Thursday, January 7, 2010

So Where Shall I Look for God?

I've written about this moment before:  I went hiking in the woods behind my grandmother's house.  I think I was about seven, and I was with my aunts, and maybe one or two of my sisters.  We were walking through tall trees, and suddenly stepped out into a meadow.  I was hit with the presence of something sacred as the sun washed over my face and a clearing opened before me.  It was so elemental and holy that I never thought to question it.  I was in the presence of divinity.

In my early twenties I traveled down the East Coast, across the South and Midwest to California, and then up Highway One to Eureka (great name for a town, isn't it?).  I was there a few weeks, and at a beer tasting festival in the middle of one sunny day I heard Eric Bibb sing gospel, live.  If anyone on this green earth was going to bring me home to Jesus, it would have been Eric Bibb, that day.  He made me long for something like a church choir sings, like the blessed speak in tongues, like a dance haunted by the Holy SpiritHe made me want to go to church.  I never forgot his name even though I didn't write it down which, if you know me, is a miracle in and of itself.  I found his CD, years later, at a downtown public library in a city I was visiting.  That city is now my home.  And art, in so many guises, still holds secrets, sacred and profane.

When I met my husband I was young, and a little skittish about the idea of either of us losing our true selves, being devoured by the relationship; this I felt would ultimately doom the union.  So we sat down once to talk about what we had outside of each other that gave us great pleasure and made us who we truly were.  He talked to me about painting: about standing in an open space, paper taped to wall, brush in hand, music in the background, and how he moved large through that space, reached paint to paper like weaving a story or beating a drum.  I told him about my job at a local child care center where, during naptime we played lullabies for the toddlers and preschoolers and rubbed their backs while they fell asleep.  Some of them didn't sleep and so we held them and whisper-sang and kept them quiet while the others slowly drifted off on their cots.  Taking care of those children was magical to me, the trust they put in us to shepherd them to sleep with soft lullabies and tender backrubs, the silly faces and quiet whispers shared with those non-sleepers who relished their extra time as the center of attention.  Nurturing young children makes me a better person, brings something good in me to the surface.  The Creator is there, certainly.

I've been doing yoga for many years now.  It's been a regular discipline, especially in that it's my job, which requires a planned approach to both preparing for and performing asanas regularly.  I am drawn to the idea of a regular, disciplined practice.  There is an old ballet teacher somewhere inside me and she has perfect, ramrod straight posture and a tight bun atop her head and she brooks no foolishness.  And while I don't think the ballet teacher is Goddess (Goddess is much more free spirited than that), I do think that a regular disciplined practice helps create the conditions, for me, where Goddess has room to enter.  And, as that ballet teacher would no doubt remind me: I should not just be "going through the motions" during this practice.  (And as my inner slacker would append: at least not "too often").

Being present in the moment is challenging for me.  It's something I want to do better, for myself and for my family: for my husband and son.  They like it when I am present with them!  And I want: to create joy, or maybe invite joy, into that presentThere's a subtle dance between creating and inviting.  I think my task will be in ascertaining whose turn it is to lead.


  1. There's not much more powerful than a meadow splashed with sunlight.

  2. Beautiful post. I find god in a similar spot. Sunlight through trees, preferably moving - so it's dancing, splashy, eye-filling sun...