Waldorf education gave me a gift, unwittingly. I watched as my kids, early childhood to high school, engaged in a rhythm of learning. Intense periods of taking new information would be followed by gathering vegetables in the garden, or feeding the goats, or ironing cloth napkins, or doing yoga. They called it breathing in, and breathing out. The premise was that the mind absorbs more if it has periods to integrate that intake.
There is a gift here for me, this Lenten season, as the rhythm of the 40 days invites me deeper still. I need the spaces; oh how I need the spaces! As my body strengthens, and I am engaging more fully in midwifery, I find myself missing being still in my home.
Now if you have journeyed with me, you know I had six months of straight stillness last year as my brain and body healed from a life threatening motor vehicle accident. So it is hard to imagine, yes? I found out something in those long weeks turned to months. I need stillness. Somewhere in that cocoon of silence, where even music was dissonant, was Jesus. I don’t have a lot of words for all that shifted in my body and spirit in 2016. But it was good.
I have moments of stillness in my vocation: Sitting in a dim room, singing a baby out in an antiphonal wordless chant. Or Standing with sister midwives in a circle, naming the internal agony of how to practice with integrity in the current medico-legal environment in Arizona. Or Listening to my daughter’s words after a village prenatal: “It wasn’t weird, mama, it just had a lot of beautiful things you don’t get to see very often.”
But my heart is crying out for more. I notice it as I see my humor come up in brittle, self-protective ways. Or I feels its absence as I lay awake at night downloading the day in waves of sensory images. I find myself sitting in parking lots, taking ten minutes to be still before I move on to the next place or person that deserves for me to be present.
And so, for this moment, I am sitting in my garden, savoring the birdsong under a too warm Desert sun.
In and out.
The mystery of Lent.