Slowing Down for the New Dawn of SpringMar 20, 2019
A large city park flanked my right side as I walked slowly from my car to the sacred space that is home to the Callanish community in Vancouver. People and plants alike sparkled with energy and excitement in the early evening light. After a longer-than-usual winter, has spring finally sprung? Are we ready to flower and flourish?
Every turn of season Callanish hosts an equinox gathering of its clan: those whose lives have been irrevocably changed by cancer and those of us who are friends and supporters of what they are up to. The invitation is to “celebrate our community through the change of seasons, with music, poetry, story and words.”
So, last week, as people have done for thousands of years before us, we sat in circle, listened, and—as we were called to—offered up anything that we wished to share. There were no questions, discussion, nor chit chat. The power was in the quiet: the offering and receiving regardless of where one is, in their journey.
For once I wasn’t rushing.
As I strolled past a wee lad learning to ride a bike, I pondered my intention for the evening. I’m typically not this thoughtful as I move through my days but it’s amazing what an extra 10 minutes will do for a soul. My yearning at each and every Callanish event is to pause and be nourished.
About three quarters of the way into the circle, a man recited from memory the ever-so-relevant poem by the late poet and philosopher John O’Donohue. I listened with my eyes closed.
For the Interim Time by John O’Donohue
When near the end of day, life has drained
Out of light, and it is too soon
For the mind of night to have darkened things,
No place looks like itself, loss of outline
Makes everything look strangely in-between,
Unsure of what has been, or what might come.
In this wan light, even trees seem groundless.
In a while it will be night, but nothing
Here seems to believe the relief of darkness.
You are in this time of the interim
Where everything seems withheld.
The path you took to get here has washed out;
The way forward is still concealed from you.
“The old is not old enough to have died away;
The new is still too young to be born.”
You cannot lay claim to anything;
In this place of dusk,
Your eyes are blurred;
And there is no mirror.
Everyone else has lost sight of your heart
And you can see nowhere to put your trust;
You know you have to make your own way through.
As far as you can, hold your confidence.
Do not allow confusion to squander
This call which is loosening
Your roots in false ground,
That you might come free
From all you have outgrown.
What is being transfigured here is your mind,
And it is difficult and slow to become new.
The more faithfully you can endure here,
The more refined your heart will become
For your arrival in the new dawn.
-From “To Bless the Space Between Us” by John O’Donohue. Pub in 2008 by Doubleday.
My dam broke and the tears flooded freely.
I ached with relief to see that within my own personal journey, I have crossed over to the other side—no longer “in the interim time.” The seeds I planted have cracked open and my being bends toward the light.
The loving energy, the power of open hearts, poetry and cleansing tears, has made room for the sweetness of life. But first, I paused.
What about you?
What seeds are you planting this spring?
How has slowing down served you to become new?