Living Well

Inside the Blue Line*: Spiritual Reflections on Life in the Adirondack Park

A Prayer for the New Year

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I’ll meet you there.” – Rumi

I don’t know about you, but as I sit and reflect at the beginning of this year, this decade, I find myself soul-weary. While I believe it is important to know what is going on in the world around me – locally, nationally, internationally – I can barely listen to the news without sensing a growing despair. Where, my heart wonders, is reason, compassion, morality, kindness, forgiveness, patience, truth?

Of course, it is all around me – in the quiet beauty of winter in the mountains; in the gentle bubble of the stream flowing off the hill; in the kindness of strangers and friends alike.

A Prayer for the New YearBut I keep coming back to Rumi’s words about rightdoing and wrongdoing. So much of what I hear and experience in the larger world is about who is right and who is wrong. About judgment and punishment. About power and privilege. About winning and losing.

But what lies before and after all of this? Where is the intention and ability to look more deeply? To listen to the experience and suffering of another? To wonder what might be possible beyond the immediacy and expediency of quick judgment and power-over? What might be possible in this ever-more-fragile world of ours if we took the time to enter that field of potential?

I am holding Rumi’s words as my prayer for the new year. I look forward to meeting you in the field . . .

 

*The Blue Line is the term used in New York state for the boundaries of the Adirondack  (and Catskill) parks, within which can be found the state’s Forest Preserve. The state constitution requires that any property owned or acquired by the state in those parks “be forever kept as wild forest lands” and prohibits it from selling or transferring them in any way. It is so called because blue ink was used when they were first drawn on state maps.

 

Living Well

Inside the Blue Line*: Spiritual Reflections on Life in the Adirondack Park

Mystery

mysteryThere’s something almost “Brigadoon-ish” about the view when the fog settles into the valleys here among the mountains. It feels as though we’re in a ‘time out of time’ here. The edges get blurred, the clock seems to stop, and the firm structure of daily rhythm seems to slip away.

To me, it is a wonderful invitation into mystery. At the top level, the mystery is:

When will the skies clear so we can resume our outdoor chores and plans?

Or maybe the mystery is:

Will rain come from these clouds so our dry earth and rivers can be restored?

These can be important questions, and the mystery will be solved when conditions change.

At the same time, I find myself drawn to the mystery within.

What are the interior clouds that cover the truth of Holy Presence within?

What might I discover if I let go into the ‘time out of time’  flow, pausing for a deep dive into such questions as:

What is the purpose of life in this world?

Why are we here?

What is the goal of our work and all our efforts?

What need does the earth have of us?+

 How might I let go into mystery in my daily life, trusting that what I see is a tiny facet of the Universal Whole?

What is it like to consider that many mysteries will remain unsolved this side of heaven?

When we have a stretch of clear, sunny days, I find myself struggling to break free of the confines of clear, well-established rhythms and answers, longing for the clouds of mystery to invite me to take a deep breath . . .  into wonder.

*The Blue Line is the term used in New York state for the boundaries of the Adirondack  (and Catskill) parks, within which can be found the state’s Forest Preserve. The state constitution requires that any property owned or acquired by the state in those parks “be forever kept as wild forest lands” and prohibits it from selling or transferring them in any way. It is so called because blue ink was used when they were first drawn on state maps.

+These four questions come from Pope Francis’s encyclical on Care for Our Common Home, Laudato Si.