A Freshness Lives Deep In Me

Examples of two collages I have done in recent years-water, trees, bears, spirals, and of course women, appear in many of my collages.

Examples of two collages I have done in recent years-water, trees, bears, spirals, and of course women, appear in many of my collages.

The world outside my window is locked in ice. Inside my head is mired in the dregs of a head cold. For once the frozen landscape is convenient. It offers the excuse I need to take care and rest—a long afternoon nap yesterday, sleeping in this morning. It is barely afternoon and I am ready to doze again. Despite my best efforts to be more of a human “being,” I still slip into the rut of human “doing” as easily as worn soles slip on glazed sidewalks.

Last night I pulled out my box of collage goodies—colorful papers, magazine clippings, calendar images, assorted doodads. I didn’t have the energy to create a new piece but felt reconnected to the creations spread out around me. Collage is one of the tools that helps move beyond my rational head-self to the softer I want to have a say, too heart-self. Among the gems in my collection was this quote: “a freshness lives deep in me which no one can take from me, not even I myself,” by Gunnar Ekelöf, 20th Century Swedish poet. It feels relevant today.

A promise—a freshness lives deep in me. No matter how wrapped up I get in the “doing” part of life or lost in the fog of my own thoughts, when I fall into myself deeply, there will be a freshness waiting and, I would add, ancient wisdom. This dark time of year as I stumble over myself, knowing I will fall into freshness offers comfort. This freshness, this breath deep in my soul will never grow rancid or stale. It is relevant and alive and all the critical voices, either in my own mind or outside, can’t take that away. This is a powerful promise.

Surprised by the shifting of my life as summer gave way to autumn to winter, I have often felt in a daze. It was as if I was rowing with the current toward a shore I had glimpsed not that long ago, looking forward to sitting under a beach umbrella and sipping a Mai Tai. At first subtle, there was the extra effort to row forward, then the feeling of exhaustion at the end of the day and finally the awareness and, yes, disappointment, the current had shifted back out to sea. Good thing I’m well stocked with sunscreen and resilience.

There is the gift of freedom of pulling in the oars, stopping the struggle, and letting the current (my Creator) guide the raft. And there is also a knowing that I still am involved on this journey, not an unwilling participant. There are things I can “do” (yippee!) It has been at least a decade since I did a personal mission and vision statement. It is time again. I have started sketching out what I envision for the next decade or so for my life. These are my hopes, dreams, wishes laid out with honesty and without embarrassment. After all, I’m just sitting in a drifting raft so what else do I have to do, I might as well let it all pour onto the paper. Next I will share it with those I trust—my wise guides. As it becomes less spindly, more shaped I will continue to pray over it and release it over and over again (because I tend to hold on to things) to the Holy.

The toughest part for me is letting go of how my vision and mission will unfold. I trust my Creator to take care of that…well, most of the time. My very present ego enjoys a good wrestling match more often than I like to admit, so the process of letting go is a daily practice. But the gift of clarity in a mission and vision lets me know when say “yes, oh yes, that sounds juicy” and “no thank you. That sounds wonderful, but it is not for me.” It allows me to spend my time and energy on what is meaningful.

And those collages, past and future, they offer images beyond words to guide me and tap into that fresh space deep in me that is always there, full of breath and life.

Here are a couple of invitations for your journey: Write or re-write your vision and mission statements and share with someone you trust. Imagine what would it look like to fall deep into the freshness of your own being.