Sunday, July 03, 2011

Friday July 1, 2011:
THE laughing pebbles in the dancing sea
It's Vijayatara's 50th birthday! I've been connecting with her this morning during my opening circle. It's a beautiful fresh, sunny summer’s day. The world feels like it is smiling, but gently.
It's a new moon, a time for new beginnings. I feel sad because there are no more new beginnings for Vijayatara on this earth. Where ever she is on this 110th day since her death, I want to connect. I put out that simple intention and wait.
I am standing by the Compassion shrine. Recently, I have cleared the vicious rambling rose from in front of it. Now ivy climbs over it and in and out of that, another gentler rambling rose winds. Above me, I hear the call of a pigeon; it is coming from the other side of the arch of the shrine
Climbing through I find myself in a wooded glade, stretching bumpily downhill. Above me in the wooded canopy, a white wood pigeon coos. It scirs through the air between the trees in front of me. I follow its fluttering, whispering wing-song down.
The air has the quality of sweet clarity that makes my lungs want to open and breathe deeply, feasting on its freshness. We must be near the sea? I follow the fluttering through the woods, stepping carefully for the way is rough and now descending steeply.
The woods are thinning. The path now runs at the bottom of a deep gorge, its wooded sides rising high above me. Through the trees, I can hear the faint shush of waves on shingle. The sea must be close now.

The path is steep and treacherous. Beneath my feet, small stones shift, becoming more numerous as we descend. Now the trees fall away to low shrubs and on my right, I can hear the babbling of a stream, hastily tumbling over rocks. The sea wind catches my face as the path twists to the left, and there and below me lies a crescent-shaped rocky beach.
The waves sing out. They pounce purposefully upon the shingly beach, seizing, dragging the tumbling pebbles, into the sea, tossing them back onto the shore, creeping closer with each movement of the sea.
I stand on the beach. I am in a small deep cove cut into the land. High crumbling cliffs cup the land side. Behind me, the wood steps down almost to meet the water. The chattering stream, fans out to my right, merging with the oncoming sea in a scatter of rock-pools and shallow channels.
Out to sea, on the right, a western sun sinks low, the cliff casting shadows on the sea so that it is almost purple. I listen to the mesmeric rhythm of the waves meeting the shore and lose myself in its song. I wait as the sky darkens.
From time to time, the sea snatches bigger rocks. They rumble and roar as they roll about in the surf. It sounds like the sea is laughing and that sometimes; she gives a great belly laugh.
I think about Vijayatara and what she would have done with this day had she still been alive. What would she want for herself, for me, for her partner and her friends and family? She'd want us to be safe, comfortable, fed, and happy. Her practice was the lynch pin to her sanity, her comfort, and the fuel that drove her contribution to life.
The rocks laugh, rolling mirthfully at my feet as the water creeps closer. I don't move. Now that Vijayatara is gone, what can I learn from her not being here that will help me move forward, I think? I listen to the sea and notice the darkening sky, deepening as the sun sinks behind the cliff.
My future is uncertain. There are doors closing. It's up to me to open others. Sometimes, it's such an effort, but if I want to continue to make my mark, to contribute to the world, I have to keep searching, finding, opening and making good my interventions. I wander what will help?
On the horizon, the glimmer of a pale splinter pierces the dusk. A thin delicate moon rises shining and silver above the water. It’s a new moon!
I picture the compassion shrine, adorned with a new moon. I see below the dancing goat, a statue, a Buddha? Tara? I'm not sure, it's not clear and it's also partly hidden by a softly rambling rose and the ivy. There are some other flowers there too.
Then it comes to me! I shall continue to deepen my spiritual practice, that's what I'll do. I’ll use that spiritual practice to strengthen me for the leadership role I seek in London, the two are entirely compatible.
The sea tosses the round rocks; they roll, chuckling deeply at my feet. In the wind I hear Vijayatara laughing. In the pouncing waves I hear her roaring with mirth. In the quiet rolling pebbles I hear her satisfied sigh of sated pleasure.
I bow to the sea and to her, beautiful goddess of the sea, likeOshun, river goddess, ocean dweller or, Yemanya, mermaid, goddess of the sea dwelling in the oceans deep. In the sea’s voice, I hear a thousand goddesses of the water from Africa and elsewhere and they are calling out my name, in Vijayatara’s voice.
So now I know what to do, I'm anxious to get back to do it. I retrace my steps and turning at the point where the path veers sharply right, I look back at the cove. The new moon is rising higher in the sky. Across the curve of its c, a bird feather momentarily lies.
Back in the garden, the compassion shrine is shaded and cool. I touch the Green Man, rock the dancing goat willow statue, and shake the clocking clacking goat bells hanging down in the archway. I know where that crescent moon can be hung, when I source something suitable for the garden. There's a space or two for Tara and or the Buddha too. Yes, this beautiful compassion shrine, made from a much loved and cut down tree, dedicated by VIJAYATARA and myself the day of its felling, yes, this shrine, I will complete, in her honour. Let it motivate my spiritual practice so that I may become the good leader for London that I want to be.

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