Saturday, April 11, 2009

Renewal Questions

I'm not a religious person. But the Easter holiday still means a lot to me in the sense that it's about spring, renewal, rebirth, and the return of the light.



I've lived a lot of places - almost all areas of this country and a couple of stints overseas. But I've never lived anywhere that spring is as important as it is here in Minnesota. I would imagine that the reasons for that are obvious, even to those who don't live in the "tundra." While we haven't seen the green around here yet - the anticipation is palpable. During the years I lived in Florida and Southern California, I remember that the passage of the seasons was hardly noticeable. And, while I appreciated the general warmth that prevailed, there was something in me that missed this moment of anticipation followed by the burst of reality.

So in the spirit of the day, I looked up the definition of renewal and this is the one that stood out to me.

filling again by supplying what has been used up


I wonder...as this spring approaches...what has been used up that needs refilling? In answering that question, I certainly can't speak for anyone else. But I can tell you what has been used up for me. I think most of it relates to things that became a defense for surviving the 8 years of Bushco. Things like rage and powerlessness and enemies and being so goddamned sure that I was right.

I've quoted this from Nezua several times here. So I hope you'll bear with me as I do so again.

We are always new. Every moment is new. No moment need be like anything that came before, even when the resemblance is striking and our imagination lacking. And yet, of course we must learn from who we once were. But to let a lesson that once helped inform every step forward is to walk an old path, and to preclude the sight of new horizons from our view...

Because life is not like a series of books in a course on ...anything. It fluctuates. We fluctuate. We are not a being, but a becoming, as Friedrich once said. And sometimes ideas are hammered out and we draw lines and walls and are told we fall on one side or the other and so do our thoughts and so does all that follows from them...and so it goes. We buy into these illusory borders...

Being sure is but the borderwall we place around a heart to ward off the skinstripping wind of the next living moment.


The place in me where battle lines were drawn so clearly and walls constructed so surely has been used up. And it needs refilling. But with something new. That "skinstripping wind of the next living moment" is what spring is all about. And the anticipation is palpable.

So the next question becomes...what is the new "filling." I don't know yet - except that I think it has to do with questions. And they are not questions that I need to ask anyone else. But the ones I need to ask myself.

Sometimes
By David Whyte

Sometimes
if you move carefully
through the forest

breathing
like the ones
in the old stories

who could cross
a shimmering bed of dry leaves
without a sound.

you come
to a place
whose only task

is to trouble you
with tiny
but frightening requests

conceived out of nowhere
but in this place
beginning to lead everywhere.

Requests to stop what
you are doing right now,
and

to stop what you
are becoming
while you do it,


questions
that can make
or unmake
a life,

questions
that have patiently
waited for you,

questions
that have no right
to go away.


I am especially struck by the lines I bolded. Because I no longer want to be what I was becoming. As Nezua said, "Every moment is new." And whether we like the change that has happened or not...the questions are there asking us to adapt to that newness.

So on this day that signifies renewal, I wonder if we dare expose our hearts to the "skinstripping wind of the next living moment" and listen to the "questions that have no right to go away."

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