Fat Lady on a Bike: My Journey to Peace and Fitness

Join me and my wonderful Electra Townie bike on my continuing journey to inner peace and both inner and outer fitness.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Spiritual Geography

Yesterday was amazing, meteorologically.  I was awakened in the morning by a tremendous clap of thunder, and my bedtime was delayed by one of the loudest, brightest thunderstorms I can remember and some serious concern about the possibility of a tornado.  Then this morning dawned clear, sunny, breezy and mild, a perfect early summer day.  It was peaceful, pleasant and perfect.

As I drove around doing errands and enjoying the sunlight and the breeze blowing through the window, I found myself musing about how the storm and its aftermath were a great metaphor for the upheavals and accomplishments of the inner work I've been doing.  So often it feels as though when I go through the really hard times, the interludes of soul-baring, acknowledging painful feelings and the like, it's like the violence and power and, yes, grandeur of that huge thunderstorm.  But when I'm through the soul-baring and the pain, I expect the clarity and sunshine and peace to follow.  Often they do, but only for a little while.

In geographical terms, it feels as though the storms of Massachusetts should be followed by a permanent move to the perfection of Hawaii.

Unfortunately, the sunshine and peace never last.  Already this afternoon clouds rolled back in and the temperature dropped 15 degrees.  And it seems as though the struggle and the learning are never done, either.

The real question is, much as I love Hawaii, would I be happy living there all the time?   I enjoy the occasional bluster, and the deep clarity of a cool, autumn day, and the changing leaves.  I enjoy the transformation from the bleakness of winter to the blossoming and budding of spring.  I enjoy the occasional violent thunderstorm (though in fairness, I have to point out that this year we had a few of those in Hawaii as well, not to mention an annual tsunami warning). 

Anyone who has ever been an English major, as I was, is familiar with William Blake's ideas about innocence and experience.  Experience, with its harsh reality, always seemed to me preferable to the blandness of innocence.  If my journey takes me through the occasional bout of howling darkness, I can embrace that darkness because of what it teaches me.  Still, I love waking up every morning in Hawaii knowing that 99 days out of 100 the sun will be bright and the sky clear.  And knowing that it will cloud up mid-afternoon, only to be bright and clear again in the cool of sunset.  I would love to have that kind of certainty about my life and health right now.

In the end, I guess my two homes suit me very well, both physically and spiritually.  As I love them both, perhaps I can learn to be happy whatever my internal climate brings me.

A hui hou.

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