This morning I took a cold bath. OK, maybe not cold, but definitely tepid. Not exactly the best way to start a Saturday morning, but really, I had no other choice. My water heater has been kind of fickle lately. That water heater happens to be a particular, great, glowing orb in the sky, also known as The Sun, and the weather has been decidedly cloudy. And warm. Which also means that my back-up water-heating plan, the woodstove, hasn’t been working either. That’s right. If you come to visit me, you will love the woods, the river, and the night sky, but if its cloudy and warm, you might not get to take a hot shower.
For me this practice of living by the Sun has been immensely rewarding, and the sometimes challenge of a tepid bath is not a big deal. It has its own rewards, really, like writing a poem using the sonnet form, or composing music using only certain intervals. The restrictions pave the way for something greater to move through. In this case, that something greater feels like a deeper appreciation for the Sun, a shimmering heart response to the golden light of morning, which is not only beautiful but also makes the little solar pump for our solar collectors whir and hum. Ah, says my body, thank you, Sun, for your magnificent powers. Or maybe just, thank God (as in Sun God) I finally get to take a shower.
Meanwhile, as I grumbled at the clouds that blocked the morning light, my husband was at the edge of our property, sawing logs. This winter we harvested many of the dying hemlocks from our woods. We are in the process building a barn for the primary purpose of sticking a whole bunch of solar panels (purchased over a year ago) on its roof.
That means we’ve got all this scary power equipment hanging out. Also my husband has transformed himself into a part-time sawyer apprentice, which he kind of likes. Note his formidable tough-guy face.
We are grateful that “our” forest can provide, easily and with only a minor sampling of destruction, the trees for our project. We are well on our way to having the lumber necessary to build the aforementioned barn, and my Super Geek husband turned Sawyer-apprentice-logger-man-tough-guy couldn’t be more excited. He has been chomping at the bit to get those solar panels hooked up.
I suppose that once the panels are installed we’ll be even more attuned to the Sun, and its many gifts. I look forward to that, and to the agricultural possibilities that a barn will offer. But my thoughts keep turning toward the big picture, the discrepancy between how we live, and how much of the world continues at a pace and in a mindset that is completely disconnected from the Earth. I know I’m part of that mindset, and I find myself leaning into change as much as I can. Focusing on being, instead of doing. Reclaiming the Goddess as my spiritual practice. Stretching into new ways of education and business.
But I also know that, regardless of the power source used to write this blog post I am, in a sense, contributing to the problem, because of the terrible waste of server farms. Which is of course just one example of unsustainable technologies we as a family participate in even as we strive to build a life of harmony and balance. No matter how many solar panels we have, if we are connected to our culture, we are connected to the disconnect. Which is ironic, but also curious, because if we consider this from a holistic perspective, maybe it means we can change things from the inside out, which is the only way things really change anyway.
The world is changing fast and we all know this. Not just because it’s seventy degrees in January in the Appalachians, and near-boiling in Australia, but also because every where we look, things are turned on their heads. You know there’s trouble if things aren’t turned on their heads. Institutions and cultural patterns that are not shifting, transforming, or reorganizing in positive, proactive ways are in grave danger of falling apart, or worse, existing in a toxic state. Complicating the matter is the fact that the changes cascade from one thing to another. Even as we live in a culture that is disconnected, we know that everything is connected, and one thread pulls upon another, and another, and another. And while I long for this government that supports fracking and GMO’s, to crumble to dust, I also want to have something ready to stand in its place. Each of us, living our complex, rich lives, leaning into change, are creating that something.
I’m grateful to have the space–within myself and within the circumstances of my life, and also physically here, in this foot-of-the-mountain place I call home–to create a life that leans into change in such a rewarding way. I know many people are leaning hard into even harder changes, and my prayers are with them. May you find the path to abundant joy. May you find the path to abundant life. There is still so much that needs to be done. Or maybe, what we really need to understand is not what needs to be done, but the opportunity of now: to experience the depth of being, to lean into and discover the Light that dwells there, and how serenely that Light can guide us through frightening change to a world we can’t yet even imagine.