Braiding the silence

Lately, every time I reach for peace, for my “happy place”, whether I am riding the bus or settling down to (try) to meditate, the moment I close my eyes, I see the same image, from the same perspective – of my hands, braiding. I can’t see the materials, or the colors, or any surrounding context. Just my hands, holding the threads.

It’s a very peaceful image. Do I know what it means? No, not exactly. I don’t even know whether it comes from my own mind, or is a message from the Divine. But there it is. And I know that it is… an answer. A key.

At first I thought that it was my creative side, begging to be let out. Telling me to knit, crochet, make jewelry – SOMEthing. And although that is  part of the message (my creativity is, shall we say, hogtied – all trussed up, and nowhere to go!), I know that this is only a piece of it.

Maybe… ok, this could be a little too tidy – but maybe I need to braid together the loose threads of my life. Reconcile them, instead of always holding each one separate.

Three threads. Mind, Body, Spirit? Hmmmm.

I’ve been struck in the last couple of days by my changed relationship to silence. During my year and a half sojourn in Sedona, sometimes working, sometimes not, this relationship changed dramatically. When I first arrived, I was half-crazed by the need for silence – on every level. I didn’t want to hear TVs, radios, cars, or even voices, and my mind and heart were clamorly even louder than the hubbub, the sound and fury, of modern life. After three months of sitting on my couch, looking out the window at the red rocks, walking on the paths, feeling and hearing the breeze, the ravens, the yipping coyotes and the crisp, tinging sparkle of the stars’ reflections on moonlit snow, I could finally hear silence. And it was beautiful.

Over time, I could hear the Voice in that silence, in the breeze, in the voice of the raven. Even, eventually, in the recesses of my heart, hidden under all the baggage and forgotten wrappers and dust. I knew the Voice – I have always heard it in the wind in the trees – but now I heard it more. I dwelled in the Silence for longer and longer periods of time, seeking and listening for that Voice.

But the day came when it was time to come down from the mountains, back into the World. Although my mind (or at least the left side of it) was well aware of the need, my heart and that other, less practical part of my mind, fought it. Struggled, kicking and screaming, through the practicalities of getting a job, packing, moving. Starting yet another new life.

And here I am, nearly 10 months later. Looking at my changed relationship to silence. On Saturdays, and more often than not, Sundays, I want silence. On Saturday morning, I don’t even want my (adult) daughter to chat with me, even cheerful chatter about her week, not because I don’t want to hear it – but because I don’t want to talk. To be demanded to express an opinion, render advice, or even to be attentive. Sometimes it is almost physically painful to try.

A day or two of rest “fixes” it for a while. For the first time in a couple of years, I am watching TV shows, reading fiction, watching movies regularly… checking out and leaving my life at the door. Filling my mind with noise so I don’t hear the silence.

My life isn’t bad. Many people would be happy to have my life. So what’s the deal?

I know that I chafe at my perception that I am not doing my “real” work – healing work, helping others – choosing instead to have a regular job, pay the rent, buy groceries, and so forth. I know that this is almost certainly a misperception. (It’s easier to live a full, spiritual life sitting on a mountain or living in a monastery, temple, etc., than it is when you live and work in the so-called “real world”. See my previous post.) I know that I often make life a little better for the people around me, and they they make mine better.

But… I still feel like I am not living as “me”, whoever that is. This is a pretty schizophrenic way to live. Especially since I didn’t live the life I fantasize about when I had the chance!

So… braiding. Weaving the threads into a unified whole. Loving, revering, and taking care of all of myself , every part, and braiding all of the parts together. Meditating and making love, counseling a troubled soul and troubleshooting a software issue, eating organic salads and juicy burgers – they all have their place, and none are bad. I just need to braid them together.

Something to work on. Or… relax and let happen.

Love and light,


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