Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Swan Dive

For the past couple of weeks I've been reading energy forecasts and astrological indications for the  New Year as they land in my inbox.

2020 promises to be a year of ongoing change. The old is giving way to new paradigms that are unfolding by the minute.  This overall pattern affects us personally, whether we are revising our inherited beliefs to match our evolving truth, navigating shifting relationships, or finding new roles in the wider community.

There's no question that whatever is false is falling apart.  The light of truth is strong within us, asking us to drop any narrative that doesn't reflect authenticity.

That same light is also shining on the global stage where nations are stepping carefully around chaos created by the White House. Truth is casting a harsh spotlight on abuse of power and international disarray.

On my walk I deliberately push all this aside.  Because essentially the future is unknown.  Yes we can follow trends and anticipate likely outcomes.  But in fact, timelines and predictions can be altered in an instant by something new, unforeseen -- even miraculous -- materializing out of someone's aha moment.

So I set my intention to leave the (potentially intense) future out there in the future and attend to what's up right now.

I take a deep breath, inhaling the faint scent of pine in the winter air.

Reining in my mind from it's habitual scouting ahead or circling back -- how do I even do that?

My walks always settle my mind so I'm bundled in layers, wearing ski gloves and sneakers, trusting this is so today.  My breath puffs behind me with every exhale.  There is no snow.  The grass is faded, the sky is gray and the trees cast their bare branches skyward.

I imagine time as a string of beads.  Each bead is a now-moment, an instant of presence.  These moments are strung together in a linear continuum.

What if I stop on one of these beads, halting the seemingly ceaseless march of my mind?  If  I let my awareness pause here?

And rest.

In this moment.

Right now.

When I'm poised in this instant -- on this one bead on the string -- it seems to open up beneath me. Dropping into it, I feel depth.  And a curious spaciousness.

It's quiet.

A flock of geese silently organize themselves into an undulating right angle above the treetops.

And then my mind yanks me into the future.  There's that thing that might happen.  I don't know how I feel about it.  It could turn out ....

It's impossible to remain in the present!

When I arrive at the pond there are eight swans lined up in a wide row, almost evenly spaced, each one facing the dock.  I think of my daughter's choreography notebook, with a line of X's across the page indicating the front-row formation.  I half expect these swans to turn in unison.

They are rarely so close.  I sit down on the dock and they don't move away.

Their necks are grayer than their white-feathered bodies.  Their bills are orange,  their dark eyes outlined in black.

The two on one end glide away, out into open water.  But another is coming my way and the others follow.  They occasionally dip their lithe necks into the water, creating spherical ripples around themselves.  These overlap one another creating beautiful wave-interference patterns just like we do with our energy fields.

Their feathers are curiously ruffled.  Some are perfectly smooth across their backs but others are standing up like partial halos around their bodies.

They have made their way, six of them, a little closer, gliding as if by magic.  Propelling themselves across the glassy surface appears effortless.

One makes an unfamiliar noise, a combination of a cough and a hiss, like something from a squeaky toy.

Another keeps standing up on the water.  She spreads her wide wings, drawing herself up to her full height.  Her flapping wings sound like sheets on the clothesline, snapping in gusty wind.  Then she folds them behind her, shaking her tail feathers back and forth across the water as she settles back into her graceful profile.

These swans are not thinking about 2020.  They are unperturbed, going about their daily pond business.  They are perfect teachers of how to inhabit the now.

I don't know how swans navigate time.  Their instinctual rhythm is of the seasons.  I welcome their fluffy brown babies in the spring.  They grow quickly over the summer.  Come fall, they fly across the horizon at dusk.

Today they give me a lesson on the value of deliberately interrupting the onrushing flow of time.  Pumping the brakes on time -- pausing on that bead -- yields some instructions on how to be here now.

The only time anything ever happens.

They show me how to make some noise. They show me how to rise up and shake off the stress of the tumultuous times we are living through and to settle back into my own natural dignity.  They illustrate the beauty of swimming with others, with our radiating spheres of energy overlapping, and creating new wave-patterns befitting who we are becoming in 2020.

Swan wisdom shows me how to dive deeply into the pool of possibility that is always here now.

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