“If we surrendered to earth’s intelligence we could rise up rooted, like trees. Instead we entangle ourselves in knots of our own making and struggle, lonely and confused. So like children, we begin again... to fall, patiently to trust our heaviness. Even a bird has to do that before he can fly.” ~ Rainer Maria Rilke
Dear Springhouse community,
I know I am not the only one who feels like life is very surreal at the moment. The current situation with the coronavirus infections has brought up so much for all of us. It has stirred fear, disconnection, scarcity, and hypervigilance. It has also given rise to empathy, creativity, introspection, and generosity. I have never experienced anything in my lifetime that has had such a significant effect on society as a whole.
As schools close (and yes, Springhouse is closed and moving to remote learning for the time being), we are left with large swaths of unstructured time to be with ourselves and with our families. For some of us, unstructured time can feel like a relief – a time to rest and rejuvenate. For others, when the familiar structures that hold our days start to crumble, we can feel uncertain, overwhelmed, and anxious. New challenges present themselves, like how we will earn a living, take care of our children, and make sure we (and our neighbors) have what we need. As a teen’s sphere naturally widens to include their peers and life beyond their families, being at home for extended periods of time can be challenging for everyone. So how do we proceed?
This situation is so complex, confusing, and strange. It’s hard to know what to do. In times of struggle, it has always helped to turn toward what inspires me. Inspiration gives me strength, courage, and clearer vision to face what’s tough. I need to fill up, and ground myself, so I can better show up for the world as it is right now – whether that is my neighbor who is scared, my bored teenagers, people who are ill, or myself as I navigate unknown terrain.
When fear dominates the day, the Earth reorients me to life. Walking in the woods has become medicine for me these strange days. In Henry David Thoreau’s book, Walking, he writes, “Wildness is the preservation of the world.” As I walk each day, I hold the question, “What does the Earth have to say to me about life while our human world is in such upheaval?” The Earth still speaks to us while life as we know it is shifting dramatically.
The Earth is our wisest teacher. Like Thoreau tells us, it is the Earth’s wisdom that will orient us toward life, and preserve what is true in us. While human-to-human contact is limited, we have the opportunity to listen to the Earth’s intelligence. Emergence amidst complexity, the cycling of the seasons, and interdependence are all relevant teachings to the ways in which we humans move through the world. I wonder how this wisdom, if listened to more deeply, might inform our actions?
Every day at Springhouse we practice being creative and resilient in times of difficulty. I trust we will all rise to the occasion now. During this time of extended solitude, let us seek guidance from the Earth as to how we might proceed well with the complexities that we are faced with.
Wishing you deep peace each step of the way,