sacred and secular stories are full of people making journeys. Many people see their own spirituality and even their whole life as a journey or a path that they follow. Some of us see this path as being revealed to us as we walk, others see a more clearly marked way in front of them. My spiritual practice has been leading me down rabbit hole after rabbit hole and the new information, new thoughts, new insights, and new connections are coming fast and hard. I haven't had time to synthesize anything yet, so how am I supposed to write a blog post?
Journeys are inherently arduous. If they weren't hard then it would be a trip or a jaunt or a picnic, not a journey. And this one is feeling hard right now. I had a great conversation the other day with a mentor of mine about why I am having trouble getting some seemingly simple mundane things done in my life. She reminded me that sometimes you are just too busy doing things to do other things. Sometimes your brain and your spirit are busy processing or handling things, maybe even subconsciously or at some other level you aren't fully aware of, and that is pulling your energy away from what you consciously think is the most important thing you should be doing.
Last weekend I attended a class at my Quaker meeting where the pastor gave us a background in Quaker history and Quaker thought so they have some good talking points when asked about their new church. Very little of it was new information to me but it was great to have it presented by our vibrant, funny and very knowledgeable pastor. He told us all about Martin Luther and Henry VIII and the religious and social turmoil that marked the 17th century in England. We talked about George Fox and about his insight that all humans carry the divine spark inside them allowing a direct, unmediated connection with the divine. What an optimistic, hopeful idea! Though Mike, and most of the people at my church, are quite Jesus centered I was happy to see a real respect for individual thought and understanding that language is not ever adequate to describe our experience of the divine. Mike said that the best spiritual conversations he ever had were when both people spoke their native language and then attempted to translate, rather than trying to speak in a foreign language when talking about God. It feels good to know that my native language will be received, maybe not always understood, but received in this new home I'm finding.
When I am feeling full of thoughts I always head for the woods. A good two hours of thinking and talking to myself surrounded by trees, watching my dog get to be a dog, can make all the difference. I think of it as a time to sort through all the new information and make sure it gets filed and put away correctly. While hiking this weekend I made a connection between my conversation the week prior with the core ideas of Quaker belief - my feeling lost is not a moral failing, it's a part of being a human being. And I don't need to feel bad about needing help, or about feeling lost. I have the power within me, or within my relationship with God, to move forward. Once I reconnect with that power the obstacles in front of me will shrink to their real size instead of looming so large as to seem insurmountable.
Once I re-established my connection doing that other task came easy. And writing this blog post seemed doable. I still may not have much to say, but at least I'm here writing.
I recently described the current state of my spiritual journey as being like walking a labyrinth, only its so huge that you couldn't possibly see where the center is. I see all these other paths coming close, winding away, twisting over and around my own and I have no idea which of them I might end up walking on myself, or which of them I might end up splashing right into the middle of. All I know is that my job is to keep my feet on the ground in front of me, walking one step at a time, to keep my ears open to the voice of the spirit leading me on and to keep my eyes open to see the glory all around me.