Inward Journey (3-17-04)
The road less traveled.
The journey inward,
Is the most difficult to make.
It is like entering a deep, dark forest
We are afraid of what we will encounter.
There may be bears or wolves,
Maybe a mountain lion lurks there.
Or possibly a gingerbread house
With a witch that feeds on children.
The soul journey can feel treacherous,
The path unknown and uncharted,
Can leave us feeling helpless and vulnerable
To the reality of our truths.
Winter calls us to this journey like no other season.
To risk this unknown path
Whether slippery, steep or boulder strewn.
To tread on with courage and adventure
To face our fears as we go deep in
Trusting the end of the path will come.
For the promise of the season assures us,
Out of dormancy new life will grow again.
This journey helps us die to the old
To emerge in our lives anew,
And winter is her siren.
I was thinking about why I get so contemplative during cold, dark days and I came across this writing I did a few years ago. I think when we settle down, settle in, we begin to go inward because all the distractions are gone for awhile. Winter is the best time for this, because we tend to stay in more - and sometimes we HAVE to stay in. I wrote this when I was doing a creative project for a class, which included photographs and poetry. I called the project "Befriending Winter" because I really don't much like winter! Since then I have been learning to appreciate winter for what it is and to value the change in seasons. Of course, this winter has been so very mild until now it hasn't been hard to appreciate! This was one of the poems I wrote back then, and I wish I knew how to post the picture that went with it. (Tall evergreens covered with snow and with steps to a path leading inward.) I really enjoyed that creative project and would like to do something like that again soon. But for now I spend a good deal of time in winter just letting my thoughts wander and contemplating life as it is. Today, after about a fourteen inch snowfall, I am feeling a little cabin fever again. Even getting out and shoveling takes the edge off the feeling of "stuckness" I get. Funny, I can stay home a week at a time and it never bothers me. What bothers me is the feeling I can't get out!! It seems to me that lent is a wonderful time for the inward journey - the ability to go into oneself with love and compassion and be honest about who we are, where we've been, and where we hope to go.