My first official blog post with Mindful Mountain, and what better time to begin something new than in the spring, when all around us the world is waking in familiar yet novel ways. I spent yesterday up at Lake Tahoe, doing one of the things I love most, moving my body through the natural world. I rode my bike up the Cold Creek trail, all the way to the Tahoe Rim. The aspens are just beginning to bud along the stream. Cold Creek was rushing along, although not as much as it normally is this time of year, due to the severe draught. The stellar jays were screeching, the chipmunks bouncing around, and the pines swaying in a fierce and cool spring wind. Everything felt fresh and clean and welcoming, and I was reminded of the refuge that nature has been for me all of my life.
I often speak with my clients of refuge. Where is it in our lives that we take refuge? Where do we find that transcendent peace that allows the process of healing that is a natural part of living a life? We all know joy in our lives, and we all suffer. We all carry our wounds. Some are clear to everybody, some are hidden even to ourselves. But how we bear our wounds has a great deal to do with how often and where we find refuge in our lives. Refuge might be found in a sacred place, in a church, by a lake, on a favorite trail in a meadow, watching the deer drink from the creek or the trout dart from rock to rock. It might be found in the arms of a loved one, or watching your child as she drifts off to sleep. It might be the simple act of making a meal with care, or writing your thoughts on an empty page.
Whatever refuge means to you, taking the time to go there--physically, mentally, and emotionally--is essential for living a balanced and healthy life. I encourage my clients to spend time exploring the concept of refuge, and to carve out a few minutes of every day to let the chaos of the world slip into the background.
I leave you with "The Peace of Wild Things," one of my favorite poems by Wendell Berry, which so perfectly expresses the concept of refuge.
"When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be, I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds. I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief. I come into the presence of still water. And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light. For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free."