Dear Sor Juana,
Where have all the flowers gone? Have they really gone to graveyards? What are they doing here in the first place, randomly popping out of the cold, dark earth uninvited and seeds planted by flocks of visitors and breaths of air. There are daisies poking up in between the cracks, refusing to let the grey slate, rubble and silent slabs have all the say.
Yes, the flowers have really gone to graveyards everywhere. Playfully peeping through, places, that in winter were impenetrable, their little yellow heads and white bonnets dance around in defiance saying ‘look at me’ but not really caring if anyone is looking at all. They haven’t a care now that they have broken through their own grass ceiling (and that is how I am going to think of that metaphorical glass ceiling from now on!).
Searching for cracks is a pastime for critics, appreciating the blooms is for the mystics and creative. Improvising their way to the sunlight by moving around what might be in the way, navigating dark places and stony ground, the daisies find their way to the top, launching themselves into full view, naked.
Watching daisies find a place to call home and playing in the breeze is a gentle everyday reminder of what can grow in the dark; an invitation to keep the cracks appearing after all we know that is where the light gets in … it is also where seeds can be planted.
Courage’s consequence, planted in the imperfect crack, blooming for all the world to see. For having lived a life, for turning up, for waiting for the cold to go and sun to coax and coach you towards the light, resurrection is invited and promise fulfilled.
Dear Sor Juana,
When your best isn’t good enough for what is needed by others or what the situation calls for humility is surely to follow. Often this is the old adage of pride coming before a fall playing out. Knowing when you are out of your depth, when to ask for help, when to step aside or to step away is also courageous. Melting down the pain and embarrassment may require an alchemist to herald transformation.
And where do we find those alchemists? In the trees, the stars, our gods? I found mine this week in the smile and babble of a babe. The stress, strain and tears melted away transforming broken dreams, tight muscles, a frozen heart.
Every child is an alchemist offering their own kind of magic drawing on the ancient practice of turning base metals into gold, turning base emotions into golden moments. Alchemy manifested in kind words from a friend, blessings of inner peace bestowed, a sip of tea all balm and transformative but nothing compares to babe drawing all the base emotions out with the magnetic power of babbles. Distilled.
The idea of self as a human becoming in contrast to a human being is written into the pilgrim’s map, each step revealing the moment for itself and glimpsing what might be ahead.
While refugees scrabble through the razor wire, Chileans clutch to each other in ruins, sliding doors separate families for generations, I accept the invitation of the babble of a babe to soothe the rough waters I am sailing.
Dear Sor Juana,
Young office workers catching the first rays of real sunshine in a while this week basked on the soon to be yellowing grass surrounding the Square. Catching news in real time over tacos, yiros, baguettes and even an old fashioned tomato sandwich, the city was coming to life after a cold winter. Bursts of direct light beamed into conversations bringing delight with it as friendships were warmed, secrets traded and plans made.
At this time of year the notion of spring cleaning comes into its own, after all sunshine is the best disinfectant. The nesting is over, the vines are beginning to sprout and signs of new life are everywhere. But with every beginning the underside is usually an ending or a fading away, where metaphoric palliative care workers make way for midwives. Both of these roles are about being ‘with’ and this seems to be part of the call for the pilgrim – to be with. I am reminded of Emmanuel (God with us) that ancient for the Divine who stands with you against the enemy. In this time of light you know of its presence because of the dark. Sor Juana, how did you greet the new season, leave the dark and come with your God into the light?
Expressing your call to be with lead you to be with those infected by the plague and no amount of sunshine could blast through and take that disease off the streets. Our times have plagues too, with names like Fear, Complicity, Polarity, Scarcity. Getting down to wash those infected by these plagues also risks you catching the disease and requires (for me, anyhow) regular inoculations of good medicine in the company of good people. These are the conversations where we hold and are held, midwifed into warmer days and palliation is dispensed. These are the days to have those conversations to do some spring cleaning, and cleansing, inside and out as we prepare ourselves for the summer ahead – a time of harvest followed by ferment, more true than form following function.
Dear Sor Juana,
Another week of refugee horror in graphic images shared around the world and our humanity is being tested by a three olds body washed up on the shores of Turkey. Where being silent and speechless might be the most appropriate response, words are flying around the parliaments and press clubs, talk back radio and online. The prophetic voice – the one who speaks their truth to power – can be heard loudly in the silence of the stillness of a tiny body on the sand. The rescue worker who gently reclaimed the child from the sea as poignant as any pieta.
The currency of fear rises in stock value more quickly it seems than the numbers of people fleeing their homeland. From the depths of this ocean of fear and loss, we have innocence and trust to reclaim. I am reminded of the old adage: Justice or Just Us.
The space on the page is the silence to reflect.
I am heading off to Roy’s Retreat Prophet School today at the Welcome Centre to consider my response, my little snowflake to add to the branch which surely must fall from the weight of all the snowflakes of effort to turn the tide.