Daily Archives: March 13, 2015

Out on the Land

sedona full moon

It is like being awake in a dream.

The moon above cloaks the red rock in soft, ethereal silver light, and the junipers cast dark shadows onto the prickly pear and cactus outside the path. I stop and hold my breath, fully present in the deep stillness of the cold desert night.

For me, the hour before first light always brings the alchemy of bottomless peace and the breathless excitement of being in the womb with a new day that knows its birth is imminent. In the pause between breaths I am one with the stillness. Each slow breath draws with it the cool, calm presence of the night and the mystery of coming day.

And there is something else. You know that feeling when you become lucid in a dream state? When you realize to your delight that you are dreaming, and awake in the dream? The rush of excitement, of power…of possibility. I always feel that out in nature under the stars.

It is easy in this magical hour to drop in the waking meditation of full awareness. Thinking seems a noisy affront to nature, as nature is now in my mind. I continue to walk, letting the earth break up the morning stiffness in my feet. The pain seems the only thing keeping me in my body.

I walk and sit, then walk again. When I feel the chill of the night creeping in I knock out some push ups to warm myself up. I talk softly to myself, out loud, and offer a few prayers to the starry sky, knowing its infinite expanse is both out there and somehow in me. But it is not talking I am here for, but deep listening. It is moments of full awareness in a quiet mind that open the door to Spirit.

This communion with the sacred night here in Sedona is made more poignant by my coming departure, once again, from this place. There are precious few dawns left here, at least for now. This thought is both wistful and exciting, engaging my desire for the unknown and reminding me of the omnipresent nature of what I am experiencing.

Behind the red rock buttes to the east the horizon has been rising from black to blue, and now the first strokes of the unseen sun’s paintbrush gift the few clouds with hints of pink, orange and magenta. The colors brighten with each moment, and a gentle breeze stirs the dark calm of night, lifting its blanket ever so slightly. I hear a bird call out, and then a chorus of coyotes, first to my left, then to my right.

 The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.

Don’t go back to sleep.

You must ask for what you really want.

Don’t go back to sleep.

People are going back and forth across the doorsill

Where the two worlds touch.

The door is round and open.

Don’t go back to sleep.        ~Rumi

Throughout my life the call of first light has often kept me from going back to sleep. The Sufi mystic’s words hold more than one meaning to me now. Sleep is not only when I let my body rest and dream, but when I let go of this world….the world of awe and connection to the Divine in the present moment. This connection electrifies my body and being, fills my mind with possibility, and brings a  song to my heart. Too much thinking, analyzing or trying in fear to control outcomes and the connection is gone.

Don’t go back to sleep.

This poem is in the first chapter of the latest in a series of best books I have ever read. The Bones and Breath: A Man’s Guide to Eros, the Sacred Masculine, and the Wild Soul, by L.R. Heartsong  has inspired me further in my return to the land. An incredible writer and storyteller, Mr. Heartsong (I’m thinkin’ pen name for sure) found much of the inspiration for this profound work out in the green fields and dells of Southern England, and he has deepened my remembering of the power and magic of the wild Earth, and it’s ability to stir the wild soul within.

After a few months of daily meditation with a focus above and outside of me, this book, just like the three before it, came at just the right time. I have been outside a lot during this winter’s travels, and out in nature even, but where we are and where our focus is are two different things. I have moved a lot of fear up and out of my root, my lower chakras, and it has been awesome. But what was I replacing it with?

I was happy and bathing in more bliss and peace than ever, but noticing a dearth of passion and drive to do much of anything. When I mentioned this to one of my best and wisest friends, he asked me if I was connecting, with my body, to the Earth. And I was handed this book by someone else the next day. Bam. Love when that happens.

What a difference getting out onto the land every day has made, either on foot or on my sisters purple girl’s mountain bike. (yeah, I’m that secure 🙂  I ride up the my own Alpe D’Huez, the road out of here, and celebrate my muscles working, my heart pumping. Then I race back down at breakneck speed like a wild-eyed kid in an amusement park. We were made for movement.

photo (1)

I walk and breathe. What is buried in the bones and the breath? I walk not for exercise but to allow the Earth to fill me up with her resonance. My phone is off…I don’t need that muckin’ up the works. As a mindfulness exercise I try explicitly not to think. I take in, in every way possible, all the walk has for me. The result is peace, passion and a rekindling of desire to fully embody all aspects of my life as a man.

I encourage you to empower yourself. Where can you go? Into the woods, out to the park or beach? I know it’s still winter in the north, but where there is snow there are angels to be made, right? That’s what layers are for, anyway. The cold may actually serve to sharper your focus, and make your time more purposeful.

“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.”- John Muir

Find your way into the Universe. It waits for you.

Don’t go back to sleep.