We are just past the solstice, the apex of light in the northern hemisphere.
Some say that during the solstice, the veil between the living and the spirit world lifts, much like in the Biblical dream scene known as Jacob’s Ladder – in which angels ascend and descend a staircase connecting heaven and earth.
The solstice is a magical moment in our calendar. Since Juan Carlos and I were married on the winter solstice, it’s our half-anniversary, a signpost where I like to pause and reflect on the quality of our relationship and how it’s igniting my own spiritual growth, difficult as it can be at times. The summer solstice is also the anniversary of my mother’s suicide, containing that bittersweet edge when I can see how my perceptions have continued to unfolded since her death.
This solstice started out early on the back deck, coffee with cardamom in hand. JC and I spotted white butterflies fluttering around our zinnia bed. The first piece of writing I published was called White Butterflies, since they were surrounding my mother’s body at the moment of her death. This time, they made me smile.
Later in the day, we hiked to my favorite place to meditate in Rock Creek Park with our dear friend John. Along the way, we spotted a barred owl as it flew to a higher branch, the better to check us out.
After meditating to the sound of water running over boulders in the creek, the storm began. The warm rain that poured for the next half hour cleansed us of any dry pores or strands of hair. To me, it felt like a literal and metaphorical bath, a mikvah of mayim chayim (living waters). The lightening made the energy of the woods around us vibrate; I felt fully alive after days of swampy heat.
Last fall, I completed 800 hours of studies in yoga therapy. It was only when I was finished that I was able to see how hard I had been working the previous few years — on these studies, on helping my honey acculturate to these United States, on trying to support us financially and psychologically, on trying to do better in the world and in my career. Meditating with a group last December, though I was feeling all that I should be working on, I intuited that 2015 would be a year not of doing, but of integrating. One thing that I knew I immediately had to drop for the time being was this blog.
So far, all I can say is hallelujah!
In January, JC and I began a nine-month long shamanic apprenticeship as a way of enjoying shared spiritual practice. At the same time, I was asked to be a part of the yoga teaching team at the Jewish Mindfulness Center of Washington, which integrated two of my core identities in a way that was both challenging and playful. I’ve been able to delve more deeply into my own practices without worrying about where they will lead or what I ought to be doing. As refreshing as a good long summer rain.
I’m not done. I intend to take this season to enjoy being in my garden and the woods, visiting friends, and engaging my heart more than my mind.
I’ll be back. I’m beginning baby steps on improving this website, and am fixing to write regularly again beginning Rosh Hashana, the Jewish new year that takes place in early autumn. At the same leisurely pace, I’m also planning a retreat in the Mexican jungle, yin yoga and myofacial release workshops, a yin yoga teacher training, a six-week yoga and writing course for those experiencing grief, and maybe, much more. I’ll keep you posted.
Enjoy this glorious summer — may it be one of endless lazy days and inspired living for you! — and keep in touch!