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Reflection - November 2016

posted Nov 16, 2016, 1:41 AM by Nancy DeBiasi

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       Winter invites me once more.... to go within the within... 

       Hibernate. Gestate.... Wander around the inner domain

       without a concern for what may, or may not surface.  

                         (My Soul Feels Lean) 

    Here in Iowa the autumn season has generously spent its energy on vivid colors and warm weather. The frigid winds of winter wait impatiently to have their way. This past month the land provided enriching lessons about spiritual growth as I drove through the Midwest to give retreats on "Little Pieces of Light." I noticed how the corn and soybean fields sat stripped of their summer crops. Gardens revealed empty vines and wilted flowers. Orchards gave quick evidence of having yielded their fruitful produce. Tree branches lost their thick greenery. All that abundance of grain and beauty, soon to be just a memory. 

    Iowa poet James Autry refers to October as "the last burst of extravagant life." In November the land enters a new phase where it loses this "extravagance." It waits silently through the unproductive winter season. Although the land will appear dead, nutrients remain and regenerate in the untilled soil. The constant surge of energy that nature gave to summer's plenitude will silently retain life-giving power during the slower paced months. This activity attests to the promise of new life residing within what appears to be destined for death.

    We humans, too, have our seasonal process. "Bursts of  extravagance" evolve in our inner landscape. A joyful satisfaction emerges when our needs (and sometimes our wants) are met. Life goes extremely well. Then, as quickly as a combine robs a golden, soybean field of its abundance, so does our satisfaction disappear.  What we nurtured and tended may be stripped from us by a sudden illness, lost spiritual energy, mental fatigue, a drooping relationship, emotions that push us out of sync, devastating social and world events we feel helpless to change, and by any part of life that flattens our spirit or deprives us of peace.      

    When we wonder if contentment will ever return, we are like the harvested land without its plenitude.  If only we could see this 'stripping" as a time to regenerate the soil of our faith, to revitalize our trust in the Love that never abandons us, to allow our overly-active self to simply rest for a while in a humbled state of non-productivity.  Our winter season beckons to us: "Come, go slower, brush the debris from your heart. Empty your mind of its burden of needless information. Look more keenly at your interior life. Discover what waits to be regenerated."  

    It may be that when we have nothing to show for our efforts to change, when we cannot alter the disturbing conditions of what most concerns us, when we feel fully spent and unable to see the light beyond our personal darkness, it is time to give thanks - to be grateful for the opportunity to regain perspective, to allow restoration of the sources that feed our spiritual energy, to accept the invitation to let go of fretting and resume the posture of relaxing in the Abode of Peace. 

Abundant peace, 

Joyce Rupp