From The InnkeepersMarch 2023
From Incubation to Revelation
March 2023 Blog
By the time the end of the month of March rolls around we will have had three months in the womb of winter, huddling in the quietness with our thoughts, incubating ideas that might burst forth with the seedlings of Spring. Being here at the Rustic Gate has given me an appreciation for winter. During my corporate working career, winter had the same challenges of taking “care of business”, but with the added layer of dealing with the weather, whether it be cold, snow, sleet, ice or whatever else came our way. There was far less time to be laid back, to spend parts of our days curling up with a good book, to listen to music, to try to learn new yoga poses, to sit in quiet meditation, to watch favorite movies or programs, or to try cooking a new recipe. But now our winter days leave adequate time for all of that, as we typically have fewer visitors willing to brave the vicissitudes of our west central Michigan weather. I am grateful for this “incubation” time and will share with you some of the things that I’ve thought about, or that came to me “out of the blue” as they say.
- I am grateful for cold, crisp, winter air piercing my lungs. It makes me wonder whether people in hot climates ever get that same sense of purging the staleness from their lungs and brains if they never have the chance to breathe below zero air and clear out the body’s cobwebs.
- How can we be flexible even as we age? My body is not as supple as it used to be. It doesn’t smoothly transition from one yoga pose to another. If my body doesn’t flow as well, what about my mind and my spirit? Will I get more and more fixed in my ways? Worse yet will my ideas and beliefs become rigid? I used to think of myself as fairly open minded. But as divisiveness in our culture deepens, that is becoming harder and harder to do. Working on being non-judgemental has always been a struggle, and seems to get more so by the day. When I hear things in the news like a congressperson saying that 6 billion immigrants were allowed in the US in the last 2 years, I try to attribute it “rallying their base”. But part of me always will wonder, do they even know that there are only about 8 billion people on the whole planet, so that it is virtually impossible for 75% of the world’s population to live in the US? In the face of either such lack of knowledge or such seeming attempts to deliberately mislead, not immediately jumping to judgement is a huge effort in self-restraint. To retain the flexibility and fluidity of ideas takes a great deal of effort.
- Some days I just think about the presence of things in our lives. Like what a gift it is to be able to walk up to a thermostat and turn up some heat, or the comfort of hot running water in which to bathe, or the miracle of this laptop and the internet that facilitates everything from personal communication to commerce. So often I take for granted the ability to open a refrigerator and find enough food. How often do any of us look up with gratitude for the roof over our heads that provides us shelter and safety. When I think of these things as gifts, images of little stick on bows pop into my head and land on everything around me and help me to be grateful for it all.
- Gratitude for gratitude’s sake is not enough. It compels us to look around, see the needs of others, and share what we have been given.
- In preparation for this month I’ve thought about our Irish friends who celebrate their cultural heritage on St. Patrick’s Day. Wearing of the green reminds me that greenness will soon be abundant in nature. It also reminds me of the mystic Hildegard of Bingen and her concept of “Veriditas”, which literally means “greenness” or “greening”. Many of her writings centered on the immanent presence of the Divine in nature. For Hildegard, living in the lush green surroundings of the Rhine valley in Germany, made it easy for her to perceive and understand the presence of divinity in the world around her. So too it can be for us. Once nature awakens from the slumber of winter; our spirits quicken as green shoots poke through once frozen soil, and nature mirrors to us the divinity in the creative and generative movements in the universe.
- Lastly, this month, I’ve watched as each day the amount of daylight creeps up on us. l think with anticipation about the Spring Equinox on March 21st when the darkness is overcome and balanced out by the light. On this day, light triumphs and will be abundantly with us for the next two seasons. We bless the light and show gratitude for it by being part of its nature, and spreading light into the lives of others.
Well, that is a more than sufficient glimpse into the cauldron of what has been bubbling up my mind and spirit. It is my hope that some of these ideas may resonate with you. We look forward to coming out of the hibernation and incubation of winter to welcome you back to the Inn and sharing with you all the abundance with which we have been blessed.
Marcia, Pat, and Sharon
Keepers of the Rustic Gate