“not all those who wander are lost”…12-20-22

The altar space pictured above organically emerged in my studio in 2020 right along with Covid.  Just know that visual creativity is not my artistic go-to expression.  So it’s intriguing that installations, the visual imagery that sets the tone for 5Rhythms sessions, have ramped up in fascination for me over the years.  Just recently personal time in this studio suffered a too long hiatus.  Travel, a nasty cold, heater on the fritz…I yearned for self care moments up there that sustain me on the regular.  Sigh.

But finally, on Saturday, I turned to the west wall, where all my salvaged treasures await: bones and shells, rocks and wood, textured fabrics and feathers, little sculptures and hearts of all kinds.  A lot of this and plenty of that.  Sometimes something moving in me calls for concrete form.  But this time I created right out of the empty space, trusting what emerged each step of the way.  First a branch turned into a white cave.  Then a rock became a throne for a reclining goddess from Santiago.   Moss from New Brighton Beach.  Bird spine perfectly echoing goddess spine.  Bird skull meticulously fastened to branch with chunk of glue stick.  In my utter trance I knocked over a full tea thermos. I threw the toweled wet mess off the landing and glanced down to spy last year’s Halloween raven mask.  Of course.  Sometimes it happens just like that.

And sometimes I pull a card from the Osho deck and ask, “What do you have to tell me about this creation?”  I already had my own thoughts on that question, but I spread the cards face down on the floor, hovering over the choices with my receptive left hand.  Finally I zeroed in on one card that just did not want to come out of the deck, avoiding my finger grip with a tenacity that made me double down my effort.  Clearly that was the one!

And there it was: the Completion card, final image in the Major Arcana. I just about lost it.  A few excerpted words here:

“… in the ever-changing flow of life there are moments we come to a point of completion….we are able to perceive the whole picture…either be in despair because we don’t want the situation to come to an end, or we can be grateful and accepting…that life is full of endings and new beginnings.  Whatever has been absorbing your time and energy is coming to an end.  In completing, you clear space for something new to begin.  Use this interval to celebrate both—the end of the old and the coming of the new.”

Indeed. Isn’t this exactly the time of year we dial ourselves in to those flow of life seasonal shifts?  The heavens gift us with transitions based in the whole picture eternal. The sun so south-low blankets our northern hemisphere in darkness, a twilight that reflects all that is ending, in completion, finished.  Damp ground moulders and incubates all that has been shed. I trust that mouldering, this interval, this gestation.  It was Tolkein who wrote:

“All that is gold does not glitter,
not all those who wander are lost.
The old that is strong does not wither,
deep roots are not reached by the frost.”

A Zoom call this morning included a meditation to engage in active wishing.  Wishing felt a bit exotic, like I was granted permission to be in youthful delight.  Yet in this child like reverie I noticed the notion of inspiration arise.  Not just for me, but for you, for us, for this needy planet.  Inspiration fueled by wonder, stoked by an imagination released from the need to take immediate action.  Inspiration fueled by wander, by playful meandering, by casting about without fear of disappointment or failure or expectation.

“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious.
It is the source of all true art and all science.
He to whom this emotion is a stranger,
who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe,
is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.”
Albert Einstein

And so, as this year, this season, this whatever draws to a close, the perception of conclusion, of endings, may surface for each of us in its own distinct way.  My wish?  May we open our eyes to the mystery inherent in this moment of completion.  May we grant ourselves a proper pause.  May we be gifted with revelations nourished by un-tethered wonder and the joy of haphazard wandering.

May it be so….and bountiful wishes of healing and holiness to you and yours.

Love, bella