Noise, noise, noise. Mr Loud Talker behind me on his cell, one to my right is talking, plugging his left ear to avoid Loud Talker, Italian accent is in heated debate about a piece of paper…I gather that he is referring to a college diploma or something. Yes, I listened to his conversation, but so did 7 other people…unavoidable. Light chit chat and laughs wander down the hallway while another voice echoes through the terminal. Any spare second of voicelessness is filled with the chiming in of TVs. 13 people stream out of the jet-way, 11 looking at phones while walking…more like swerving. Remember back in the day when we would just walk? Staggering concept. I feel old as I write that, like it's something my Dad would say to 12-year-old me at dinner: "when I was a kid, we had rocks for video games!" All the noise and distraction is just so real in this moment. I notice it more now because I have been on a silent retreat for the past four days. I'm sure I'll get used to the racket again, and I'm sure in a few days I'll join the swerving walkers. But I hope, no, I'm determined to resist the constant distraction and revisit silence again and again. Because this peace, this peace. It's too good to forget. Like going on the most romantic date, surprisingly being swept off of your feet because he showed you the world in a different way than all the rest. The "I could do this for the rest of my life" feeling. I feel my eyes are more open, a gift every adult should receive - seeing the world for the first time. We are born into this space and don't remember most of the "firsts" - first breath, bird, spider web, sunrise, thunder storm, hearing crickets song at night. First picture of our world hundreds of miles away. It's all so…normal. The brilliance is normal because we grow up in it, thus we look for and yearn for something more amazing to happen. This vibrant world, a sphere of earth and water suspended, spinning through a vastness of rocks, planets, fire balls. Things that fly, actually fly, wings and all - from grand eagles to the tiny things that land on my skin and I don't even notice. Creatures that have horns, feathers, fins, change color to hide, live beneath feet, build homes in trees. And it all is formed by tinier things like atoms and subatomic particles such as leptons and quarks. This grand Earth. All things come from this soil that is spattered on my shoe. We've built worlds out of the world. Creation ongoing. It's a wonderland that passes me by. Still, I look for the incredible to break through that fire ball in the sky. Because I have a habit at looking at the lack. No! I prefer seas parting at my very voice and mountains floating into the clouds! Then! Then I will believe in the miraculous! I want my own body to fly, I want the gravity that keeps me alive in this moment to defy itself when my child is dangling at it's mercy. I want millions of firey orbs as far as the eye can see! …oh yes, we have that one.
Something incredible to break through the incredible. I have seen it, taken in the beauty before, been in awe. But a film has clouded the retina of my soul. Now, the days of silence, meditation, just staring off into the wonderland, unlatched a new sight.
I was a bit nervous about this silent retreat. It's been well, just about my whole life since I was silent for an hour, let alone 4 days. Ask anyone who has known me for longer than 10 seconds, and you'll probably hear the same thing - "she's a talker." It's embarrassing really. Because with that comes the things you wish you didn't say out loud.
Anyway, silent retreat: Day 1
To self: "Open your heart, open your mind, don't try, just let go. Open, open, open."
Okay, I'm open, beautiful. Then thoughts come…Amelie, what is she eating - nutritious veggies or tops of iced donuts? Is she cold at night? Is she clean? Is that mass of hair a tangled mess or is Daddy softly brushing each morning? Is Michael succumbing to his hermit-ways? Is he locking the studio and front and back door at night? Has he lost the keys? Oh frickin' crap, they're locked out. I should call. No. I'll call.
Thoughts, thoughts. I throw them out and they hurdle toward, wrestling my open-ness, winning.
I'll try it again - "Open your heart, mind, soul, let go and open."
Intentional slow breath - breathing out the worry, stress, agenda, breathing in a thing that makes my body live. And slowly…I unravel. I am not a singer, songwriter, artist, friend, wife, mother, less-than, more-than. I, well…I just am. And I hear His ancient words echo "I am." I am a creature of the earth, fully here, fully alive. I am not here to accomplish something, discover, write lists and plan, create or find. I am not here to find. A strange thing for a retreat. Loads of brain space is spent on finding ourselves, finding friends, finding work, finding God, and most of all - finding purpose. But this time, I'm not here to find. I lift my eyes and finally see where I am. I take it in - rolling hills, an orchestra of animals, crisp air in lungs, beauty rolled out for a most elaborate play. Fully in the moment, I live.
I am a human being, and I begin to feel a current pulling me into the earth in a way I have not yet felt. I am part of this good earth. This good earth. I suddenly believe it. All my eyes are beholding is a gift and somehow I've rushed by this truth. I have been beholding the pain far too long: famine, broken families, shootings, death, hurricanes, tornadoes, lack. A hope can break under the weight. I believe it a good thing to have open eyes toward the pain of the world. We morn with those who morn. They say God is found there. But too often I haven't found God there, I've mostly found what I fear. So my heart is surprised with this good earth. The good has been right here all along - moss beneath feet, spider web with painted dew; in cobalt skies strewn with fleeting white. In fat cows freckling the green, cracking twigs, puffy trees like puffy clouds cascading down peaks of earth, crisp air making watery eyes. Light surging, gleaming, glowing everything gold - it's then that I feel it…I am being found.
No, I do not have to strive, con jour up, just open. I am not here to find, something is finding me.