I have been away from writing for several weeks as I welcomed extended family for summer visits, participated in co-leading a retreat, and then went on vacation with my family. Each piece of this summertime was full of subtle, ordinary grace. There were deeply touching encounters with loved ones, some welcome relaxation, and fresh experiences with new faces. The thread that runs through it all is the tremendous spirit and beauty of the natural world that held each of these moments. From the lushness of the New Hampshire woods, to the stunning vista of the Acadia seacoast, and the simple ministrations of my lawn and gardens, nature communed with my heart and soul.
I was regularly and wholeheartedly enveloped by awe as I tended plants, established a remembrance garden, collected heart stones, walked the rocky coast on island paths, and swam frigid oceans. The connection was an embodied experience that felt and feels even now, primordial. The sense that I am just a tiny part of all of this and it is in turn, part of me. The heart-centered knowing that spiritual transformation is also happening on the cellular level. There is a deep and lasting joy that accompanies this awareness, this sense of being held by something far greater than I.
Among the fresh faces, I encountered a 94 year-old artist/author and puppet maker who welcomed my family into his studio and revealed his unitive vision of the world arrived at through his art; his art that comes from all that he finds around him in nature and the world. His personal pursuit of developing his unique gifts and graces make this world a better place as his life, his art and his heart have merged in great beauty. He touched each of us profoundly with the truth of his life’s journey.
And so it is that I see anew the truth of spirituality and practice. I understand more closely how both lead us to our most authentic and meaningful existence. As I enliven my spirituality through my practice, I increasingly enter life more fully, more completely human. Then my practice becomes both my spirituality and my life’s most unique purpose.