If you have put castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them. Henry David Thoreau
Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead. Louisa May Alcott
I am large, I contain multitudes. Walt Whitman
I can feel it. It’s in the air, and the breeze blowing in from the south and the light growing stronger daily, this hint of a new season coming our way. Even though the parking lots in our northern world are coated still with ice and the cross country ski trails groomed to mid-season perfection, there’s a quivering of seeds starting to take hold in farmer’s hoop houses and a waking up of trees as the sap begins to rise. It’s exciting, it’s stirring, this world beginning to quiver and wake up. As I skate-ski on those groomed-to-perfection trails, as I push off in heart-pumping glides in a sport I have loved for over thirty-five years, I can feel it, this quivering, this waking up rising within me too. The seeds I planted during the frozen weeks of early January, dreams that only held a faint shape in the still time, now are quivering with sap-rising possibility.
There are the dreams I planned on planting, like the participation in the community Hundred Day Project, my focus, “An Infusion of poetry”, and the upcoming trip with husband Cam in late spring to continue our Camino walk on the northern coast of Spain, and a another dream to find someone to lead a dance class at Joy Center for all of us who long to move our bodies to music in joy-filled non-judged-or-tightly-choreographed expression. These particular dream-seeds I placed consciously in the dark soil of early January, but what about the wayward ones, the wild seeds that are taking hold outside what I thought was my well-groomed clearly-defined garden plot?
For nearly twenty years, I’ve been inviting yoga participants to bring their whole selves to the yoga mats, the parts they know, the parts they don’t know, the parts they like, the parts they don’t like, the whole and holy package of who they are. And then I have reminded them that the word “yoga” in sanskrit means union, to yoke together what are seemingly disparate parts of themselves. I share these words with the utmost of sincerity, in my yoga voice which comes from someplace deep inside that is amazing to me, that is strong and wise and relaxed, and calms me down immediately and brings me to a place of well-being every time I settle into finding it. And I need to tell you that it was nowhere in sight the other day at my friend’s birthday party at a local coffee shop. In fact, I forgot all together about my “inside” voice — the voice I appreciated others using at this same coffee shop when I often hunkered in to work on my poetry project. As the birthday party gained momentum, I found myself bellowing and guffawing with celebratory enthusiasm and it wasn’t until a young woman at a neighboring table abruptly rose from her chair and marched over to the counter, that I sucked in my boisterous sharings and panicked with a flashback to those high school days when my friends and I were kicked out of our local library for fits of out-of-control laughter. Fortunately, the young woman was just ordering herself another coffee, but it was a reminder that these parts of ourselves, the parts we deem unruly, have energy and a desire to be heard.
And that brings me to my wayward dream-seed, the one that started to sprout in early February. Okay, it is not a new dream. It’s been lurking inside me for over a decade, probably forever, but it always has seemed like a joke, something fun and funny to think about once in a while, with no real substance, no foundation beneath it. So three weeks ago, it was the name that brought some grounding to this dream, an outrageous name my friends and I created, a name my good-girl gardener still isn’t ready to bring out into the spotlight of public sharing, though my wild child cracks up each time she says it. And it is a center stage name of a center stage dream, a punk band old lady name, because that is my dream, to be a part of such a band. The day my dream began to quiver with new life, I shared this name with my husband of forty-plus years. And frankly, I was surprised, a little freaked out. I could see he thought that this could actually happen. When I tried to be funny, to make it a joke, telling him that there were some minor issues, the fact that I was tone deaf and didn’t play an instrument, he replied with the utmost sincerity, “Don’t let that get in the way of your dream, Helen. And besides,” he added, “every old lady punk band needs a hopper!” Bless him. He was right. I’m excellent at hopping! I felt encouraged, like it was feasible And the energy that this woke up in me was a tsunami whoosh of unbridled joy and laughter. And don’t we all crave a tsunami of unbridled joy and laughter?
I tell you this with my deeply-rooted relaxing yoga voice. I tell you this with my boisterous too-loud-for-the-library-and-coffee-shop voice. I tell you this with all parts of me, the parts I know, the parts I don’t, the parts I like, the parts I don’t like. I tell you this with the whole holy package. Walt Whitman was right. We contain multitudes. And it is not our job to create fences around ourselves, to only nurture the dreams we consider safe. Instead, we simply need to listen to what is quivering inside, what is bringing us new life, what is feeling joyful and maybe even funny. So here’s an invitation I send out to all of us. Let’s allow our dreams to grow roots, the ones that are quivering, the quiet ones, and the one that are noisy, the reverent dreams and those we deem irreverent. Let’s embrace the whole holy package of who we are. It is the season, and the seeds, they are quivering.